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Balanced life?? April 29, 2007

Posted by jenniferlewk in alias, jennifer garner, motherhood.

Motherhood and the corporate world are two themes that have been discussed recently on the blog…how fitting that we are watching Alias for Tuesday.

There is nothing soft about Jennifer Garner. While the scenes we watched are pre-Afflect and pre-baby Violet, I still could watch the episodes without ever registering that Jennifer Garner is, in fact a mother. I was refreshed by this observation, because usually, a women’s profession and her decision to have a baby are usually at odds. For me (even though I am all for “having it all”) there is always some little part in my mind that reminds me of the actress or actor’s status (no, you can’t have Brad, he’s married. Or wow, Angelina looks disgustingly amazing after her baby was born). After hunting around on the web, I couldn’t find much angst about Gardner’s decision to take time off after having a baby, which surprised me. In Hollywood, it seems as though one is a mother or a high-profile actress, but usually not both. Suddenly, it all made sense. Jennifer Garner took a measly 3 months off after having her baby. No wonder no one got huffy. Although there were some complaints about Gardner’s not performing at 100 % and not being able to do stunts like she used to, the articles were largely complimentary. The other minor complaint was her inability to lose the baby weight fast enough. Like any other Hollywood star, Garner simply got a trainer, cut out the carbs, and got back to normal with seemingly little drama. Beautiful baby, husband, house, and career. It seems as though Garner has it all, or her publicists make it appear as though she has it all.

The scenes we watched, however, don’t fit into this mold. Garner’s life revolves around men: her boyfriend’s death, her best friend’s unrequited love, her father’s duplicity or lack there of–Garner even says in the first episode, “I’d always hoped to find someone who could give my life meaning. That person is you. I just met the agency first.” Some other quotes stood out for me as well. The torturer tells her, “Who do you work for, you pretty little girl?” Not necessary. Garner also tells her CIA boss, “Forgive me for being forthright or female, but this is how it’s gonna be.” I don’t know why, but I think i just expected Alias to be above these lines. Or, does showing them actually push the cause of “girlpower” forward? After thinking about it for a bit, I think that these lines humanize her, putting her in a reality that she normally wouldn’t belong in (thus showing that even a super, kick ass woman has been socialized to think that she must chose between a job and a man and must apologize for her attitude while dealing with chauvinistic pigs like the torturer). I can’t decide and would love to hear your thoughts.


1. sindhub - May 5, 2007

I just want to point out that over the course of the series, we’re introduced to a female archnemesis (played by Gina Torres) that Sydney’s life can be said to revolve around, Syndey’s half-sister that she’s very concerned with, and Syndey’s mother (played by Lena Olin), who I would argue is the parent that the series really revolves around.

Also, I think the “who do you work for, pretty girl?” line was not intended to have the viewers see her in a denigrating way. I think it was supposed to show that the ‘dentist’ looked down on her, and the fact that it was immediately followed by her kicking his ass showed how much he underestimated her, and it is supposed to validate ‘girl power’ feelings among the audience since it emasculates this sexist man so much (compounded by the fact that he’s Asian).

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