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“When women fight, the typical understanding of them as supportive, cooperative and nurturing is stripped away, leaving a battleground which is unfamiliar to both combatants and spectators.“ — Catherine Colegrove
Papers on the portrayal of female gladiators in film presented at the January 4, 2008 meeting of the American Philological Association in Chicago, IL.

Introduction

The Arena: The DVD cover of the Roger Corman classic sexploitation film with Pam Grier.The Arena: The DVD cover of the Roger Corman classic sexploitation film with Pam Grier.Kinema: Gladiatrix! was first conceived as a site to support the papers presented at the final panel of the KINHMA colloquium headed by Hanna Roisman (Colby College) and Martin Winkler (George Mason University).

In writing my own paper for the panel, I became interested not so much in the representation of female arena fighters per se, but in the problems and potentials raised by fighting women in films of all settings. Given the apparent growth in popularity of "action babe cinema," I am hardly alone in my investigation, and there is an abundant scholarly literature on the topic as well as much discussion online (see the references section). It is my hope that this site will further inform those with an interest in the subject, intrigue those just passing through and provide me with an arena of my own in which to wrestle with whatever it is that makes it so damn cool when girls kick each other’s asses.

— Catherine Colegrove
December 2007

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The Arena (2001): A still image from the 2001 remake of The Arena