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Sexism In Film Essay

1058 words - 4 pages

In society, women are often perceived as the weaker sex, both physically and mentally. In modern times women have leveled the playing field between men and women, and feminism is a highly discussed topic, but for years, women faced discrimination and prejudice both in life and in the workplace, due to their sex. This way of thinking flooded into the world of film. In their works, the authors of each of the various sources address the limitations and liberations of women both on and off the screen in nineteenth century Film and Cinema. Not every source is completely filled with information related to the research topic, but they do cover and analyze many of the same points from different perspectives. Prominent points addressed in each source include the domination of the male voice in cinema, the presentation of women on screen, and society’s influence on the status of women roles in film.
A common concept in a lot of the sources is that men dominate the film industry both onscreen and off. According to the article, Why There are no Women in the Movies, “men make the movies and the relationships and roles are molded according to the male viewpoint” (Yates 226). This, in relation to the other sources, is a very valid fact. Coinciding with his point, Hollywood Film Critic, Richard Corliss states in his TIME Magazine article, Calling Their Own Shots: Women Directors Make it in Hollywood, that “the guys ran things—as producers, directors, bosses…” Men were behind the scenes, they decided what scripts got chosen to be made into films. They were the heads of production companies and producers of the films. Whatever they said…went. Men were not only in charge of what was going on onscreen, but they monopolized off-screen positions as well. According to Karen Ward Mahar, the film industry was not always dictated by men. In her book Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood she explains that in start of the nineteenth century women were very prominent and influential behind the screen. It was not until the mid-1910’s did the film industry shift “towards a model that prized business legitimacy. This shift ultimately marginalized the woman filmmaker” (Mahar 133).

The presentation of women on screen is another highlighted issue in many of the gathered sources. Because men were ultimately in control of what went on the screen much of what the audience perceived were women from the male imagination or fantasy. Bernard Beck elaborates in his article Where the Boys Are: The Contender and other Movies about Women in a Man’s World that, “…women have been used to dress up a male story or motivate a male character” (Beck 15). Women were often insignificant and trivial characters. Although, Kathe Davis disagrees to a point. In her article, Davis offers a dissonant opinion to the fore-mentioned insignificance of the female character. She instead describes many female characters as “predators,” and analyzes the roles of lead women in three prominent films of the...

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