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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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steepholm steepholm
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The Consequences of Feminism
The other day I listened to The Film Programme's discussion of Alice Guy's 1906 film, "Les Résultats du féminisme", in which we are shown a world where "feminism" has triumphed and men and women have effectively exchanged roles. You can see it here (it's only 7 minutes):

Apparently Guy (by then Alice Blaché) made another film with a similar theme but a future setting, In the Year 2000 (1912). Alas, that one is now lost.

The studio discussion assumed that Guy was making a feminist point herself, highlighting the treatment that women receive in the real world by showing it happening to men. That may well be right - but more than anything I was reminded of the anti-suffrage postcards produced around the same time, with very similar images of a world in which feminism has triumphed and men are reduced to domestic servitude while their wives carouse and put their feet up. Nothing very feminist about those - nor indeed about the Two Ronnies sketch series The Worm that Turned (1980), which is actually cited as a parallel by one of the studio guests. (This compilation I've linked here is 90 minutes long, but watch the first four minutes and you'll find you've had quite enough. I remember it all too well from 37 years ago.)

It's not that I don't believe Guy's film is feminist: without knowing something of her political opinions, I really couldn't say. But it's a striking instance of how the very same (or very similar) images can have opposite meanings, depending on the assumptions with which one approaches them.
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An enormously silly film, but it looked like those women were having a terrific time hanging out in the bar.

Yeah, it's remarkable how the signifiers flip-- some of those anti-suffrage postcards now have a second reprint life as feminist postcards, and in some compilations it's hard to tell which is which even back then.

I didn't feel feminist to me, though I expect there was a lot of very potentially feminist consideration of behaviours and body language involved - I loved the knocked-over chair bit early on. :)

(I couldn't understand what was happening from about 6:00 to about 6:20. Can you give me a clue?)

I'm not entirely sure what's going on, but my best guess is: they're arguing about who's to look after the baby, then the man hits the woman in the face with a glove or handkerchief. This act of defiance awakens the masculine pride of the others, and they storm off to the pub mob-handed to reclaim their rightful position as masters of the universe.

Something like that, anyway.