A Conversation for Peer Review

A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 1

Bluebottle

Entry: Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films - A87903859
Author: Bluebottle - U43530

Going back into Peer Review where it can sink to the bottom and be ignored, but if this is in Peer Review – even if ignored - it is out of my 'Pending' folder.

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A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 2

Sho - gainfully employed again

someone just pointed this entry out to me so I'm going to bump it up to the top. I'm literally reading through and will comment on content and typos (etc) as I go through...

Intro
epitomises the 'saucy seaside postcard' humour => epitomise

The Bechdel Test
having a conversation together - I think "with each other" is better than together

Matron as played by Hattie Jacques and Joan Hickson's 'Sister' - the scare quotes round sister, make it look as though she might be related to Matron. Also, maybe the terms Matron and Sister might be unknown to a large number of the audience? maybe they could/should be explained.

Valeria spends most of her time in the spooky house and talks about frozen women, but as they are frozen they cannot answer back. - do you mean she talks *to* the frozen (?) women? otherwise it doesn't really make sense to me.

I don't understand footnote 4 - but that may be because I haven't seen the film.

From Miss Oakley to Misogyny - love that subheading

Lady Jane's reaction ... is clearly unacceptable. - to whom?

Though if you could measure misogyny => Although...

Though if you could measure misogyny … establish individual identity and motive. - I don't really get this paragraph. It starts saying that Camel is the most misogynistic, but everything it describes relates to Khyber without offering evidence that Camel really is the worst offender. I think it just needs a little tweak.

Battle of the Sexes
When the women resolving the tensions - I think you mean "resolve"?

however we never know what a woman sees if she drinks it. - to that I add (in my head or under my breath) because what the women actually think isn't interesting. The films are primarily for men because, as they show so well, women don't actually count. It's a beef I have with the Carry On films at the same time as I do find some of them incredibly funny (my favourite is Cleo followed by Screaming - neither of which treat women particularly well - what works for me are the jokes. "Infamy! Infamy!" being the best, but "do you mind if I smoke" is up there too). I'm not sure if you'd want to add something along those lines or leave it. Up to you.

Love the nudity section.

Is all Affair in Love and War (great pun - love that)
when she complied to every conceivable nagging stereotype - "complied to" isn't correct, how about "when she exhibited every conceivable nagging stereotype"?

Keeping up Appearances
you mention that women in the films are often judged by their appearance. It goes further than that. Matron, for example, is supposed to be beyond sex. She is large, older and not conventionally pretty - she and the other women who nag, moan and generally take the men to task are not attractive. The younger women, the ones the men gaze at, are all pretty, sexy, curvy etc. (Valerian is an exception - are there more?) they are desireable and usually, ultimately, available (for someone). None of the men - with the possible exception if you squint a bit of the very young Jim Dale - are good looking, sexy, or the male equivalent of curvy. Again this reinforces my belief that the films are really only for men - women may enjoy the jokes, the stories and the dialogue but that's all they get. Again up to you - I'm not sure if your remit for this piece (which is a great idea) would cover that?

Bristol
this is an example of immature humour. - I think it's more representative of the fact that the films, while clever (the constant cross-dressing is reminiscent of Shakespeare after all) they are basically to be seen as harmless fun - the cinematic equivalent of a series of naughty seaside postcards.

James Bond famously calling characters Pussy Galore and Plenty O'Toole - Ian Fleming, surely. And he was one of the biggest misogynists ever in the history of writing. Not at all in the spirit that the names are given/used in Carry On films.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Bodybuilder
This raises the question, is a film about the feminist reaction to a beauty contest more, less or equally as sexist as a film about a beauty contest? - I've always felt that Girls is a criticism of feminists and bra burning harridans for ruining men's fun, rather than anything else. Those poor pagent girls!! Those poor men!! boo, hiss, nasty feminist killjoys!!

Roles for Women
But aren't some of these roles "typical" women's jobs that men don't do? (NAAFi Girl) And maybe "blimey, the little woman thinks she can do a man's job" (gunslinger). And definitely in the case of Spy she has one skill and that is her photographic memory. Anything she does above and beyond that, which makes her an effective spy, is pure chance. Also to come back to Matron yet again - she is anti-sexy. She is the one that they would be afraid to have sex with, I think. Or does anyone fancy her in any of the films? I seem to remember her pining or sighing over a doctor or two. (it is a Long Time since I saw a Carry on Film)

Recurring actors
It seems a bit of a jolt to start with James Bond films. Since you do can you mention that the more recent ones (Daniel Craig) women have been given much more responsibility and agency in keeping with the times we live in. Carry On doesn't have that advantage.

