Events

The Yorkshire Ripper, Misogyny in 1970s & 1980s Film Culture and Second Wave Feminist Activism in the UK

Hosted by the Department of Gender Studies

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building

Speaker

Dr Hannah Hamad

Dr Hannah Hamad

Senior Lecturer Media and Communication , Cardiff University

Chair

Dr Sadie Wearing

Dr Sadie Wearing

Associate Professor in Gender Theory, Culture and Media.

This talk explores the wave of interventionist activism that emerged in the UK in the 1970s, continuing into the 1980s, in response to the inflammatory set of circumstances produced by misogynist cultures of film production, distribution and marketing, and the toxic culture of violence against women that was epitomized during this period by the wave of murders of women that were attributed to the so-called 'Yorkshire Ripper' prior to the apprehension of perpetrator Peter Sutcliffe.

It investigates the historical circumstances that led to flashpoint moments in this wave of activism, such as the feminist protests of cinemas that accompanied the release on UK screens of the Brian De Palma film Dressed to Kill (1980), and the prosecution and trial of Diane Potter and Maria Schween for 'defacement of property' in 1978 following their feminist culture jamming of publicly displayed posters for the films The Stud and Emmanuelle 2, distributors for which had anchored advertising campaigns to the sexual objectification of female characters, in discursive and ideological harmony with the gender politics of the films themselves.

And it culminates in an in depth look at the curious case of the (non) production by MGM of a Yorkshire Ripper film that was reported by industry trade papers at the time to have been in develompent in 1980 at which point the case was still unsolved, and the murders of women in the north of England were still intermittently taking place. Specifically, it uses archival sources in The Women's Library and Feminist Archive North to explain and contextualise the activities of feminist activist Sandra McNeill, a leading figure in West Yorkshire's 'Reclaim the Night' movement who spearheaded an organised campaign to stop the production, distribution and marketing of the Peter Sutcliffe film that was never made.

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