Week 1: Women on Film vs Women in Film
Last week marked the beginning of a series of firsts. Not only did 7th block begin last week, but I also started my first online class and began to transform my in-person college experience to an online one. Instead of having morning coffee with one of my roommates, getting ready for my chapter’s Big Little week, meeting with Kathy in hopes of figuring out my upcoming thesis topic, and discussing the film world’s greatest issues and puzzles in Cornerstone, I found myself in bed in my hometown, downloading Zoom, making Netlflix Party watching plans, and attempting to figure out how different taking an asynchronous class would be.
Luckily for me, Professor Seid has been making the move from in-person to online class as smooth as possible. Professor Seid is an Assistant Professor of English, with a focus on feminism, literature, and film, visiting from the Baruch College-The City University of New York. She has introduced one of her favorite classes to CC, Women in Film!
Our first week started out with us differentiating between women’s films and women in film, analyzing the relationship between entertainment, women, and feminism, and evaluating the role of pleasure and the gaze in film. We came to understand women’s films as a niche of films that assumedly appeal to women, while women in film are women who play an active role in the film making process. Our discussions of the films A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, Stella Dallas, When A Woman Ascends the Stairs, and Dance, Girl, Dance were framed by Linda Williams’, Catherine Russell’s, Laura Mulvey’s and Claire Johnston’s writings. We discussed how a director’s gender, a film’s nation of origin or year of creation, and a film’s creators’ levels of success shape the ways in which a film influences feminist cultural politics and women’s filmic representation.
What does it take to be a successful woman filmmaker? What does it mean to be successful in one film sphere but not the next? Why are some female filmmakers considered anomalies within their gender?
I’m looking forward to further unpacking these questions this week.