Gender of Title
you can't count Midshipman (Sally) as a job that Carry On thinks that women can do (unlike doctor) because the whole point is that she's pretending to be a man. Likewise Annie is a complete outlier - it is ridiculous that she's a "cowboy" which is the point of her, right? Same for Nurse and "girl" - men dress up as these to do Nurse/girl stuff but that's the joke and rather emphasises the fact that men *don't* do those things.
If you go by that as a criteria - the films are clearly sexist. Preposterous! a woman midshipman! a male nurse! pshaw!!
So I completely disagree with the final sentence of that section.

East or West, Home is Best
portray home life as glamorous, with young housewives ironing in their underwear or showering nude - er no. Ironing is never glamorous unless you are on a chaise longue being hand-fed peeled grapes watching someone else do it smiley - biggrin No men are ironing. is that sexist?
Also the wives get older and grumpier and their husbands prefer to stay away. Because they aren't sexy? Why is that - because they spend their time ironing? The question for me in this part is why does it pan out like that? is that a clear strategy that Carry On followed?

Conclusion
I draw a very different one. When I look at the title and ask myself if I think Carry On films are sexist - my automatic reaction would be "YES!" but examining it like this - and then comparing them to, say, the top 10 blockbusters over the last 10 years - I can see that, actually, they fall into the less harmless, but nonetheless sexist, category of film.

Sorry - big long post but I did promise myself to get over to PR and do something instead of sitting around wondering what happened to h2g2. And I'm sure some of what I've said belongs more in a conversation about the entry.

But anyway, that's my smiley - 2cents make of it what you will.
I really like that h2g2 is giving the Carry On films the treatment though. An underrated form of entertainment, I think. Can't wait to see this on the FP.





A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 3

Sho - gainfully employed again

blimey, though - sorry that's so long. I really got into it! great entry.


A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 4

Bluebottle

It's not often that an entry gets a 1,300 word reply, I'm flatteredsmiley - wowsmiley - applause
I'm also afraid that I've not had a chance to address all the points you have made today smiley - puff so I've made changes to the top half and will get started on the second half tomorrow.

My aim of this entry was to ask questions and let readers reach their own conclusions (although being open-ended proved unpopular last time this was in Peer Review, so I added a fairly neutral conclusion.)

I've added more to the smiley - footprintssmiley - musicalnote to add an explanation about 'Matron' and 'Sister' and also hopefully smiley - footprintssmiley - musicalnote 4 is clearer note.

Similarly, hopefully the 'From Miss Oakley to Misogyny' section is better now.

Battle of the Sexes – I'm not sure that the films show men actually 'thinking' per se either…
You've made a good point about the films rarely showing the women's perspective, though. It might be better positioned to make that point in the conclusion… I'll have a think…

Similarly though you've made a good point about whether older women are considered desirable in the films and the women who nag and moan etc not being conventionally attractive, but I'm not sure about how to develop that without trying to rate attractiveness when it is difficult enough trying to rate sexism.
Hattie Jacques who plays Matron is indeed cast in larger, older and not conventionally pretty roles. She does play glamourous in 'Cabby' and in 'Carry On Laughing' television episode 'Orgy and Bess' Jacques plays Queen Elizabeth while all the male characters (King Philip of Spain, Drake, Raleigh and Essex) are all rivals for her affection who try to seduce her (but the fact she is queen and whoever marries her will become king is a key motive).
Saying Matron was considered unattractive in the films wouldn't tell the whole story, because Jacques was often partnered with Kenneth Williams. Jacques and Williams made a great double-act who had comic chemistry together – almost like a Laurel and Hardy in some ways – but as Williams was gay and plays his roles quite camp, it seems a tentative argument to say that the character of Matron is undesirable because she wasn't desired by a gay man. (Did you know that television drama 'Hattie' was all about her real-life affair with a much younger man when she was married to, and feeling neglected by, John Le Mesurier).
I can honestly say that I'm not surprised to hear that you don't think any of the male actors were particularly physically attractive. Presumably the reason they kept filming Kenneth Williams' bare bottom was because they thought it was funny…?

...To Be Continued...

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A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 5

Sho - gainfully employed again

gosh I didn't realise I'd waffled so much! sorry about that (maybe...)

I think you should take or leave what I said as you want to - and we'll have a really good discussion when this hits the front page.

