'One woman's failure affects every woman's chances': stereotyping impossible women directors in 1970s Hollywood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the 1970s, after decades of exclusion from most creative and technical roles in the American film industry, women worked to break down barriers to their employment through fighting for equity and representation in industry guilds, broadening their access to education and training, and through establishing women-focused film festivals and independent production companies. Five women—Elaine May, Joan Darling, Jane Wagner, Lina Wertmüller, and Joan Micklin Silver—directed films for major Hollywood studios during the decade. Yet each woman experienced gender discrimination that circumscribed her commercial feature film output and Hollywood career. This article argues that even as women made inroads into filmmaking in the 1970s, their progress as directors in Hollywood was impeded by institutionalised and renewed beliefs that women could not manage the financial, logistical, technical, and creative complexities of filmmaking. 1970s Hollywood discourse and practice stereotyped women directors as incompetent and impossible with enduring consequences for women filmmakers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-505
Number of pages23
JournalWomen's History Review
Volume30
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • 1970s
  • Elaine May
  • Hollywood
  • Jane Wagner
  • Joan Darling
  • Joan Micklin Silver
  • Lina Wertmüller
  • Women directors
  • gender discrimination
  • sexism
  • unconscious bias

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of ''One woman's failure affects every woman's chances': stereotyping impossible women directors in 1970s Hollywood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this