In 1922, the General Assembly of Virginia created a motion-picture censorship board to regulate out of popular culture images its cultural arbiters ruled detrimental to state officials' attempts to modernize and "clean up" the image of Virginia. On-screen depictions of women's sexuality repeatedly fell prey to the board's "protectionist" ideology, by which censors argued that their work "protected" society's most vulnerable citizens. In reality, such an ideology served as an extension of state power to keep subjective, realistic portrayals of these already marginalized citizens out of popular culture in order to justify their continued status as "second-class" citizens within the state.

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Copyright © 2004 Cambridge Scholars Publishing. This book chapter first appeared in Film and Sexual Politics.

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