I really must try to find the Carry On films to watch somewhere, I always forget how much I love them (particularly Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams)


A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 6

Bluebottle

Your comments about the 'Roles for Women' section is 100% spot on and so I've tweaked it a bit to include some of that. (I would argue that though you are right that in the case of 'Spy', Barbara Windsor codename Brown Cow does indeed have only one skill, yet that still gives her one skill more than the male spies she's working with…)

I've also added more to the Gender of Title section, and tweaked the East or West, Home is Best bit too. I was curious about your assertion that 'ironing is never glamorous' and so wrote 'glamorous ironing' in Google to see how glamorous people think ironing is. What I discovered is that a lot of companies are selling things they claim to be 'glamorous ironing board covers' as well as 'Luxury ironing boards' (very strange definitions of luxury – almost as bad a 'luxury toilet roll'. Toilet paper isn't a luxury!) as well as pictures that, well, despite certainly being steamy I wouldn't necessarily say are going to result in an awful lot of ironing being done. So, moving swiftly on…

That brings us to the end.
The aim of this entry was to raise questions and hope that everyone makes their own conclusion, which makes actually writing a conclusion rather difficult. I didn't want the entry to just stop abruptly so I felt I had to write something, but I'm not in any way expecting readers to agree with what I've written.
The one thing I have learnt is that the 'Carry On' films are indeed sexist but it is impossible to measure sexism accurately. Particularly as everyone measures sexism differently. So for one person they might be comparing the films on a sexism scale that has, say, a grandparent buying their granddaughter a pink pencil case rather than blue one on one side of the scale to FGM, Chinese foot binding and prostitution on the other. Where they'd place the films on that scale is different to someone comparing it just to other 20th Century films they've seen. It's subjective so neither scale is 'wrong', just different

Well, sorry it took a while to get back to you about every point you've raised, but if you think of something else then feel free to dispute what I've said, and thanks again for reading and commenting in such depth!

<BB<


A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 7

Sho - gainfully employed again

blimey, you were really fast.
and thanks - I realised as soon as I'd posted that I was being REALLY picky over an entry that I really liked.

Now all we need is a scout!!

smiley - whistle


A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 8

SashaQ - happysad

Did someone say <./>scout</.>?

Let's see what this looks like now, thanks to Sho's excellent readthrough smiley - ok

I found the other day that we have a link for Saucy Seaside Postcard A4350971smiley - ok

For Dr Crow, 'asexual' needs to be in inverted commas, as asexual is a term for sexuality these days, but you clearly define what is meant in this case smiley - ok

The Carry On Bechdel Test section is very good smiley - ok

I don't understand the 'Emmannuelle stalked by Theodore' example - is it saying that Emmannuelle attempts to become undesirable, but Theodore is not deterred?

In the 'female gaze' paragraph, you're not saying that that photograph offsets the amount of objectification of women in the series just because it has the potential to cause a massacre, but I wonder if it actually is an example of The Female Gaze, I don't know... http://www.vulture.com/2018/08/how-do-we-define-the-female-gaze-in-2018.html

Yes, the Nudity section is very good smiley - ok Sometimes you mention the character in the list, and sometimes not.

The Adultery section and subsection need to be tweaked a bit - at the moment they seem to be saying Carry On men never commit adultery except when they do.

I like the analysis of the logic of Emmannuelle smiley - ok

"Curiously those undergoing the slimming treatment aren't actually overweight to begin with." - Curious indeed - even nowadays there are adverts on TV like that smiley - grr

Excellent flow from Keeping Up Appearances to There is Nothing Like a Dame smiley - ok

Excellent explanation of the relevance of Bristol smiley - ok Great linkage to the James Bond series, there, too. Footnote 5 has lost its ending, though.

Beauty in the Eye of the Bodybuilder section is now very good smiley - ok I like the Roles for Women section, too smiley - ok Recurring Actors section flows well smiley - ok

The average billing table is very pleasing smiley - ok In the second table, the headings could emphasise that it is the Scenes per Film Rank and the Average Billing Order Rank, just to be clear smiley - ok You could say a little bit about Charles Hawtrey and Bernard Bresslaw, too. Is the Terry Scott Sergeant billing an anomaly because it was the first film of the series and he wasn't expected to be a main star at that time, or was his role much larger than the billing would suggest?

The Cast and Crew analysis is really interesting - in particular Carry On Columbus shows how some things change, and some things stay the same... Would it be helpful to give the percentages rather than/as well as the totals in the final row?

