Jack Clayton’s The Great Gatsby and Second Wave Feminism

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Jack Clayton’s The Great Gatsby was produced during a decade of progressive movements such as Second-wave Feminism, and in particular, the Sexual Revolution. Second Wave Feminism demonstrated the fight of females of all classes and races to gain reproductive rights and equality in the workplace, which signaled an ideological background for gender struggles. In the Sexual Revolution, women searched for their role in society through exploring their bodies and challenging sexual normativity in an effort to rid forms of sexism. While Second-wave Feminists assumed a noticeable presence in society, much of their agenda failed. In turn, 1970’s society was comprised by a nostalgic craze, an effort to relive the wondrous ways of the past as a sense of hopelessness arose over society.

The release of The Great Gatsby (Paramount 1974), an adaptation of a popular novel published during First-wave Feminism refracts Second-wave Feminism through the objectification of Daisy Buchannan in the film and of Mia Farrow by the media. This paper explores the inability of female audience members to connect with Daisy Buchannan as well as the media’s characterization of Mia Farrow. While Paramount used New Hollywood marketing techniques to built momentum for the film, the film eventually failed, as audience members were not able to relate to the female protagonist and the resolution of the film. The film’s nostalgic treatment of woman, as represented by Daisy’s failed attempt to overcome patriarchy, was antiquated and did not reflect the mood of the 1970’s. Clayton’s disconnect with 1970’s society in his intent to re-make The Great Gatsby not only displays the nostalgic view of the decade, but also epitomizes the conflict between feminist and anti-femi...

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