From: Anna Biller (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jan 17 2007 - 21:38:54 PST
70's film theory may indeed have been dogmatic, but it was a good
starting place. And given the fact that non-dogmatic approaches to
changing the status quo were often met by condescending laughter or a
pat on the head or a sexist joke, many of the women who wrote this
theory were being dogmatic and unpleasant and irritating in order to
get some attention. And I think it worked, because it was the period
where feminism was present and people noticed it. In fact, the 70's
is the "time" of feminism because of that. Of course I think that
being seductive is more effective than being abrasive, but I have
that luxury because men now are much more gentle, agreeable, and
willing to listen to women than men of the 70's were.
In the 70's, much more than now, men really were the aggressors and
the lawmakers. It wasn't women feeling sorry for themselves or trying
to create a false duality of active/ passive in their own minds or
fantasies, it was a reality. It was such a time of women as
playthings, and this really depressed some women. Nowadays there
isn't this pressure on women to be sex objects, partly because of the
work done by the 70's feminists. So I've noticed that young girls
today are very fully sexualized for themselves, they flirt and feel
sexy and are outrageous, and they don't feel threatened or
subordinated by it but empowered. If anything it intimidates the men!
But it was not like that at all in the 70's, and many women felt like
they were drowning, drowning, and they wanted to scream and flail and
accuse and be aggressive themselves to show how ugly it was. And I do
think it worked.
On Jan 17, 2007, at 4:46 PM, Jack Sargeant wrote:
> the problem with 70s feminist theory in cinema is that it is
> dogmatic. it essentialises gender, normally from a psychoanalytic
> perspective (ironic considering the phallocentric roots of that
> discourse!). in doing so it limits engagement to a specific
> conceptual framework that negates plurality, thus all men are - as
> the quote below indicates - framed within a reactive negative
>> "...the aggressors and lawmakers."
> moreover, feminism is fixed as a certainty, again negating the
> multiple feminisms that actually exist (socialist feminism,
> postmodern feminism and so on).
> such a discourse also works on a binary of active / passive, which
> itself is part of the conceptual 'problem' it seeks to engage with,
> so by implication masculinity is constructed as aggressive hence
> its 'opposite' femininity' is passive, this is of course nonsense
> and reveals the failure of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic
> feminist film theory.
> by examining or engaging in both narrative and experimental film
> (and I am aware this is a false distinction) from a multiplicity of
> theoretical perspectives, always aware of the pitfalls, beyond '70s
> Screen (the journal) theory there is a far greater scope for analysis.
> if you look at my writing on Tessa Hughes Freeland in Deathtripping
> I examine the way all of these ideas function in her experimental
> film work
> (p.161-2). or if you want to look at other criticisms that also
> offer alternative modes of engagement look at Shaviro's book The
> Cinematic Body where he uses (if I recall correctly) a Deleuzian
> approach to these issues.
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.