Author: Sarah Griffith

Art Cinema and Second Wave Feminism: Addressing Representations of Gender and Sexuality in a New Way

Amidst the Cold War, tensions were building worldwide regarding not only politics, but social issues as well. Along with the development of birth control, the 1960s ushered in an age of second-wave feminism concerned with sexuality, reproductive rights, and women’s roles in the family and workplace. This movement was translated into the film industry. A new type of woman, one more comfortable with her sexuality, was becoming more prevalent on-screen. However, this proved to be a double-edged sword. While women were receiving more diverse representations, these representations were still oppressive due to their roots in a patriarchal society. Cinema objectified and sexualized women, reducing them to no more than a spectacle within the narrative.1 Shifting away from this toxic, traditional structure, art cinema popped up around the globe, challenging the classical narrative and stylistic structure of Hollywood films that led to the unfair and negative representations of gender and sexuality. This new, modern style of cinema drew attention to its own construction, and many filmmakers took advantage of this unconventional format to address social issues …

Examining the Impact of Censorship on Themes of “She Done Him Wrong”

The multifaceted singer, actress, and writer Mae West “found her career on sex.”[1] West claimed her fame through Vaudeville and Broadway, and she made her way onto the big screen in Hollywood where she saw just as much success. Although West was very popular with both men and women due to her strong, feisty personality and comfort with her sexuality, this popularity did not translate to Hollywood’s censors. During the production of She Done Him Wrong, an adaptation of West’s play Diamond Lil starring West herself, the Studio Relations office tweaked many aspects of the film in order to make it acceptable by Code standards. The film centers around West’s character, Lady Lou, a singer who gets mixed up dealing with her past, present, and potential future lovers. The Code review files provide evidence of the effect of the Code and the ways in which it dealt with potential offensive material, specifically the film’s sexual references. Many factors led to the rise of censorship in the film industry. Scandals involving stars and directors “drove Hollywood …