Sue Harper argued that it was crucial to historicise the way in which women appeared in film texts, and that the very notion of reprentation was problemmatical, since it carried within in the idea of mimesis – that art should present the world in a realistic way. Instead, we should be thinking about the codes and discourses which are used to portray
women. It is important to avoid a conspiratorial view of culture as a sort of repressive monolith, but instead to establish where there are gaps or interstices in visual and artistic codes where less conventional sorts of images can emerge.
It is also important to distinguish between the way women appear in cultural texts, and the input which women artists make. These are two separate histories and need different methodologies. We must not conflate feminine with feminist, in terms of female input, but instead look at the period when women artists could flourish in film production, and ask ourselves why that was possible in some periods and not in others.