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French Sex Symbol Is Subject At Vermont College

January 23, 1985

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) _ A course on French sex symbol Brigitte Bardot, featuring eight of her films, is packing the classrooms at a small, private Vermont college.

About 175 Middlebury College students are viewing the movies, writing a short analysis of each and discussing ″popular culture, eroticism, aesthetics, voyeurism and misogyny,″ according to a course description.

″We have had classes of 100 or a little more, but nothing like this,″ said Claire Schub, an assistant professor of French who is teaching the class.

She thinks most of the students at the liberal arts school may have signed up for the four-week course out of curiosity.

″Most of them have heard of Brigitte Bardot, but hardly any have seen her movies. She was a sex symbol for their parents,″ said the 29-year-old instructor.

Ms. Schub said she chose Miss Bardot as a course subject because of an interest in women’s images in films and because she wanted to teach ″something different″ during the school’s brief winter term.

″It’s a fun class, but it is also very serious,″ she said. ″It’s interesting to look at the impact of a pop star.″

Some of the films shown during the course are ″And God Created Woman,″ ″Her Bridal Night,″ ″Helen of Troy″ and ″Crazy For Love.″ They were made between 1952 and 1968 and all are in French, with English sub-titles.

Students’ reactions to the films have been mixed.

″In one film we saw, she gets slapped in the face by a man. There were some sexist reactions. Some of the kids said she was asking for it, which I found interesting,″ Ms. Schub said.

Instead of a final examination, students have to write a paper defining Miss Bardot’s image and explaining what it says about women in society.

Parents’ reaction to the course was also mixed.

A few weren’t too pleased. One young man told Ms. Schub his parents made him drop the course.

Others said they wished the class had been taught when they were in school.

″It’s funny. Some were really jealous. You have to remember she was like a forbidden fruit to that generation,″ the teacher said.

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