Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo - CONFERENZE, Women and the Silent Screen Conference

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Reframing Women in British Cinema Culture in 1910s and 1920s: Issues and Problems
Christine Gledhill

Last modified: 2010-06-19


This presentation examines select examples of British trade, fan and news press of the 1910s and 1920s in order to explore how the new visibility of women in cinema – both as audiences and in films – was registered. My focus is less how women themselves responded to cinema, than how these materials, in marking the relationship between women and cinema, reveal conflicts around shifting gender relations and identities. Starting by outlining some of the problems of using such material, I will highlight some key themes that emerged in British cultural discourses and imaginings across a range of print media circulating around cinema in this formative period. These include: women and cinema work; the English "girl" and "Americanitis;" sentimentality and "sb-stuff;’" acting, "it" and sex-appeal; transvaluation of the "true woman’" in the new cinematic public sphere; femininity, class and representation; and gender contest.

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