Safe abortions have always been available to the rich, Dan. You simply want to deny them to the poor, and if you succeed, poor woman will be forced to get them anyway. They’ll be forced into the alleys with hangers, plungers and vacuum cleaners, risking death or mutilation. But you’d like that, wouldn’t you, Dan? You sadistic, elitist, sexist, racist, anti-humanist pig! Saturday Night Live 3x18
This aired in 1978. Thirty-four years later, it’s still a fucking ~debate.
Okay, but it’s complicated. Take this in context of the fact that the punchline was “feminism” and Jane Curtin was shit on left and right on that set. (Here’s the full transcript to this edition of Weekend Update.)
Always reblog Jane Curtin sayin’ stuff, though, because she’s a freaking hero.
You might have noticed that we (finally) changed our layout! I was hoping to have more accessible and readable tags and info. That’s still a work in progress, though! But I’ll let you know when I finish compiling all of our tags and topics.
Let me talk for a second about our new banner. The image I used was one I snipped from a 1917 book called Motion Picture Making and Exhibiting, captioned with the line “joining the films after the development.” It’s a (pretty rare) shot of a moment in film (and labor) history.
It seems like there has been very little written about the manual aspects of early film history. But if you know about the history of factory labor in the U.S., you know that this type of work was largely performed by women. Not surprisingly, in the earliest era of the American film industry, a lot of the production was women’s work.
(Let’s not forget that, globally, factory labor is still mostly performed by women, most of whom are not white. Similarly, although the type of labor performed by the Lowell Mill Girls or at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory has invited a lot of historical scrutiny, contemporary labor performed by women of color is not discussed or examined with the same reverence.)
I have found one text that tackles this topic. Karen Ward Mahar, in Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood (2006), positions these women’s work both within the context of American industrialism as well as a gendered schema of the early film industry. Mahar’s book examines what she names a “golden age” of women in filmmaking, the period (in the early 1920s) before the studio system’s monopoly when women were offered relatively abundant opportunities as producers, writers, and directors. (Like Mary Pickford!) Mahar shapes a narrative about the “regendering” of film that’s pretty fascinating—she argues that during this period, women’s presence in social reform (think not only the suffragettes but the prohibitionists as well) bled into the film industry and allowed women like Lois Weber to become powerful auteurs.
But before that, women were primarily confined to the screen or the sweatshop. Mahar explains this:
Since the developing racks could handle only two hundred feet of film, every positive print of a film exceeding two hundred feet—nearly every film by 1910—was joined together by hand before being sent out. This simple but laborious procedure, requiring “dexterity but not skill,” was quite literally a textbook example of a female-type job. Indeed, a writer from Moving Picture World exclaimed after a 1910 visit to the Vitagraph plant that film joining was “a congenial occupation for a number of girls and young women.” The workplace was tidy, the women seemed happy, and he bragged that “this branch of service had opened up new and clean opportunity for many of the objectionable features of factory life.” Still, the duties of the film joiner were not easy. Film joining required diligent attention and speed, but joiners had few tools to help them. With no guide to align the film strips, and without a clamp to hold the cemented pieces together as they dried, the film joiner searched for the correct frame, snipped the film, brushed on odorous glue out of a bottle, and held the splice together with her fingers.
Understandably, mistakes could be made in developing, editing, tinting, or splicing. Thus, before each film left the factory, it was inspected for errors. In 1910 Pathe Freres employees took the finished films to long, darkened rooms, where female inspectors sat two by two at small tables in front of small white squares on which the films were projected. Each inspector had a button that, when pushed, recorded the frame on which an error occurred. Film inspector George Kleine used mostly female film inspectors, who worked for $7 to $12 a week, but the few male inspectors he employed received $2 to $5 more weekly, with the exception of one particularly well-paid female inspector. At the Selig Polyscope Company in 1919, all films were “subjected to the scrutiny of a lady examiner.”*
The type of work offered to women in the film factories, then, fit within the culturally defined arena of women’s work at the turn of the century: it was performed indoors, it did not require strength or invite danger, and it required “dexterity but not skill.” As in other kinds of factory work, women printers, cutters, joiners, and polishers were to be nimble fingered but not creative. Like the new clerical jobs opening up for women, film inspecting was clean and required some education and skill, but it was tedious work. And like clerical work, most of the jobs in the film factories appear to have been limited to white women. Existing etchings and photographs do not reveal any women of color working in early film factories, and there are no references to race or ethnicity in contemporary descriptions. Film historian Charles Musser’s conclusion that the early film industry was a “white” world appears to extend to the laboratory as well.
