ANNOUNCEMENT: The Anti-Damsel Blogathon

UPDATE: Jo has posted the Saturday roster with direct links here. I have posted the Sunday roster here. Enjoy!

I’m back in the blogathon saddle and I am joined by the talented Jo of The Last Drive In. This time around, we are going to be celebrating the wonderful women of classic cinema, both real and fictional. The event will be held on August 15 & 16, 2015.

The idea for this event came to me when I looked at the search keywords that brought people to my site. With the exception of queries about specific actresses, every woman-related search query was for a woman in peril, in pain or scantily dressed.

Silent movies are particularly targeted thanks to the ridiculous myth of the “iconic” woman tied to the train tracks. (I see your “tied to the tracks” nonsense and raise you one sawmill.)

Tsk tsk, always having to save this dweeb...
Tsk tsk, always having to save this dweeb…
A woman's work is never done. Sigh.
A woman’s work is never done. Sigh.

In fact, silent movies were rich with films written, directed, produced by and starring women. And the heroines of silent film often displayed guts and wit that allowed them to rescue themselves and/or their boyfriends.

This event is also going to be about the brave, brash women of the talkies. Dames, dolls, WACs and outlaws, sound films are full of intriguing women on the screen, not to mention working behind the scenes.

Now classic and silent films did sometimes rely on the damsel in distress trope (just as entertainment today does) but we’re here to talk about the women who kicked down stereotypes, took the reigns and generally got the job done.

For clarification, this doesn’t mean that we only want action heroines. Oh no. We want bold, brave, smart women who made their mark in all walks of life. Your topic can be about a woman who does this:

The Godless Girl (1929)
The Godless Girl (1929)


Bare Knees (1928)
Bare Knees (1928)


Miss Lulu Bett (1921)
Miss Lulu Bett (1921)

Or this:

Manhandled (1924)
Manhandled (1924)

A few tips

What can I write about?
You have two options. Either you can write about an empowered film character or you can write about an empowered woman in the film industry (performers, producers, directors, designers, screenwriters, etc. Feel free to use your imagination.)

Is there a date range?
Yes. Any film you cover must have been released in or before 1970. Any real-life woman you cover must have started her career on or before 1960.

What do you mean by empowered?
Actually, it’s what you mean by empowered. This is all about our participants and their views. What qualities do you admire about independent and capable women? Choose a character or real-life woman who fits these qualities and you’re good to go!

Any other rules?
In order to encourage variety, we are asking for no exact duplicates. This means that if someone claims, say, Katharine Hepburn’s biography, you are still free to cover her films or characters that she played.


I’m in! What do I do?
Tell one of us your topic, grab a banner and you’re good to go. Please let us know if you have a date preference. Otherwise, we will divide the posts equally between us and let our participants know which hostess they belong to. Then write your fabulous post, send us a link at or before the event and you’re done.

I want to join but I don’t have a topic yet.
No problem. If you need a recommendation, contact either one of us for suggestions. We will add you to the roster once you make your choice.

What about TV shows?
Feel free to select any TV show, actress or behind-the-scenes worker within the date range.

Participation Etiquette

Before the event:
When claiming your topic, please let us know the name and URL (web address) of your blog. Sometimes usernames and blog names do not match or social media accounts are linked to an old blog or one that covers a different topic. We can’t link to you if we don’t know where to find you.

Please be considerate of fellow bloggers. In a “no duplicates” event, it can be frustrating for fellow participants if a popular topic is snapped up and then cancelled at the last minute. (But don’t feel bad if you have to cancel, we really and truly understand that real life has a way of interfering with hobbies.)

During the event:
Blogathons can be chaotic so we ask that our participants please send us links to their posts via comment, email or social media. If you leave us word that you have posted (and include the URL) then you are making our lives 100% easier. Thanks!

Yer all peaches! Peaches, I tell ya!



