Feminist Film Theory 101

Feminist Film Theory

Feminist film theory is a critical lens through which inequalities of gender, racism, class and other social categories are examined in motion pictures. Feminist film theory has evolved with wider feminist movements and the fight for equal rights for women. Because of this, it has changed significantly throughout time, mirroring societal developments, and politics along the way.

This article will explain the Feminist Film Theory and its evolution.

The first wave of Feminist Film Theory (1970s)

Following the success of the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s, a new school of feminist film theory developed. Feminist scholars and activists had begun to criticise the portrayal of women in popular cinema at this point, stating that they were often objectified and confined to minor positions. In addition to underlining the need for more female filmmakers and more diversity in the film industry, these early feminist film theorists also brought attention to the under-representation of women in directing and producing roles.

The second wave of Feminist Film Theory (1980s and 1990s)

Feminist film theory saw a second phase of development in the 1980s and 1990s, expanding upon earlier efforts. During this time, there was a surge of interest in the intersections of race, class, and gender and a corresponding increase in the number of films exploring these themes. At the same time, feminist film theorists investigating how movies could be utilised to question established beliefs and provide a voice to underrepresented communities.

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