(*at Feminist Film, all films are subjected to the scrutiny of a lady examiner.)
As a bonus, here are some films about gender and labor history:
American Dream (1990) is a documentary about a 1980s strike on Hormel Corporation. It won the Oscar for best Documentary. Director Barbara Kopple won that Oscar in 1977, too, for Harlan County, USA, which is an essential labor history documentary about a coal strike, and it really highlights the work of women in community-building in labor organizing.
With Babies and Banners: Story of the Women’s Emergency Brigade (1979) is about the Women’s Auxiliary in the 1936 Flint Sit-Down Strike. I’m from Flint, and this is one of my favorite films. If you can get a hold of it, it’s an amazing portrait of women’s labor and organizing in one of the most important strikes in world history. (I’m getting an Emergency Brigade tattoo!) The only surviving participant in the strike is Geraldine Blankenship, who was a teenage member of of the Women’s Emergency Brigade. The woman who organized the auxiliary was Genora Johnson Dollinger, who was only 23 at the time. After the strike, she worked with the UAW doing union publicity tours, organizing, and writing the book that the above link directs to.
Okay, I said I was from Flint, so I’m not gonna pretend that Roger & Me (1989) isn’t one of my favorite movies. (“Pets or meat” lady is, allegedly, a family friend.) All criticisms be damned, Michael Moore is a big deal to me. While I think Bowling for Columbine (2002) is kind of a mess of liberalism and poorly-developed arguments, I’m including it because it features women impacted by welfare-to-work.
Made in L.A. (2007) is a documentary about sweatshop labor and piecework performed by Central American immigrant women for Forever 21, and their efforts to unionize in favor of basic labor protections. Blood, Sweat, & Lace (1994) is another documentary about the subcontracting system in Los Angeles and how it impacts immigrant women of color, this time Asian-American women. (This one might be harder to come by, but if you have access to a research or university library, you might have some luck.)
Salt of the Earth (1954) is a landmark film, a drama about a Mexican-American miners in New Mexico and their struggles not only with scabs and management, but with white miners. At the same time, it’s about the work of wives and mothers, and arguments for “equity” within the home. Salt of the Earth is most famous for being blacklisted by HUAC for communist-leanings, because of its politics and its association with the International Union for Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers. It’s so valuable not only for its labor content but its labor context: the producers and the actors (only a few of whom were professionals, most of whom were local union members) were blacklisted, and Rosaura Revueltas was deported. (Some of the scenes were filmed in Mexico city after her arrest.) Watch this movie!
Of course I have to mention Sally Field’s Norma Rae (1979), the dramatization of the life of Crystal Lee Sutton. Niki Caro’s North Country (2005) is a film about labor, assult, and sexual harassment and is based on Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co.
A number of films have been produced about Juarez, femicide, and labor-related violence in Mexican border towns. Among them are the documentaries Performing the Border (1999), Seniorita Extraviada (2002) and the dramas Backyard: El Traspiato (2009) and Bordertown (2006).
These are just a handful that I could name, but Berkeley offers an extensive list for anybody who is looking for more.
While doing my daily roaming on Tumblr, I can across this picture. My first thought about this picture was that it looked amazing. While scrolling through the notes, the first few comments I read were about this picture was about how “make up does this to people” or “this is basically how every girl looks like”. Seriously? Has the society and the culture blinded you so much that you’d make a bias comment make up differences? I don’t understand how people can be so shallow that they can’t see the beauty from both sides of the face. Supposedly, because she wears make up, she’s ugly. Or because she doesn’t wear make up, she’s ugly. This world views such things in a black and white perspective. I say both sides of the face is gorgeous. Focusing on the left side, her make up radiates her beauty. In other words, it’s complimenting her facial features. Her skin gives off a warm glowing tone, her brows and lips are full, and her eye make up brings out her blue grey eyes. Focusing on the right side, everything is natural. There is no shame in the uneven skin tone. There is no shame in the bags and lines under her eyes. There is no shame in in her unfilled brows and her natural lip color. The beauty about this is that they are not flaws. We are brainwashed by the media and the culture about how to define beauty that we overlook what beauty really is. If you compared the two sides and said one side looked better than the other side, then I feel sorry for you. You truly don’t understand what makes both sides beautiful.
holy shit i had to reblog this for that comment