In the last paragraph of the analysis of titles, the bit about there being no male nurses at the time is really strong. In Carry on Girls all the 'girls' are played by women, so that sentence 'possible to argue' isn't needed, is that right?

In the East or West section, could "portray home life as glamorous, with" be replaced by "depict"? It's not so much portraying home life as glamorous, as Sho says (and I like Footnote 10!), but is a nice example of Male Gaze fodder...

From a logic perspective smiley - geek you can conclude that you *demonstrated* that Carry On series is less sexist than James Bond series, rather than 21st Century blockbusters more generally. The sentence about Emmannuelle links in with the introduction very strongly smiley - ok

"mostly harmless, though sexist, entertainment."

smiley - ok excellent ending. Just need to be careful not to make claims about 'the majority of viewers' without rigorous survey data - perhaps just say something like "Yet despite of this all, the films can be viewed as mostly harmless, though sexist, entertainment."

smiley - ok


A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 9

Bluebottle

Thanks again for reading through.

I've tweaked the Emmannuelle and Theodore, Adultery and Titles sections.

You're right, I didn't say that that kilt photograph offsets the amount of objectification of women in the series just because it has the potential to cause a massacre. The photograph paragraphs discuss photos, no more no less.

I'm glad you wonder whether it actually is an example of the Female Gaze 'cos I wonder whether it is an example of the Female Gaze too – that's the beauty of writing things to be a talking point because hopefully it inspires people to reply and say, 'I don't think it is necessarily an example of the female gaze because XYZ' which if everyone wholeheartedly agreed with everything written, they wouldn't. I see in your link that a few cinematographers are asked to define 'the Female Gaze' and far from coming up with a consensus, some dispute its very existence, and that of the 'Male Gaze'. So does it exist? If it exists, can it be said to purely apply only to film, or can it also apply to photographs and still art? Can it apply to 3D art such as sculpture where every viewer chooses their own angle at which to see the artwork? Can its existence be denied to a photograph in a 'Carry On' film? Surely there can be no right or wrong answers.

The fun thing is that theories are a bit like babies. At the start of their existence they are nurtured by academics etc in the safe environment of their own home and then publishing the theory into academia is a bit like the theory – now a Toddler - going to playschool. It is a safe environment but full of other toddlers having temper tantrums. Eventually it is released into the big, wide world as a fully-grown idea and the parent academic has to let go of control over their theory. Despite the parents' best intentions for it to become a successful doctor, anything can happen and their theory might be changed by the media and turned into the opposite of what was hoped for. A classic example is 'shell shock' which isn't used by the media to mean what it was originally meant to cover. Or 'Memetics', which was originally a term used to study how ideas or memes spread and propagate and now the word 'meme' is primarily used to mean 'I laughed at something' so if, say, my son fell over in the playground he says 'it's a meme' meaning falling over was funny, not that he is spreading an idea.

In the nudity section, I mention the character in the list only when appearing naked consists of their entire contribution to the film.

With Terry Scott, he appeared in 1958's 'Carry On Sergeant' in a very minor role at a time when he was a virtual unknown at the start of his career. He then didn't reappear in the series for a decade. In the meantime he found fame starring in sitcom 'Hugh and I' (1962-7) and so was in a very different place when he returned to the series in 1968. I also added a sentence about Hawtrey and Bresslaw.

I imagine it would indeed be helpful to give percentages as well as totals in the Cast and Crew tables, it'll just take a while to edit the table:


FilmsCastCrew
MaleFemaleMaleFemale
Carry On Sergeant (1958) 455164
Carry On Nurse (1959) 2520174
Carry On Teacher (1959) 126134
Carry On Constable (1960)2115125
Carry On Regardless (1961) 4017134
Carry On Cruising (1962)175175
Carry On Cabby (1963) 1912183
Carry On Jack (1963)1910163
Carry On Spying (1964) 1917174
Carry On Cleo (1964)2218153
Carry On Cowboy (1965)2721183
Carry On Screaming! (1966)155183
Carry On Don't Lose Your Head (1966)1615183
Carry On Follow That Camel (1967)2315163
Carry On Doctor (1967)2117163
Carry On Up the Khyber (1968)2121183
Carry On Camping (1969)1420163
Carry On Again Doctor (1969)1822153
Carry On Up the Jungle (1970)149153
Carry On Loving (1970)2718173
Carry On Henry (1971)259173
Carry On at Your Convenience (1971)1611173
Carry On Matron (1972)1419174
Carry On Abroad (1972)1610172
Carry On Girls (1973)1621183
Carry On Dick (1974)2111225
Carry On Behind (1975)2121153
Carry On England (1976)2112204
That's Carry On! (1977)4628N/AN/A
Carry On Emmannuelle (1978)3312204
Carry On Columbus (1992)4385824
Total:707450542124


I assume you'd keep the same number of columns and just add the percentages in brackets next to the figure, so the top row would become: Carry On Sergeant (1958)45 (90%)5 (10%)16 (80%)4 (20%) ?

