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The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth…
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The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice (utgåvan 2012)

av M. G. Lord (Författare)

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Movie stars build their roles into brands--and the Taylor brand is startlingly feminist. In her breakout film, "National Velvet" (1944), Taylor challenged gender discrimination, playing a jockey who had to pose as a male to race. Her next landmark, "A Place in the Sun" (1951), tackles abortion rights. In "Butterfield 8" (1960), she is censured not because she's a prostitute, but because she controls her own sexuality. And the classic "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) depicts the anguish that befalls a woman when the only way she can express herself is through her husband's career and children. Taylor's personal life, too, is remarkable: financially autonomous, she supported her parents as a teenager. As an adult, she supported the right of people to love whomever they love--regardless of gender. Her legendary friendships with her gay male costars inspired her to become a major fundraiser for AIDS research in the 1980s, before the cause became fashionable. Drawing upon unpublished letters and scripts, as well as interviews with Gore Vidal, Robert Forster, Austin Pendleton, Kevin McCarthy and others, this is a long overdue reappraisal.--From publisher description.… (mer)
Medlem:HoneyDjinn
Titel:The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice
Författare:M. G. Lord (Författare)
Info:Walker Books (2012), Edition: 1, 224 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Taggar:to-read

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The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice av M. G. Lord

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This is not a monograph, a thick tome dedicated to polysyllabic theory. Nor is it a gambol through fan-mag chaff masquerading as a serious thesis. This is a way of looking at the work of a woman best known in her time as lascivious and heroically loyal, as wanton as she was generous. At its best, it is a refreshing way of seeing the "place" of this woman and women in general during Elizabeth Taylor's life and a fascinating re-examination of her films. (An interesting subtext is the reaction of some women readers who - presumably because of Taylor's beauty, fame and body of work - feel she is unworthy of being thought of as a feminist.) ( )
1 rösta Lemeritus | Jun 10, 2021 |
Lord makes a fairly persuasive case that Taylor, even if she didn't identify herself as a feminist, was such a commanding and original presence in both her personal and professional life that she instinctively communicated empowering messages to women. Thus the title of the book, "The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice." ... you may not be entirely persuaded that "the subversive drumbeats of feminism ... swelled in the star's important movies over decades from a delicate pitty-pat to a resounding roar." But this provocative feminist appreciation will surely tempt you to rent or download her best movies, to acquaint or reacquaint yourself with this marvelous force of nature.
 
...a reader might want to consider: Are make-believe roles a reliable representation of the actress who plays them? And, if not, was the raised consciousness that Lord experienced after watching all of Liz’s movies just a matter of Hollywood luck, or a matter of the author’s retrofitted response to bygone popular culture? ... This reader concludes that ”accidental feminism” is, by definition, unreliable; much as I love Taylor (both as a personage and as an actress), I don’t see messages of rebellion in her body of work. M.G. Lord does, and makes a swinging case for why she’s right. On this, meanwhile, we can agree: Elizabeth Taylor was a gorgeous Hollywood icon big and ballsy enough to inspire passionate debate, even among admirers, and even after her death. La Liz would have loved the hubbub.
 
Lord takes her readers on a chronological journey through the actress’s signal perform­ances, analyzing each film with a theory scholar’s eye for telling detail, brightened with bloggerly brio, emotion and use of the first person. Early on, she lists the social advances that she spots Taylor enacting: in “Giant” (1956), Lord writes, she feminizes the American West; in “Suddenly, Last Summer” (1959), she “portrays the callousness of the male medical establishment toward women patients”; in ­“BUtterfield 8” (1960), she “endorses a woman’s right to control her sexuality”; and in her most famous film, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966), she shows the corrosive effect that being forced to live “through her husband’s career” can have on an intelligent woman — not to mention on everyone who comes within her wrathful shouting range.... watching her significant films in succession, you see that, as Lord maintains, each serves as a cinematic Rorschach of social changes percolating through postwar society, in which Taylor stars as the protean blot.... With “The Accidental Feminist,” M. G. Lord makes the intriguing case that for Elizabeth Taylor, too much was never enough — not for the woman, not for the actress and not for the society that produced the theater of her life.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraNew York Times, Liesl Schillinger (betalvägg) (Feb 3, 2012)
 
Elizabeth Taylor is synonymous with “icon” both on and off the screen, but culture historian Lord’s (Forever Barbie) analysis of her film persona viewed through the lens of feminism is shaky at best.... while Lord makes a convincing case that many of Taylor’s best-known roles do go against the grain of prescribed attitudes toward women in studio era Hollywood and beyond—for example, Taylor’s Leslie Benedict in Giant is a mouthpiece for social justice and Gloria, the call-girl she plays in Butterfield 8, is in control of her own sexuality—ascribing that feminist bent to Taylor’s onscreen persona as a whole is much murkier. Perhaps it’s Elizabeth Taylor’s status as a Hollywood legend, but Lord has bitten off more than she can chew, rather than narrowing her focus to a few films that could substantiate her point.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraPublisher's Weekly (Oct 31, 2011)
 
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You could say it began in 1944 with National Velvet when Elizabeth Taylor, age twelve, dressed as a boy and stole America's collective heart.
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Feminism may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Elizabeth Taylor. But it might if you share your definition with writer Rebecca West: “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist when I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”
Taylor professes her admiration for Gloria Steinem, particularly the way Steinem handled an oft-heard comment on aging: You don’t look forty. “This is what forty looks like,” she recalls Steinem saying.
Clement Greenberg famously observed, “All profoundly original art looks ugly at first.”
As the story moves from the 1930s to the 1950s, Giant exalts what feminists of the 1970s termed “essentialist” values. Smart and well schooled, Leslie demonstrates that higher education need not transform a woman into a parody of a man.
...books such as Phyllis Chesler’s 1972 landmark, Women and Madness, were still decades in the future. Drawing upon exhaustive research, Chesler documented how male mental health professionals have throughout history pathologized disruptive women. A woman who asserted herself sexually—or rebelled against her second-class societal role—was likely to be labeled crazy and locked up. (Or, in yet more primitive times, incinerated as a witch.)
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Movie stars build their roles into brands--and the Taylor brand is startlingly feminist. In her breakout film, "National Velvet" (1944), Taylor challenged gender discrimination, playing a jockey who had to pose as a male to race. Her next landmark, "A Place in the Sun" (1951), tackles abortion rights. In "Butterfield 8" (1960), she is censured not because she's a prostitute, but because she controls her own sexuality. And the classic "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) depicts the anguish that befalls a woman when the only way she can express herself is through her husband's career and children. Taylor's personal life, too, is remarkable: financially autonomous, she supported her parents as a teenager. As an adult, she supported the right of people to love whomever they love--regardless of gender. Her legendary friendships with her gay male costars inspired her to become a major fundraiser for AIDS research in the 1980s, before the cause became fashionable. Drawing upon unpublished letters and scripts, as well as interviews with Gore Vidal, Robert Forster, Austin Pendleton, Kevin McCarthy and others, this is a long overdue reappraisal.--From publisher description.

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