The And Moral Tragedy Of The Don ' Ts And Be Carefuls

1419 Words Dec 9th, 2014 6 Pages
When film was just taking off in the early 1900’s, a prominent and harmful set of guidelines was introduced by the Motion Picture Production Code. These industry censorship rules, entitled the “The Don 'ts and Be Carefuls," included restrictions ranging from not allowing a woman and man to be in a bed together, to forbidding the deliberate seduction of girls (Haynes, 2000). Unsurprisingly, the topic of abortion was severely stigmatized, and only to be depicted as a “personal and moral tragedy”. By 1956, the guideline was further altered: “the subject of abortion shall be discouraged, shall never be more than suggested, and when referred to shall be condemned. It must never be treated lightly, or made the subject of comedy. Abortion shall never be shown explicitly or by inference, and a story must not indicate that an abortion has been performed. The word ‘abortion’ shall not be used” (Haynes, 2000). In fact, films did not dare going against the strict abortion rules. For instance, in Clark Gable’s film, Men In White (1934), a woman gets impregnated after sleeping with a married doctor. At the end, the woman gets essentially punished during an illegal back-alley abortion, and dies on the operating table. Many critics at the time claimed her death was a “divine retribution of sexual transgressions” (IMDB, 2009). Her choice as a woman to go through with what was widely considered immoral, ultimately claimed her life.
Unfortunately, “Men in White” was not unique in addressing…

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