This essay has gone through several versions, originating as a paper entitled "The Strange Career of Scarlett O'Hara. I am grateful to my colleagues at Alfred University for their advice, to Gary L. Harmon, and to the readers at Images for their contributions toward the present form.

Note 1: American Visions: The History of American Art and Architecture, volume 8: The Age of Anxiety. PBS HomeVideo, 1996. BACK |

Note 2: Robert Wilson, ed., The Film Criticism of Otis Ferguson (Philadelphia, 1971), 297-298. BACK |

Note 3: Helen Taylor, Scarlett's Women: Gone With the Wind and Its Female Fans (New Brunswick, 1989), 106; Anne Jones, "'The Bad Little Girl of the Good Old Days': Gender, Sex, and the Southern Social Order," in Darden Asbury Pyron, ed. Recasting: Gone With the Wind in American Culture (Miami, 1983), 107. BACK |

Note 4: These relationships in the novel are also noted in Charles Rowan. "Gone With the Wind, and Good Riddance," Southwest Review, vol. 78, no. 3 (1993), 377, e.g. (published two years after my original draft was written), and discussed in Freudian terms in Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Elizabeth. "Scarlett O'Hara: The Southern Lady as New Woman." American Quarterly, 33 (Fall, 1981), especially 405-406. BACK |

Note 5: A broader and relevant discussion of male types in film is the chapter, "Who's a Sissy?" in Vito Russo, The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies, rev. ed. (New York, 1987), 3-59. BACK |

Note 6: Interestingly, Anne Edwards noted that a possible model for Ashley in Margaret Mitchell's life, Clifford Henry, may have had "homosexual tendencies." Anne Edwards, Road to Tara: The Life of Margaret Mitchell (New York, 1983), 54. BACK |

Note 7: Theodore Roszak, "The Hard and the Soft: The Force of Feminism in Modern Times," in Betty Roszak and Theodore Roszak, eds., Masculine/Feminine" Readings in Sexual Mythology and the Liberation of Women (New York, 1969), 94. BACK |

Note 8: Taylor, Scarlett's Women, 109-139. BACK |

Note 9: The results of this mythology are very much apparent in the seeming epidemics of date rape and domestic violence which, like the film, demand a more sophisticated approach to understanding heterosexual dynamics than simply attempting to fix blame. Scarlett's ambivalent reactions to Rhett's aggression are all too believable, though still objectionable from a feminist standpoint; that she might even think she had to be forced into sex or generally dominated by a man is part of the overall tension here and accurately reflects attitudes consistent with her time, class, and religion (that" virtue" and sexual desire were mutually exclusive, for example). My reading, of this scene and the issue, has been influenced in particular by the view summarized by Dianne F. Herman, "The Rape Culture," in Jo Freeman, ed., Women: A Feminist Perspective. 4th ed. (Mountain View, CA,1989), 20-44 (and see her sources also, especially Brownmiller). It parallels that of Ellen Willis, "'War!' Said Scarlett. 'Don't You Men Think About Anything Important?'" in Philip Nobile, ed., Favorite Movies: Critics' Choice (New York, 1973), 194, and those cited by Taylor, Scarlett's Women, 131-132; see also Taylor, 129-137, for her correspondents' reactions, and Molly Haskell, From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies (New York, 1973), 166-167. BACK |

Note 10: My focus on gender has superceded an extended race/class analysis, but I am not suggesting that race and class are unimportant categories in the film, particularly as they could be applied to Scarlett's relationships to Mammy and Prissy as well as to the African American males and lower-class Euroamericans around her. Certainly the racism and classism of the film's perspective--not just that depicted in it from Scarlett's era--have been legitimate sources of objection and critical opposition, and part of the general ambivalence toward the film that I believe merely adds to its notoriety. BACK |

Note 11: Edwards, Road, 54, 72. BACK |

Note 12: Fox-Genovese, "Scarlett O'Hara," 400, 408. BACK |

Note 13: Fox-Genovese, "Scarlett O'Hara," passim; Edwards, Road, 72-73. BACK |

Note 14: Christina Simmons, "Companionate Marriage and the Lesbian Threat," Frontiers, vol. 4, no. 3, p. 58, and see her notes. The latter failure, incidentally, is attributed to Mitchell by Edwards in Road, 117. BACK |

Note 15: I have scratched only the surface of the topic of gender and sexuality and of the ongoing debate in queer theory over "social constructionism" vs. "essentialism." See Vicki L. Eaklor, "Learning from History: A Queer Problem," Journal of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Identity, Vol. 3, No. 3 (July, 1998), 196-197, for a brief explanation, and the list of Additional Sources: Secondary, for broader treatments. BACK |

Note 16: Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform. New York, 1955), 23-59. BACK |

Note 17: The connection between Scarlett's independence as a male attribute and hostility toward her character was noted also by Beye, "Good Riddance," 373, 378, 380; Stephen Hunter, "Burn Tara, Burn! 'Gone With the Wind': Can We Talk Frankly?" Washington Post, June 28, 1998, G01; and Andrew Sarris, "Frankly, My Dear, We Do Give a Damn," The Village Voice, November 29, 1976, 11 (she "is never really forgiven in the movie for presuming to act like a man"). Interestingly both Hunter and Sarris see the film, not its audiences, as misogynous. In Hunter's review, this was but one of six reasons that GWTW "isn't very good" even among films of 1939--a rare completely negative treatment. BACK |

Note 18: This transition is noted also by Fox-Genovese, "Scarlett O'Hara," 396-398. BACK |

Note 19: The popular and critical attention given Ken Burns' PBS documentary, The Civil War, especially in 1990-1991, is but one example of the war's continuing importance to our national mentality. BACK |

Note 20: Gendered overtones appear in the two-films-in-one analysis (war story vs. love story) represented, for example, by reviews of Franz Hoellering and Time, especially in terms used to describe the "second" film the story which, said Time, . . . "could be read in any confession magazine" ("Cinema" 32). Similarly, William Bayer described GWTW as "a picture that is a masterpiece of mass entertainment and decidedly not a work of art," and used such terms as "King Corn--King of Soap Opera, King of Schlock," "wallowing sentimentality," and "impossible romantic fiction" throughout his discussion (232). What is noteworthy is not just the suspicion of popularity generally among many critics (if it's popular, it can't be art), but especially the use of terms commonly associated with women and so-called female genres. See Works Cited for full citations. BACK |

Note 21: Jones, "Bad Little Girl," 115; Fox-Genovese, "Scarlett O'Hara," 397, e.g.s. BACK |

Note 22: The concept of a "male gaze," has been discussed in feminist art and film theory since the mid-1970s and refers to the predominantly male perspective that has informed visual productions. See Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." Screen, 16 (1975), 6-18; and Ann E. Kaplan, Women & Film: Both Sides of the Camera. New York, 1983. BACK |