This essay explores the breadth of feminist writing on film in Ms. magazine in the 1970s. It begins by analyzing and demonstrating the potential reading practices that this archive of writing invites and then turns to recurrent points of focus in the magazine regarding women's emerging attempts to author or authorize film production. It concludes by considering both the magazine's ruptures and intersections with academic feminist writings on film in the same period, with a focus on brief samples of work in the journals Screen and Camera Obscura. Overall, the author takes the position of a feminist historian in the not-so-distant future who turns to Ms. as the material evidence of 1970s film culture in order to query: What does this archive reveal about the history of feminist cultural production? What does it say about historical and contemporary blind spots in the feminist academy? And how might our understanding of this archive direct historical and theoretical work for feminist media scholars today?
The “Whatness” of Ms. Magazine and 1970s Feminist Film Criticism
Amelie Hastie is the author of Cupboards of Curiosity: Women, Recollection, and Film History (Duke University Press), the BFI “Film Classics” volume The Bigamist (Palgrave/Macmillan), and a forthcoming volume on the 1970s television series Columbo (Duke University Press). Her work has appeared in such publications as Cabinet, Camera Obscura, Cinema Journal, Film History, Framework, Lola, journal of visual culture, Parallax, and Screen, and she is the author of “The Vulnerable Spectator” column in Film Quarterly. She was a member of the Camera Obscura editorial collective for a decade. She is professor and chair of Film and Media Studies at Amherst College.
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Amelie Hastie; The “Whatness” of Ms. Magazine and 1970s Feminist Film Criticism. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2015; 1 (3): 4–37. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2015.1.3.4
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