Feminist Ideas the Screwball Comedy Film Genre

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The Screwball comedy is a film genre that found its way onto the screens in the early 1930s and lasted till the early 1940s. They were a consequence of the newly adapted censorship law in 1934 that restricted addressing adult content on screen. They therefore incorporated more comedic and creative ways of symbolizing topics such as sex and homosexuality. Screwball comedies were mainly based on plots that had conflict between social classes as their many premise and always had a happy ending which was almost always marriage. This consistent maintenance of the status quo of marriage is a major aspect of feminism depicted in screwball comedies (Heather 26). While advocating for marriage, screwball comedies highlighted the shift in the foundations of marriage and greatly highlighted the growth of feminism in light of a shift in roles and expectations surrounding this institution.

Feminism is motivated by the need to establish equality between the genders since most feminists attribute women’s problems to inequality between the two genders. Therefore, by way of a collection of political movements and social theories, feminists seek to curb this inequality between men and women. It is important to note that the equality sought after by feminists is not just economic and political, but also social equality. According to Heather Gilmour, The institution of marriage during the pre-modern era or the Victorian era was based on inequality as the roles to be fulfilled by both genders for the success of the marriage were essentially different (Heather 26). As the roles kept changing over time due to different circumstances, so did the expectations of marriage and along with that, the rise of feminist movement. Screwball comedies such as It...

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...r to be pragmatic and cautious when drawing lessons from screwball comedies.

Works Cited

Gilmour, Heather. “Journal of Film and Video.” Different, except in a Different way: Marriage, Divorce, and Gender in the Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1998. 26 – 39. Print.

It Happened One Night. Dir. Frank Capra. Perf. Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable. Columbia Pictures. 1999. DVD.

Shumway, David, R. “Cinema Journal.” Screwball Comedies: Constructing Romance, Mystifying Marriage. Texas: University of Texas Press, 1999. 7 – 23. Print.

Willet, Cynthia. “Cultural Critique.” Baudrillard, “After Hours”, and the Postmodern Suppression of Socio-Sexual Conflict. Minnesota: University Of Minnesota Press, 1996. 143 – 161. Print.

Woman of the Year. Dir. George Stevens. Perf. Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn. MGM. 1997. DVD.

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