Women's Rights in the United States - An Informal History (review)
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 7, Number 1, February 1977
- pp. 14-15
- Additional Information
of American life can rake out of the welter of fiction films by applying subjective techniques. Robert Sklar's Movie-Made America will be of particular use to American Studies practitioners because it devotes attention to both specific texts and contexts. Those who have considered plunging into this new area of inquiry should use all of these excellent texts as springboards. FILM & HISTORY NEWS HISTORY THROUGH MEDIA SUMMER WORKSHOP The History Department at the University of Delaware will conduct a workshop on "History Through Media" during the summer session, 1977. The workshop will begin June 20 and end July 22. During that time participants will receive instruction in photographic copying, film developing, slide/ tape production and script writing. Original photographs and sound recordings from the National Archives will serve as the primary material for the workshop. The workshop is open to faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students and others interested in the subject. For information about registration, please write Professor James C. Curtis, c/o History Department, University of Delaware, Newark. Delaware 1 97 1 1 . REPORT ON FILM AND HISTORY COURSE E. Bradford Burns has offered to send copies of his 23-page report on a recent Film and History course at UCLA to anyone requesting it. Write to Professor Burns at the Department of History, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90024. HOLLYWOOD ON TRIAL AND PANEL ON McCARTHYISM The H.EC. will sponsor two screenings of the controversial new documentary Hollywood on Trial at the upcoming meeting of the Organization of American Historians in Atlanta. There will also be a panel discussion on "McCarthyism and the Entertainment Industry" which will feature James Guttman, the producer of the film. See the full-page advertisement in the convention program for exact time and place. FILM REVIEW Women's Rights in the United States - An Informal History (1974, Actana Films), color, 27 min. Women's Rights in the United States.- An Informal History traces the history of women's rights throughout American history. It is also concerned with attitudes towards women by both sexes-all of this in twenty-seven minutes. Visually the film is very attractive, relying on a fine selection of drawings, advertisements and cartoons, and for the modern period, film clips of women activists. 14 The subjects are predictable enough. Here we meet Abigail Adams. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman and Jane Addams. We glimpse the movement for women suffrage, temperance reform and unionization. Again, no surprises. The narrative, like the visuals, is a thoughtful selection. Not only do the feminists speak out, but so do their critics. We hear Jean Jacques Rousseau counsel women to please and console men, and we hear women who feel threatened by members of their own sex striving for sexual equality. The filmmakers chose not to identify their speakers in most instances; instead, they are listed at the end. Viewers are thereby deprived of the chance to link the quotations with the speakers. It is a matter of choice, of course, but 1 think they made an unfortunate one. What is more, the clock ran out before even a cursory look at the period from 1920 to the modern period. Not a word about the liberating effects of the 1920's, or the roles of women in World War II, both in industry and the armed forces. I see Women's Rights in the United States as useful in American history survey classes, particularly for teachers who have not dealt with the history of women and wish a departure point for discussion . It is also useful to initiate discussions of sexual roles and sexual stereotyping. There is, for example, a clip of a secretary serving a cup of coffee to her boss and another of construction workers making remarks to a passing young woman. For courses in women's history it is far too general a treatment. For other students, this film is as good a place as any to start. S.U.N.Y. Maritime College Karen Markoe 15 ...