Ticky Tacky Gender Stereotypes in Films

In her 1979 feminist tract “Towards a Feminist Poetics,” Elaine Showalter chategorized women’s authorship into three phases: feminine, feminist, and female. Feminine writing supports the patriarchal view of society, while feminist writing contradicts it. Female writing is the result of “women reject[ing] both imitation and protest” to present a voice […]

“Women in Pants: Manly maidens, cowgirls, and other renegades” by Catherine Smith and Cynthia Greig

Women throughout history have cast aside their cumbersome petticoats, crinolines, corsets, and bustles in favour of more practical bifurcated garments. Although we are still navigating the complexity of the body-image standards to which women are being held today, can you imagine being arrested for wearing jeans instead of a skirt? That’s […]

Dueling Divas and Why Hepburn Isn’t One

This post was written in conjunction with the Dueling Divas Blogathon hosted by Lara at BacklotsWomen in film are often represented as romantic rivals for a male character. Girlfriends and ex-girlfriends, wives and mothers, sisters and fiancées are perpetually warring with each other on the big screen. As the Bechdel test highlights, […]

DESK SET (1957): A Happy Hepburn Christmas

Walter Lang’s DESK SET (1957) is one of Katharine Hepburn’s few “Christmas movies.” You could possibly count LITTLE WOMEN (Cukor, 1933) or Anthony Harvey’s THE LION IN WINTER (1968), but DESK SET stands out as a film that really captures the Christmas spirit, at least for the first half of the […]

Wearing My Feminism on My Sleeve

I apologize, dear reader, for taking this autobiographical sidetrack from classic movies. It is not my habit to use this blog to discuss my personal views. That said, I was led this morning to write this article about feminism. I do not mean to offend anybody with my views and […]

The Strength of CHRISTOPHER STRONG (1933)

The famous moth costume I’d forgotten how much I like Dorothy Arzner‘s CHRISTOPHER STRONG (1933). The plot isn’t very good, and Hepburn’s acting is a bit flat at times, but the Lady Cynthia Darrington character is very good, even if the plot doesn’t treat her well. Arzner’s directing is also […]

STAGE DOOR (1937): A Feminist Perspective

Because Katharine Hepburn’s star text in so many of her film roles reads as a liberated feminist, the audience becomes tempered to the idea of whole groups of women being autonomous. Before STAGE DOOR (1937), she had made such films as CHRISTOPHER STRONG (1933), LITTLE WOMEN (1933), ALICE ADAMS (1935), […]

Queer Film Blogathon 2012: SYLVIA SCARLETT (1935)

This post is written in conjunction with the second annual Queer Film Blogathon hosted by Garbo Laughs and Pussy Goes Grrrr! The first film that came to mind for me when I signed up to participate in this blogathon (my first, as it happens!) was George Cukor’s SYLVIA SCARLETT (1935), the first film […]

Avenging Women

“If I don’t get pants, nobody gets pants!” My roommate found this infographic online and showed it to me and she and I had a good laugh about it. But then it struck me that it would actually be funnier if it were more true. The top pie chart says […]

The Bechdel Test

This test evaluates the representation of women in films today. Go through your DVD library and see how many of your movies pass the test. I think you’ll be surprised by how few do. This video applies the test to some current movies, including some Oscar nominees. The comic strip below is […]