A timely symposium – Women in Hollywood


Me attempting to channel Rita Hayworth. Image courtesy of Beki Doig

I am very pleased to announce that on Monday May 28th I will be running my first ever symposium at DeMontfort University.

It seems odd to me that having organised and been part of so many public events over the years, I haven’t yet organised a conference or symposium.

The idea for this event came a couple of months ago when myself, Alissa Clarke and Laraine Porter were asked by PhD candidate Becky Jones to be part of a panel discussion around the treatment of older women in Hollywood following a screening of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool – a film about the final years of Hollywood vamp Gloria Grahame at the Phoenix cinema in Leicester.

We had a lot to say but understandably, only a small time in which to say it. We all remarked on this and also on how unusual it was to be part of an all female panel. As we gathered in the cafe bar afterwards, to continue the discussion, we drifted onto other issues women in Hollywood have had and still do encounter when trying to get on.  The #MeToo movement and the Weinstein allegations were only the tip of the iceberg. There were so many historical precedents.

The seed was sewn. We needed a day long event at least to discuss these issues. Vicky Ball also came on board and Women in Hollywood was born.

In case you are interested in attending and participating, here is our call for papers:

Deadline for submissions: midnight, Friday March 30th 2018.
Submissions to be sent to: ellen.wright@dmu.ac.uk

The focus of this event:
2017 saw a number of high profile news stories around the poor treatment of women in the entertainment industry, from the Weinstein allegations and the explosion of #MeToo, to revelations about gender pay gaps and the under representation of female labour, both in front of the camera and behind.
This symposium seeks to consider the range of intersecting factors that impact upon women working in Hollywood now and in the past and is intended as a platform to discuss the disadvantageous treatment of women and those who identify as female, and an opportunity to highlight examples of women’s autonomy, agency, subversion and innovation in the American film industry.
We therefore invite a broad variety of proposals that fit this theme, from a diverse range of voices.

In particular we are interested in:

• The casting couch and scandal in contemporary and historic contexts
• The treatment of aging female stars working in Hollywood
• Hierarchies of power and/or women’s access to finances and resources
• Feminism/intersectional feminism in Hollywood
• The gendering of film industry roles and/or invisible labour
• The sex wars and sex positive representations of women on screen
• The exclusion of women and the glass ceiling
• Threatening and inappropriate femininities in the American film industry
• The portrayal of women and femininity on screen
• Female homosexuality in Hollywood and Hollywood films
• Direct sexual exploitation, harassment and inappropriate behaviour in Hollywood
• The representation of women’s mental health issues in Hollywood and/or its narratives
• Barriers to opportunity of women of colour and/or their representation both historically and now
• Ableism in Hollywood and Hollywood narratives
• Views from outside of Hollywood and/or how different cultural contexts might offer different perspectives on gender and power in the American film industry.

Confirmed key note speaker is Professor Shelley Stamp (University of California, Santa Cruz) founding Editor of Feminist Media Histories: An International Journal, and author of Lois Weber in Early Hollywood (University of California Press, 2015) and Movie-Struck Girls: Women and Motion Picture Culture after the Nickelodeon (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Proposal Guidelines
We welcome both paper proposals and proposals for performance works of up to 20 minutes in length, around the symposium theme. Individuals submitting a paper or performance proposal should provide an abstract of 250 words, a short author biography and contact email. Co-authored, collaborative papers are also welcomed.
Symposium organisers hope to make final decisions on submissions by Friday 6th April.

we’d love to hear from you.


One thought on “A timely symposium – Women in Hollywood

  1. Pingback: Women in Hollywood Symposium | Here's looking at you.

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