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Title page for ETD etd-03252014-054912

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Minarich, Megan Lynn
URN etd-03252014-054912
Title Hollywood's Reproduction Code: Regulating Contraception and Abortion in American Cinema, 1915-1952
Degree PhD
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Paul D. Young Committee Chair
Jennifer M. Fay Committee Member
Kelly Oliver Committee Member
Shelley Stamp Committee Member
  • contraception
  • abortion
  • American cinema
  • Hollywood
  • social problem films
  • exploitation films
  • melodrama
Date of Defense 2014-03-17
Availability unrestricted
“Hollywood's Reproduction Code: Regulating Contraception and Abortion in American Cinema, 1915-1952” examines the visual and verbal rhetorics of choice with regard to filmic representations of contraception, abortion, and female reproductive agency. My dissertation draws upon films such as Where Are My Children? (1916), Christopher Strong (1933), Gambling With Souls (1936), and Leave Her to Heaven (1945), which I consider alongside censorship practices and the Production Code, reproductive rights history, legal and eugenics discourses, and narrative concerns. I argue that over time, film’s progressive treatment of reproductive agency sharply declines, and any vestiges of objectively, scientifically didactic aims or goals disappear. Relatedly, this trend demonstrates an increasing disconnect between pro-choice popular morality and anti-choice prescribed morality.
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