Monday, October 25, 2010

Forbidden Images

I found this YouTube video while looking for stuff on Sarah Bernhardt. It consists of snippets of film from silent movies a projectionist cut out in Pennsylvania, presumably because he regarded the images as too shocking or thought the audience would regard them so.

The way the video is discussed, both in the blurb and in most of the comments is interesting. Very few notice that every single of these images is about women's bodies and none make the point that nothing having to do with just men seems to have been cut. But most interestingly of all, the overall theme is one where women's bodies are conflated with "daring sexuality," and the blurb urges people to think about what one might censor today, given that such innocent scenes were censored in the past.

In one sense, of course, absolutely nothing has changed. Sex is still all about women's bodies and people either want them covered up and hidden or freely available for public consumption.

For a very different image of sex in those olden days, I prefer Bessie Smith.