Movies Silently| Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Milton Sills: How Miss Lulu Bett Struck a Blow for the New Woman

The Last Drive In | Hedy Lamar: From Ecstasy to Frequency- A Beautiful Life

Cinematic Catharsis | Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) in The Day the Earth Stood Still

Silver Screenings | Alice Guy

The Joy & Agony of Movies | Sue Ann (Tuesday Weld) in Pretty Poison

Wide Screen World | Gloria Swanson

Hear Me Talk of Sin | Pola Negri

Speakeasy | Cobra Woman (1944) and a piece on Leigh Brackett’s screenwriting

Sister Celluloid | Margaret Dumont

Nitrate Diva | Blue Jeans (1917)

Tales of the Easily Distracted | Charade (1963)

Critica Retro | Tess Harding (Katharine Hepburn) in Woman of the Year

The Hitless Wonder | Lady Jane Ainsley (Frieda Inescort) in The Return of the Vampire

The Motion Pictures | Ida Lupino

Now Voyaging | Westward the Women (1951)

Aperture Reviews | Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn) in A Lion in Winter

Let’s Go to the Movies | Mae West

Moon in Gemini | Vance Jeffords (Barbara Stanwyck) in The Furies

bnoirdetour | Edie Johnson (Linda Darnell) in No Way Out

Love Letters to Old Hollywood | Nicole Chang (Shirley MacLaine) in Gambit

Serendipitous Anachronisms | Zira (Kim Hunter) in Planet of the Apes

Old Hollywood Films | Rachel Cooper (Lillian Gish) in Night of the Hunter

shadowsandsatin | Blondie Johnson (1933)

Once Upon a Screen | The Lady Eve and Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman

CineMaven’s Essays from the Couch | Carol Richman (Ella Raines) in Phantom Lady

ClassicBecky’s Brain Food | Night Nurse (1931)

Big V Riot Squad | The Exploits of Pearl (Pearl White)

A Person in the Dark | Italian Silent Screen Vamps: Lyda Borelli, Pina Menichelli & Francesca Bertini

Goregirl’s Dungeon | Anna Karina in the films of Jean-Luc Godard

Mind of LeVine | Carole Lombard

Century Film Project | Mabel Normand

Nitrate Glow | Hilda of Horus: Prince of the Sun

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood | Bette Davis

MovieFanFare | Olive Thomas in The Flapper

Caftan Woman | The Making of an Anti-Damsel: Deborah Kerr as Cathy Wilson in Perfect Strangers (1945)

Margaret Perry | Katharine Hepburn as Anti-Damsel

Sacred Celluloid | The Vampire Lovers (1970)

Girls Do Film | June Mathis

Silent-ology | Unsung Ladies of Keystone: Polly Moran, Minta Durfee and Louise Fazenda

That Classic Movie Life | Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) in Now, Voyager

Classic Reel Girl | Alison Drake (Ruth Chatterton) in Female

Defiant Success | Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity

Vitaphone Dreamer | Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers in Stage Door

The Wonderful World of Cinema | Lola Delaney (Shirley Booth) in Come Back Little Sheba

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies | Frances Marion

Carole & Co. | Carole Lombard as producer and feminist

Karavansara | Emma Peel in The Avengers

Heather Drain | Marni Castle as Big Shim in She Mob

wolffian classic movies digest | Joan Crawford as Mildred Pierce

Smitten Kitten Vintage | Clara Bow, Mary Pickford and Bette Davis as Margo in All About Eve

Silents, Please! | Asta Nielsen

Outspoken and Freckled | Mary Pickford in Sparrows (1926)

Mother Time Musings | Olivia de Havilland in The Heiress

Film Dirt | Phyllis Gordon in The Werewolf (1913)

Ross’s ramblings | Theda Bara

Superfluous Film Commentary | Gene Tierney in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir










124 Replies to “ANNOUNCEMENT: The Anti-Damsel Blogathon”

  1. Oh wow, this one should be right up my alley… sort of. Considering my unusually large number of posts on gender-related issues in film (I just posted one about women in law enforcement yesterday: it would be hypocritical of me not to take part in something like this. The tricky thing is I’m not sure what sort of topic to go for at the moment.

  2. Okay this may seem a little off the wall, but I’ve been thinking about Margaret Dumont lately… how she held her own against the Marx Brothers, and how Groucho always insisted, WRONGLY, that she was so good because she didn’t get the joke. Which makes me crazy. I would love to write about her and put that nasty bit of business to bed once and for all!! Would that work?

    1. I just saw “DUCK SOUP” for the first time ( I know! I know! ) on Sunday nite, and instantly fell for Margaret Dumont. I waxed on about how she is the Ethel Barrymore of Comedy. Can’t wait to read your write-up Sister Celluloid. #FIRSTTIMEINFREEDONIA!

      1. I can’t wait to write it!! BTW I was thinking of you when I was writing Stage Fright for Fritzi’s last blogathon… I am determined to convert you!! πŸ™‚

  3. This definitely sounds like something I’ll want to participate in, but, as usual, I’ll need a little time to confirm which movies I can get access to by the date. I do have some fun ideas, though, for strong women in early film. I’ll contact you soon!

  4. Frizi, We of Team Bartilucci would love to blog about one of our favorates, Charade,if you’d let us! If not, we would be glad to blog you prefer! Please let us know! πŸ˜€

  5. I need to write about this topic: Katharine Hepburn as Tess Harding (aka the woman I want to be) in Woman of the Year. Please!
    Le from Critica Retro (

  6. Hi, this is Dan from The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog. I’d like to write a post on Frieda Inescort’s character in “The Return of the Vampire”….she plays a kind of female Van Helsing.

  7. I keep telling myself I should take a break from blogathons, and you guys keep coming up with irresistible topic!

    I would love to write about the very anti-damsel Barbara Stanwyck as Vance Jeffords in The Furies.

  8. I’d love to join in! I’d like to write about Linda Darnell in the 1950 social issues/noir film No Way Out with Sidney Poitier and Richard Widmark. We watch Darnell’s character Edie go through significant changes, from selfish racist to self-aware humanist. She is neither femme fatale nor naive ingenue, and I think she fits this blogathon well.

  9. Oh my goodness, there are too many choices. The torture! I think I’ll have to go with Gambit, which features a great Shirley MacLaine performance. My blog is Love Letters to Old Hollywood (

  10. I would love to participate in this blogathon. I have to let you know that I have not been well for many months, and it is possible I will not be able to do what I definitely want to do. However, I am better, and I will let you know in plenty of time if I cannot get the job done, if that’s OK. I would love to write about one of my favorite empowered women, Barbara Stanwyck in “Night Nurse.” Great pre-code. Can I sign up?

    1. Hi there Becky. Sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well. Yes, I will put you down for Night Nurse. We have other Stanwyck titles in the works so its no problem signing you up for this. Best wishes for your good health. πŸ™‚

  11. Fritzie, I think you should review Nell Shipman in BACK TO GOD’S COUNTRY (1919) as she fits the anti-damsel blog perfectly, both on camera and behind the scenes. The movie has a special place in my heart as I’m Canadian and it was the most successful silent film ever made by Canadians. It’s available on Youtube.

  12. August might be a busy month for me, but I can’t resist this blogathon. I’ve been doing some thinking today about what to do in the way of empowered women. I have so many things in mind, but one person I would like to do, though I’m not sure if it will fit with the term empowered women. I would love to write about Bette Davis. Would Bette work?

  13. Hey there, Fritzi. While I’ve read about her, I’ve yet to see a film starring silent actress Olive Thomas, so please put me down for an 8/15 review of her comedy The Flapper. Thanks, and best of luck with this very promising blogathon.

  14. May I write something about Katharine Hepburn? I may just write a general “KH as anti-damsel” essay, or maybe pick a particular film. May I be more specific later?

  15. Love this blogathon idea Fritzi! Please could I write about June Mathis – probably an overview of her career and achievements with a spotlight on a couple of films (depends what I can get my hands on!)

  16. Could I write about “The Vampire Lovers” (1970)? It’s a unique Hammer horror film and the first to feature the female vampire Carmilla Karnstein. The movie is also a good starting point to discuss women in horror films in general.

    My blog’s web address is

  17. Hi there! I’ve have some special plans for my blog in August, and will be covering three ladies of the Keystone Film Company in one article–Polly Moran, Minta Durfee and Louise Fazenda. Would a “Unsung Ladies of Keystone” post be a nice fit?

  18. Hi!

    Is this event “invitation only”?

    Because I’m just getting my blog started, and I’m very interested in writing for this!

    I’d like to write about Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) in Now, Voyager, if that fits the “assignment.”


    1. Hi there! The event is open to anyone with a blog and we are glad to have you. Now, Voyager is just fine. What is your blog’s web address, please?

  19. Impressive list! Can’t wait to read about all these strong women. I’d like to add Ruth Chatterton’s character, Alison Drake, from FEMALE (1933) to the list. I’m at

  20. Hi there! Can I go for Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers in “Stage Door” (1937)? If I need to choose one character, I can do that, but that film is such a wonderful ensemble story, it’s tempting to do more than one character!

  21. Looks as if someone beat me to the punch on a Carole Lombard-related entry, at least on “My Man Godfrey.” If still possible, I’d like to write about Carole was an anti-damsel in both a business and personal sense; she was a de facto producer of several of her later films, and in many fan magazine stories she expressed her feminist leanings.

    1. A participant is already covering Carole Lombard’s biography but I think focusing on her business savvy, producer role and feminism would be different enough to work nicely for the event. πŸ™‚

      1. The only Lombard-related post I see here now pertained to “My Man Godfrey”; I recall seeing another earlier, but it’s apparently disappeared, and I wanted to contact her to make certain we don’t duplicate topics. Do you know what happened to it?

      2. The participant who had mentioned My Man Godfrey changed her mind and is covering another topic. I will be updating the roster very soon so keep your eyes peeled. πŸ™‚

      3. Mind of LeVine is covering Carole Lombard in general but as you mentioned covering her role as producer and feminist, I felt comfortable approving your topic. Hope this helps!

  22. If she has not been taken yet, I would like to do Mary Pickford and Clara Bow for real people, and for reel people I would like to do Margo Channing in “All About Eve”. Thank you!!

  23. I’d love to participate! I have a heavy schedule at the moment so can you put me down as a tentative. I will try to write something about Asta Nielsen. πŸ™‚

    1. My apologies, I have to pull out. I confused myself on the date, and I’m also just about to go out of town. I will definitely participate next time! Sorry again πŸ™

  24. Hi! Can I join too or is it too late? I’d like to talk about Olivia de Havilland in The Heiress for the Anti-Damsel Blogathon, if that’s possible. You mentioned that we should specify what date we prefer to post. I would prefer to post on Saturday, August 15, if that’s OK.

    My blog is Mother Time Musings (on my author website):

    Thank you and looking forward to it!


  25. Sorry, that’s –leaving off the “blog” part leads to someone’s invitation-only blog. (So mysterious! I wonder what’s there?)

      1. Okay, I’ve never done a blogathon before, so I’m not sure how this works. However, the instructions above say to “send us a link at or before the event,” so here goes:

        There are a couple of sentences toward the end that I borrowed from a post I wrote previously on the same blog, but far and away it’s brand new written just for this. I had a lot of fun writing it, and if I finally get a reader beyond my wife and an occasional friend or two, it will be icing on the cake! Wish I could figure out why I don’t seem to be able to enable comments on my entries, but, oh well.

      2. Thanks very much! I will pass your link on to Jo, who is hosting the first day. If you could link back to her event page when she posts on Saturday (something like “This was my contribution to the Anti-Damsel Blogathon. Read more posts here.”) it would be very much appreciated. This is all about getting everyone as much traffic and exposure as possible. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have more blogathon questions.

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