This introduction to the Film Studies special issue on Sex and
the Cinema considers the special place of sex as an object of inquiry in film
studies. Providing an overview of three major topic approaches and methodologies
– (1) representation, spectatorship and identity politics; (2) the
increasing scrutiny of pornography; and (3) new cinema history/media industries
studies – this piece argues that the parameters of and changes to the
research of sex, broadly defined, in film studies reflect the development of the
field and discipline since the 1970s, including the increased focus on
putatively ‘low’ cultural forms, on areas of film culture beyond
representation and on methods beyond textual/formal analysis.
contingent, e.g. representations of diversity and approaches
A further challenge to any ‘intentional’ assumption lies in
the fact that a long-running franchise such as Doctor Who can attain analytically
discernible ‘historical moments’ of its own only through an array of dialogues
with other aspects of prevailing cultural contexts. Thus, the casting of a white female
Doctor and the narrative introduction of a female Doctor-of-colour have both intersected with
the cultural politics of the #MeToo Era and the Black
the issue of misogyny in America. For very many American women, the experiences of Peggy Olson, Betty Draper, and Joan Holloway will be painfully familiar today, as in recent history. The show’s title, a pun on working on Madison Avenue, speaks to the male anger that persists in the present and which has been particularly politically important since 2016. As the writer Matthew Gilbert has succinctly put it, ‘before #metoo there was Mad Men’. 17 While the show covered many significant topics, none were so big as the insidiousness of sexism and the illustration of a
figure in discussions of rape culture, feminism, the #MeToo movement, women's broader relationships with media, and the relations between gender representations and women's position in society.
Another approach to GoT has been to consider the series as a form of quality television alongside series such as The Sopranos , The Wire , Breaking Bad , and Mad Men , part of a ‘Golden Age of Television’ (see Schlutz, 2016 ; see also Jancovich and Lyons, 2003 ; McCabe and Akass, 2007 ; Leverette et al ., 2008 ; Akass
Harlots and televising the realities of eighteenth-century English prostitution
Brig Kristin and Clark Emily J.
more frequently in televised period pieces in the #MeToo era.
Take, for example, a typical healing encounter that is
reproduced for the screen in Harlots , taking the viewer into what
would have been an intimate process of healing that so often went
unrecorded. After Mary Cooper has been taken into the Covent Garden brothel
and given care, Charlotte Wells goes to visit her. ‘Mary, remember
me?’ Charlotte asks when she sees
Socialist nation, Orientalism, and Yugoslav legacy
ability to find empowerment in her own body despite being the subject of unwanted advances. Brena has never commented publicly on these photos (to my knowledge), but we know since the #MeToo movement how prevalent experiences of harassment were and continue to be for women in any social context, particularly in the media industry. One important difference to the #MeToo cases here, however, is that these unwanted advances were in public and practically normalized, even if many people might have considered Minimaks's behavior to be in bad taste at the time. What's worse
#MeToo, there was Mad Men . And, while The Handmaid’s Tale is only two seasons old, it is already an award-winning and highly acclaimed series that has inspired protests across the US. It seems fitting that this most recent show of television’s second golden age is joined by one of the very first of the era, The Sopranos , in helping to define Trump’s America.
This chapter has painted a perhaps controversial picture of television’s place on the discursive battlefield of world politics, arguing that it is particularly well equipped to fight and to
-class, assumed-to-be-heterosexual girl (Egan, 2013 ). The more recent #MeToo movement has been more inclusive and more political, although it has still foregrounded the experiences of white western women; and in particular media celebrities (Zarkov and Davis, 2018 ; Gill and Orgad, 2018 ).
Tanya Horeck's notion of ‘public rape’ ( 2004 ) is useful here because of the way that it shows how controversies around rape have become central to the way the politics of gender and sexuality are understood. Representations of rape have taken on a particularly
Bridget Jones’s journey from the ‘edge of reason’ to marriage and motherhood
sexual harassment tribunal’).
35 Rosamund Unwin, ‘Bridget’s #MeToo Moment at Hands of Mr Tits Pervert: Helen Fielding’s beloved Character Reassesses her Past in a New Work’, Sunday Times (30 September 2018), p. 3.
36 The Bridget Jones novels would almost certainly not have been highly regarded by Dr Leavis had he been able to witness their publication, and the film adaptations most definitely would not have been, as Leavis saw the cinema as having a wholly pernicious and regrettable cultural impact on its audiences. His 1930 Mass Civilisation and Minority
Diverse forms of emancipatory resistance and performance strategies
negative consequences: her text was subsequently censored in the Biennale catalogue .
Ostojić provocatively made visible what so many women already knew and what since the #MeToo movement has become poignantly evident: a woman's rise or fall in the arts often lies in the hands of men whose gatekeeping powers are habitually sexually charged. Choosing to act as the obnoxious, overfriendly, and uninvited guest Szeemann could not easily get rid of, Ostojić also brilliantly exhibited the powers of