‘The Bad Seed’: Mother and Daughter, Autonomy Through Violence


In no way does this piece condone violence or 8-year-old serial killers. We all know that’s wrong and our mothers taught us better than that. But really, what’s the harm in a female character with autonomy and direction?

Nine Pretty Great Lesbian Vampire Movies


Almost unfailingly exploitative in its portrayal of queer women, this specific sub-genre of film stands alone in a few ways, not the least of which being that the vampires, while murderous and ultimately doomed, are powerful, lonely women, often living their lives outside of society’s rules.

Jo March’s Gender Identity as Seen Through Different Gazes

Winona Ryder as Jo March

The male gaze either holds Jo back from the start, or else shows an “educational” transformation from an “unruly” female into a “desirable” young woman who knows her place.

Mina Harker Should Have Her Own ‘Dracula’ Adaptation

Judi Bowker as Mina in "Count Dracula" (1977)

Something not often explored in film and TV movie adaptations is that Mina and other female characters are often inadvertently endangered by the pride of the male protagonists. It is out of misguided respect for Mina that the male protagonists try so hard to protect her, and yet fail so miserably.

Bad Girls Go to Heaven: Hollywood’s Feminist Rebels

Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven (1945)

Hollywood has produced some of the most memorable bad girls and wicked women on-screen—from silent era’s infamous vamps to film noir’s femme fatales—but bad women do more than just entertain, particularly if we’re talking about the sweepingly emotional and excessively dramatic world of woman’s melodrama.

Scarlett and Melanie: The Ultimate BFFs


Regardless of how psychological or interpretive you want to get with Scarlett and Melanie’s friendship, it serves as an invaluable example for how women can accept, value, and interact with one another.

What Shakespeare Can Teach Us About Rape Culture


In ‘Titus Andronicus,’ Lavinia is brutally raped and disfigured (including having her tongue cut out so she couldn’t speak). This nod to Philomela in Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ echoes the themes of the brutality of rape and the need for revenge. The women needed to name their rapists and share their stories (Lavinia writes in the sand; Philomela weaves a tapestry that tells her story). The women have as much power as they can in the confines of their society, and we the audience are meant to want justice and revenge.

What Shakespeare Can Teach Us About Rape Culture


When Shakespeare wrote Titus Andronicus and The Rape of Lucrece in the late 1500s, women were quite literally the property of men (their fathers, then their husbands). The rape culture that plagues us in 2013 was essentially the same, although laws of coverture have dissolved and women are no longer legally property.

And Shakespeare understood the horror of rape. Shakespeare–more than 400 years ago–seemed to understand that patriarchy hurts women. Patriarchy kills women.

Patriarchy is rape culture.

Disabilities Week: One Woman Holds The Breakthrough Key In ‘The Miracle Worker’

The Miracle Worker film poster. Written by Janyce Denise Glasper The Miracle Worker summarizes the turbulent beginnings of one of the most remarkably profound relationships in history–Anne Sullivan and her pupil/mentee Helen Keller. Various films have been made about this duo, but nothing quite compares to the original 1962 adaptation of William Gibson’s stage play. […]

Wedding Week: The Top Hollywood Wedding Scenes

This is a guest post by Marcela de Vivo. Weddings in the movies and in television always seem to be more elaborate than those we experience in reality. Fictional characters with traditionally low-paying jobs somehow find a way to have a wedding that would cost literally a million dollars in the real world. They’re often […]

The Power of Portrayal: Infertility, Reproductive Choice and Reproduction in ‘We Want a Child’

Movie poster for We Want a Child Written by Leigh Kolb for our theme week on Infertility, Miscarriage, and Infant Loss. The 1949 Danish film We Want a Child (Vi vil ha’ et barn) deals with abortion, failed adoption, infertility, detailed fertility and prenatal care and childbirth. Depictions of any of these subjects are few and […]

Foreign Film Week: Remembering, Forgetting and Breaking Through in the Female Narrative of ‘Hiroshima mon amour’

Written by Leigh Kolb Hiroshima mon amour debuted in 1959, 14 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. Alain Resnais’ first feature film explores memory, forgetting and tragedy on an individual and worldwide scale, largely through the lens of Elle (“Her”), played by Emmanuelle Riva. While Resnais had signed on to do a documentary about the atomic bomb, […]