The Giant Feminist

The Giant Feminist
November 5, 2013 Puria Keshmiri

Nearly 60 years ago in MGM’s Giant, Elizabeth Taylor portrayed a beautiful feminist who was sharply critical of male hierarchies and sarcastically dismissive of misogynist condescension. Not unlike the real Elizabeth Taylor, her character, Leslie Lynnton was a social reformer intent on securing equal treatment for Mexican-Americans—who are viewed with disdain in the film.

This piece in The Atlantic provides an excellent analysis of the film character and the noteworthy similarities in the character of Elizabeth Taylor. Directors, especially in the first 20 years of her career, always remarked on how unpretentious she was, how respectful of everyone on the set and how caring. Her reforming instincts, were triggered by the 1985 death of her leading man in Giant (and good friend) Rock Hudson from an AIDS-related illness, which fueled her resolve to become a champion for those afflicted with this disease at a time when that was hardly popular and to found The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

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