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Japanese animated film Perfect Blue involves a young woman named Mima who is attempting to shed her image as a pop idol in order to achieve a better status as an actress. Similarly, American live action film Black Swan showcases the struggles of emerging dancer Nina as she deals with the stresses associated with being the lead in her company's production of Swan Lake. Both Perfect Blue and Black Swan are psychological thrillers involving female leads who struggle with being perceived as socially deviant in their pursuits. In Perfect Blue Mima’s strain occurs when she casts aside her pure image as a pop idol in pursuit of one as an actress. Mima cannot achieve this new status unless she takes roles that involve compromising her virginal image achieved from her days as a pop idol. Members of Mima’s talent agency and old fans react negatively to her changing role in society and view her as “tainted.” Black Swan’s Nina experiences strain once the pressures of her new leading role become insurmountable. Playing both the White and Black Swan in Swan Lake causes clashing aspects of her personality to emerge. Using Merton’s Strain Theory, I hope to explore Mima as a Conformist in Eastern society and Nina as an Innovator in Western society in order to reveal variations in how cultures define and perceive deviance. My presentation will also address certain aesthetic tendencies in these two films that give us a broader conception of social deviance.


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  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Oconee

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3217

  • Event date
    • 25 March 2016

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Aiola Ambo, Dr. Matthew Horton