Book Spotlight: Nobody’s Girl Friday

Nobody’s Girl Friday: The Women Who Ran Hollywood

By J.E. Smyth MN ’99

According to Bette Davis, “women owned Hollywood for twenty years.”

In her new book J.E. Smyth explores this time, between 1930 and 1950, when the film industry was more than 40% female. From well-known influencers like Davis, the “Fourth Warner Brother,” to lesser-known women like Mary McCall, head of the Screen Writers Guild, the book offers a look into the ways women fought for equal rights and pay increases and shaped the style and roles of the era.

Dr. Smyth disputes the notion that American feminism and the role of women in Hollywood declined during this time, painting a more complete picture of the power women held in the industry.

“Though this diligently researched book has obviously been in the works for some time,” says CINEASTE magazine. “Its release is perfectly timed with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which have made unignorable the way women have for decades been systematically underpaid, excluded from positions of influence, and subjected to sexual harassment in Hollywood.”

Dr. Smyth is a professor in the school of comparative American studies at the University of Warwick.


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