<BB<


A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 10

Bluebottle

One hundred and twenty six percentages have been added to the entry as requested.smiley - smiley

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A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 11

Sho - gainfully employed again

Are we discussing the female gaze? Here's my smiley - 2cents: it is not an example of the female gaze to include the kilt lifting scene. It's not meant to titillate and most women I know find that completely unattractive...


A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 12

Bluebottle

Attractiveness and titillation isn't a necessary part of the gaze; in the 'Carry On' films the actress most often the subject of the male gaze is Barbara Windsor, y'know, the little old lady off 'EastEnders'.

The male gaze is about how the camera is positioned as if it is watching the (predominantly female) subject in a sexual way. So a typical example would be following a woman getting out a sports car in a flattering dress, the camera would zoom in on the lady's shapely legs that are displayed in full as she swivels out the door, she might also be in a low-cut top so that when the lady bends forward the camera would sneakily glimpse any cleavage on view too. But the male gaze would still exist if it did exactly the same action and camera moves but with, say, the subject of an old, weather-worn peg-legged male smiley - pirate with a hook for a hand covered in obscene tattoos, filming him stagger out the sports car as he swigs his bottle of rum and picks his nose while belching.

Curiously, the male gaze is most effective when it isn't an attractive woman being filmed. So for example in 'The Shining' it is used so that the audience is subconsciously thinking 'an attractive woman is about to be seen lying in the bathtub' and when it is revealed that it is really an old, haggard, cackling mad woman/ghost there who pursues the audience, the effect is shocking.

You make a good point I'm not disagreeing with, which is good because the idea is to make points that create debate. The more healthy debate this area creates the more I think it is beneficial to keep it in as it should create discussion in the future too.

I also wonder whether people should disagree more? I do worry that if people go through life surrounded by people agreeing about almost everything, when they encounter an unexpected disagreement they don't know how to react properly and this leads to unpleasant conflict. If people get more experience in amicably disagreeing, would it mean that disagreements on the whole would be more pleasantly resolved?

<BB<


A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 13

Sho - gainfully employed again

you could write a whole entry (series of entries?) about learning to handle an opposing view and living in an echo chamber!


A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 14

SashaQ - happysad

Yes, it is good to have talking points, and discussion of the evidence for and against theories, as echo chambers are an issue indeed... There is a *lot* of disagreement out there these days, but the stuff I've seen does seem to tend to escalate to one echo chamber disagreeing with another echo chamber's right to exist, and people then take refuge inside their echo chambers, which is a vicious circle, I agree...

I also worry in this day and age about 'alternative facts' - someone (eg a galactic president) could point to a feather and say 'this is an example of a brick', and then what would happen? smiley - headhurts

Well done on updating the cast and crew table - that is very clear now smiley - ok Looks great with the new table formatting in Pliny, too smiley - biggrin


A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

Post 15

SashaQ - happysad

Thinking more about disagreeing, I think understanding is what helps - if someone says, 'this feather is a brick', someone else might say either, 'no it's not smiley - nahnah' and start a flame war, or they might say 'why do you think that?' and then the other person might say either, 'I don't think that, but was wanting to find out what other people think', or 'because birds use feathers when building their nests' so the other person can say 'ah, I see - it might have been helpful if you had said that earlier' smiley - ok

Just giving the Entry another readthrough I was still wondering about the adultery thing, but I think I'm vaguely getting there - in Carry On men never succeed if they want to commit adultery, but if a woman asks them to commit adultery then they can, is that what it is? I think I read 'going out of their way' as a euphemism rather than as a statement of intent... smiley - laugh

The mention of the billing of Charles Hawtrey is very good smiley - ok

This is much improved indeed, thank you - the flow between sections is still good and the sections themselves now read smoothly through to the strong conclusion smiley - applausesmiley - biggrin


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A87903859 - Khyber's Kilts and Bristols: Sex, Sexism and Stereotyped Women in the 'Carry On' Films

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