The commercial success of Elinor Glyn's 1927 film It has obscured the fact that, throughout her career until this point, Glyn had promoted a significantly different sexual ideology. In a remarkable array of novels, plays, lectures, interviews, editorials, and advice manuals, Glyn had long promoted an idiosyncratic “philosophy of love.” This philosophy celebrated aristocratic manners, enhanced arousal through restricted physical contact, role plays of dominance and submission, and a eugenic progress through racial hybridity. She emphasized women's physical and emotional satisfaction and criticized the institution of marriage and the “cheapening” of sexual relations under commodity capitalism. Glyn's works entered the spirited debates on sexual comportment that took place during the 1910s and 1920s alongside the works of progressive activists such as Lois Weber and Marie Stopes. While in Hollywood, she exploited the new possibilities of mass media—films, paperbacks, newspapers, and magazines—to simultaneously promote herself and her sexual agenda. Furthermore, she used her films to eroticize cinematic structures of spectatorship.
Laura Horak; “Would you like to sin with Elinor Glyn?” Film as a Vehicle of Sensual Education. Camera Obscura 1 September 2010; 25 (2 (74)): 75–117. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-2010-003
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