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Where Are My Children

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In class today, I was very pleased to expose another classroom of students to the amazing film Where Are My Children, from 1916. This pro-birth control, anti-abortion film (the two issues are connected through the lovely topic of eugenic marriages) is basically amazing, filled with all sorts of commentary about sexuality and women in the 1910s. From the acting (not only the crazy dramatic posing of the silent film but Tyrone Power–Senior!!!) to the ways that hats are used to signify the selfish frivolity of middle class women who use illegal abortion as birth control rather than breed at their husband’s will to the entire set of scenes where the wife’s brother seduces the housekeeper’s daughter, gets her pregnant, and then she dies in a botched abortion to the insane domestic violence in the slums scene, this is one jaw-dropping 65 minutes of silent film. I have been a loud advocate of this film for years. And it is available on YouTube and you should watch it. Because it makes me happy with Progressive Era weirdness.

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