The collision between feminism and film is part of a wider explosive meeting between feminism and patriarchal culture. Early on, the Women's Movement called attention to the political significance of culture; women's absence from creating dominant art and literature is an integral aspect of oppression. From this point, debates on politics and aesthetics acquired new life. It was (not exclusively, but to an important extent) feminism that gave a new urgency to the politics of culture, exemplified the contradictions inherent in a desire to build a counter-culture, and focused on connections between oppression and command of language. Largely excluded from creative traditions, largely exploited and subjected to patriarchal ideology within literature, popular arts and visual representation, women had to formulate a feminist opposition to sexism within culture, and come to terms with the extent to which traditional or dominant forms were inextricably associated with the exclusion of women from their creation. What would women's cultural practice be like? What would art and literature within an ideology that did not oppress women be like? Debate has swirled and spiralled around these questions: on the one hand, desire to explore the suppressed, the meaning of femininity, to assert a woman's language as a slap in the face for patriarchy; simultaneously a polemic and pleasure in self-discovery. On the other hand, a drive to forge an aesthetic that attacks language and representation not as naturally linked with male or female but rather as soaking up dominant ideology, as a sponge soaks up water.