Alma Taylor, Mary Pickford, and Girlhood in Early British and Hollywood Cinema

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter uses Mary Pickford and Alma Taylor as a site on which to explore the
discursive history of the girl-child onscreen and the changing role of women in Britain and the United States in the early part of the twentieth century. Building on the work of Gaylyn Studler, who positions Pickford as a child-woman, ambiguously inscribed with the characteristics of both and reflective of the Victorian anxiety toward new- womanhood and the adolescent girl, this chapter suggests that Pickford’s and Taylor’s tomboyish performances serve a similar function. This tomboyism, absorbs, reflects, and reframes a range of desires and discourses through a figure culturally associated with maturation and
growth. Consequently, this chapter argues that the figure of the tomboy is an important representational apparatus through which early cinema works to ameliorate fears around the changing position of the girl and provides an important transnational link between two of cinema’s first stars.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Children's Film
EditorsNoel Brown
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780190939380
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2022


  • children
  • Film


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