Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Feminist Media Studies 14:3 (2014), pp. 403–418.

doi: 10.1080/14680777.2012.740062


Copyright © 2012 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission


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.