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The Representation of Women in Films in the 1930s - Essay Example

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The Representation of Women in Films in the 1930s Introduction The 1930s was a period of serious depression worldwide, both economic and spiritual, particularly because of the aftermath of World War I (WWI). All these depressions were the reason why people turned to the media to entertain themselves and escape from the problems of their tough daily routine, which saw the film industry experience huge growth…
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Download file to see previous pages 27). According to this choice of portrayal, the principles of womanhood conflicted with material and economic pressures, which touched upon class and gender identity problems as well. In the 1930s, Hollywood produced different styles of films depending on the eras and genres that synchronised with social trends. Numerous elements of cinematic style existed within the development of a film context. Since the 1930s, the role of women in films has differed conspicuously depending on social trends. This research paper examines the portrayal of women in films during the 1930s. The Portrayal of Women in Films in the 1930s Women’s position in films was subjected to gender discrimination as reflected during this era. Women stayed behind the scenes as undervalued and frail characters and were rarely featured as main characters (Adams, 2002, p. 210). They played the role of supporting a male lead character. In the film, Gold Digger of 1933, by Busby Berkeley, sound effects and women featured numerously in many scenes of the film. In this film, women were portrayed in an elegant and classic way. These times exemplified utter respect for women subject to the classy and dignified way of dressing and commentary. This film also portrayed women as equal to men especially in the many scenes they featured in and various lead roles they took in the film just like men. Starting from this film, it could be seen that women were given preference and were glorified unlike in the current films (Feuer, 1982, p. 80). Fashion in the 1930s was elegant and classy. During this period, the world faced many wrangles and financial depressions as depicted in Purple Rose of Cairo by Woody Allen. The only escape route from the depression was by going to the films. The stunning fashion of the 1930s corresponded with the glamour of Hollywood. People were eager to show that their fashion was copied from the films (Adams, 2002, p. 210). The United States (US) encountered the Great Depression and its effects between 1929 and 1941 and was going through a difficult phase of international politics; the advent of World War II (WWII) was gaining momentum. Movie producers took it upon themselves to minimise the effects of the depressions by producing movies that were captivating and enthralling (Watkins, 2005, p. 10). The movies in the 1930s took a different turn with the introduction of the comedy category. These comedies focused on women with movies like Lady Eve, Nothing Sacred, and His Girl Friday. These films had the characteristic of women characters having more screen time and sharing equal rights with the male actors (Watkins, 2005, p. 10). The movie, The Women by George Cukor released in 1939 exemplified the ever-growing importance of female actresses. The film featured female protagonists and it comprised of three women who shared a bond with each other. The film included women gossiping about aspects of their lives as they spoke about men and matters concerning them. This film demonstrated a feminist viewpoint regarding womanhood (Lovas, 2007, p. 15). It comes as no surprise that during this era people experimented with new ideas for pleasing the audience. Movie directors did a cast of women with a sensual appearance and look. This culminated into the acceptance of the different roles that women can play in a movie thus initiating a new dimension of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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