By M.G. Lord
Bloomsbury Press, $22.00, 212 pages

Elizabeth Taylor was a child star, Oscar winner and cultural icon. She was famous as much for her personal life as for her films, and she had a profound effect on the public consciousness. M.G. Lord takes a look at the life and work of Elizabeth Taylor; using a feminist approach, finding the messages, whether covert or subtle, in Taylor’s life on screen and off, in her acting choices and humanitarian work, in the public eye and at home. Strong and defiant, Taylor lived and loved fiercely, fighting for what she believed in and those whom she loved. Her films address equality, sexuality, abortion and corruption and there are lessons to be found in all of them.

Sometimes the messages are obvious. Taylor played characters struggling for equality, independence and respect, starting with Velvet Brown in National Velvet. Sometimes the messages are only intimated. Lord’s observations shape themselves into interesting theories, but saying that something may have been intentionally feminist keeps those theories in the realm of speculation. Yet there are some fascinating stories in The Accidental Feminist; anecdotes that show the character of the strong woman behind the icon and how she influenced the world.

Reviewed by Leah Sims