Body genre  

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 Body genre: comedy and humour; effect: laughter Illustration: poster for The Raven, a horror-comedy
Body genre: comedy and humour; effect: laughter
Illustration: poster for The Raven, a horror-comedy

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In genre theory and narratology body genres refer to genres that have an effect on the audience's body. These genres produce a physical effect, catching the body in the grip of an intense sensation or emotion, making the body display a physical reaction.

The concept was first described by Richard Dyer in his essay "Male gay porn: Coming to terms" (1985):

"The fact that porn, like weepies, thrillers and low comedy, is realized in/through the body has given it low status in our culture. Popularity these genres have, but arbiters of cultural status still tend to value "spiritual" over "bodily" qualities, and hence relegate porn and the rest to an inferior cultural position."[1]

The term "body genre" was coined by film scholar Carol J. Clover in "Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film" (1987) to designate "the sensation or "body" genres, horror and pornography, the only two genres specifically devoted to the arousal of bodily sensation".

In "Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess" (Film Quarterly, 1991) Linda Williams expanded the definition to include melodrama: "I am expanding Clover's notion of low body genres to include the sensation of overwhelming pathos in the "weepie.""

Generally, body genres are considered of lower value than "mind genres" or "cerebral genres", (which appeal to the intellect rather than the body).

The physical reactions in body genres are:


Similarly, in music, a distinction can be made between mind and body genres. The example of a musical genre with a focus towards the body is dance music.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Body genre" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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