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“Softcore sexploitation movies of the 1960s and ‘70s tend to be recognized for their overwhelmingly heterosexual orientation, from the first ‘nudie-cuties’ in the early ‘60s to the teen sex comedies of the late ‘70s that closed out the cycle. But for many years they explored alternatives to normative heterosexuality. Sexploitation films offered up a parade of predatory lesbians, bewildered bisexuals, lonely sidewalk cowboys, and others living on society’s sexual margins. Using images and film clips from movies such as Suburbia Confidential (1966), She-Man (1967), All the Way Down (1968), Therese and Isabelle (1968), The Meatrack (1970) and others, this presentation will offer an overview of the ways sexploitation movies dealt with sexual minorities from the mid-1960s through the early 1970s—a time when mainstream Hollywood was only beginning to gingerly approach the theme. While often framing queer identities as pathological, some films offered surprisingly sympathetic portrayals of individuals who, at the time, were forced to suppress their sexuality or live their lives in the shadows.” (Eric Schaefer)
Eric Schaefer is Associate Professor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College in Boston. He is the author of numerous articles on exploitation films as well as the book “Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!”: A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959 (Duke University Press). He is currently completing Massacre of Pleasure: A History of Sexploitation Films, 1960-1979.