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Feminist Media Studies

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The 2008 film Taken depicts the murderous rampage of an ex-CIA agent seeking to recover his teenage daughter from foreign sex traffickers. I argue that Taken articulates a demand for a white male protector to serve as both guardian and avenger of white women's “purity” against the purportedly violent and sexual impulses of third world men. A neocolonial narrative retold through film, Taken infers that the protection of white feminine purity legitimates both male conquest abroad and overbearing protection of young women at home. I contend that popular films such as Taken are a part of the broader cultural system of representing social reality that elicit popular adherence to common-sense myths of white masculinity, feminine purity, and Orientalism.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Feminist Media Studies online on 11-22-2012, available online: