Panel Commemorates Carrie Fisher and the History of Women and the Moving Image


By Courtney Young

One of the highlights during the commemoration of Women’s History Month at Radford University was a panel on the history of women and the moving image organized by media production assistant professor, Michael Meindl.

The panel, dubbed ‘Reflecting on a Princess and a General – Carrie Fisher and the History of Women and the Moving Image’ was held on March 16.

The panel was sponsored by the School of Communication, Department of Theatre and Cinema, along with the Women and Gender Studies Program.

The panelists were professors Jim Collier, Molly Hood and Sean Kotz. Graduate student Jodie McKaughan was also on the panel.

Meindl, who served as moderator, asked the panelists a series of questions. A popular topic was how women have changed in the ‘moving image’ from the early times of silent films to box office hits today. Using Carrie Fisher and her famous mother Debbie Reynolds as a jumping off point, each panelist was given five to ten minutes to respond to questions.

“It was way more common for women to be writers, when Hollywood started making money, women were put into stereotypical roles,” Collier said on the topic.

Kotz contributed to the discussion, saying that: “Women in the 30s were in movies to look distressed, pretty and scream. Men were always the ones to solve the problem, but nothing can’t be solved without a feminist perspective.”

Meindl opened up topics to the audience for further discussion. Students who filled nearly every seat in Heth 014 were deeply involved in the panel.

The conversation touched on women in video games, women playing male roles in popular plays, and the overall change of women in the moving image.

Leaving the panel inspired, Kelsey Merchant, a senior, said that, “my biggest take away on the panel was how we view women in film. It gave me a whole new look on how women are portrayed in film, especially women in video games.” 

Apr 5, 2017
School of Communication