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From Reverence to Rape

From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies

By Molly Haskell

PN 1995.9 W6 H3

College of the Redwoods Library




   Where once we watched Paul Henreid light Betty Davis’ cigarette in Now, Voyager and…

…Bette Davis called Marked Woman, in which prostitutes turn states witnesses to convict the heads of organized crime.

   In the woman’s film, the woman – a woman - is at the center of the universe. Best friends and suitors, … Dark Victory, live only for her pleasure, talk about her constantly, and cease to exist when she dies. In….

   …policier, the rodeo film, the adventure film.


   Women’s films, particularly those of the thirties, have a stronger sense of social reality than their glossy-magazine or vacuum-sealed television equivalents.

   …she was a murderess and tried to bluff her way through, like Bette Davis in The Letter…

  …Davis creates her own norms, and is driven by motives not likely to appeal to the average audience. She is ready and eager to give up husband, position, security, children (most easily, children), even liver; for what? Not for anything so noble as…



   (…a pinup…)


   (…the action…)

   …that they were never real, never women, but were some kind of joke, apart from women and a warning to them.


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