The Accidental Feminist

The Accidental Feminist

How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice

Book - 2012
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Movie stars build their roles into brands--and the Taylor brand is startlingly feminist. In her breakout film, "National Velvet" (1944), Taylor challenged gender discrimination, playing a jockey who had to pose as a male to race. Her next landmark, "A Place in the Sun" (1951), tackles abortion rights. In "Butterfield 8" (1960), she is censured not because she's a prostitute, but because she controls her own sexuality. And the classic "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) depicts the anguish that befalls a woman when the only way she can express herself is through her husband's career and children. Taylor's personal life, too, is remarkable: financially autonomous, she supported her parents as a teenager. As an adult, she supported the right of people to love whomever they love--regardless of gender. Her legendary friendships with her gay male costars inspired her to become a major fundraiser for AIDS research in the 1980s, before the cause became fashionable. Drawing upon unpublished letters and scripts, as well as interviews with Gore Vidal, Robert Forster, Austin Pendleton, Kevin McCarthy and others, this is a long overdue reappraisal.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Walker & Co., 2012
ISBN: 9780802716699
Branch Call Number: B Taylor Lord 2012
Characteristics: viii, 212 p., [8] p. of plates ; 21 cm


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Mar 22, 2018

This book offers some excellent insight into some of Elizabeth Taylor's best movies, and some of her lesser-known ones as well. I was expecting the analysis to be a little more intense, but this is a nice, easy read that points out how many of the roles Taylor played are of women who refuse to be victims, and who live life on their own terms. Representation matters, and Taylor represented strong, independent women in a period of history where such qualities in women were not only undervalued but strongly discouraged and even punished. It was fun to relive some of these movies through M.G. Lord's eyes. Be aware that the book is full of spoilers, though, so you may want to watch the movies first.

Nov 16, 2015

Great book. This is how I discovered James Dean, Taylor's research concerning AIDS, and some really cool movies like Giant.


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