The Celluloid Closet Analysis

1721 Words 7 Pages
In a country that promotes the mantra, “United we Stand”, it is actually quite easy to feel like an outsider. It seems as though WASPS control our world and all those who don’t fall into that category lack the means to change politics, society, or the economy. Throughout America’s history African Americans, Ethnics, Poor people, gay people, and women have struggled as outsiders. On the other hand, these groups have been able to gather themselves and assert their own self-image in culture as well. There seems to be a constant struggle between larger corporations associated middle class that use culture for social control, and marginal social groups that fight back to represent themselves accurately. Because of this struggle there is a duality …show more content…
Gays were excluded mostly in films. Strict production codes for movies like the Hayes Code made gayness forbidden in films up until the late 20th century. Hollywood’s strict rules forced gayness to be closeted and overt at best: “…Hollywood’s sly hints and inadvertent leaks, whereby it, for example, through Katherine Hepburn’s androgynous character in Sylvia Scarlett merely ‘Introduced the possibility of homosexual activity in the film…’” (Ross 168). According to the documentary The Celluloid Closet, gayness was made to be something to laugh at, to pity, and to fear thanks to Hollywood’s early construction of implied gay characters (Avila 8.1). For many closeted gay people in the community, watching this inaccurate representation in movies made them question if there was something wrong with them. Early in Hollywood’s history there was no outlet for an accurate portrayal of life as a gay or lesbian individual. For others, although the representation was inaccurate, they were just happy that it was represented in film at all. The Hayes code forced writers and directors to be very subtle when portraying gay individuals. Eventually when the codes were loosened up, gayness was talked about more directly. However, it was sill only used to criticize gays. It was implied time after time in movies that if you were gay you would be unhappy and die a tragic death. Gays and lesbians were portrayed as villains and as menaces to society. People in the studios who did want to change these representations of gays oftentimes did not because they feared losing their job and popularity. These early depictions of gay individuals were possible because of the agency of the Hayes production codes and the corporate studio

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