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Feminism and Race April 29, 2007

Posted by Melissa in 9 to 5, betrayal, competing feminism, female relationships, feminism, gender, race, Set it off.
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With the exception of a few films, the movies we’ve seen exacting the “female revenge narrative” have all been dominated by white women. Though the lack of women of color in this genera of films may speak to a larger societal context, I want to look at the influence of the feminist movement on minority communities as expressed through film. Last semester, I worked on a research project delving into the world of the Chicana Movement, which came about at the tail end of the mass Chicano Movement. I was shocked by what many of the women and scholars of the movement had to say with regards to the larger feminist movement that was beginning to rise in the late 1960’s. I was stunned by the overwhelming reaction against the feminist movement. Largely seen as a white woman’s battle, Chicanas in the mid 20th century viewed themselves in direct opposition to the larger women’s rights campaign. Unlike their white counterparts, the Chicanas were faced with larger societal inequalities because of their race. Though I have not studied the gender dynamics in the Black community, I can not imagine it being very different than those within the Chicano community. Women of color faced, and to some extent still do, a double oppression and as such can not be so fast to damn society because of their sex. The question that comes to mind with observation, is whether being a woman or being Chicana is most important. (more…)

Women and Crime April 1, 2007

Posted by Wasik in 9 to 5, general considerations, Set it off, Thelma and Louise.
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When watching Set It Off, I couldn’t help but see the comparisons to 9 to 5 and Thelma and Louise. Although this movie was made a lot more complex with its problematic class and racial themes, I think that the story of women turning to crime to solve their problems/gain revenge against the men who have wronged them because they have no other way out is similar in all three cases.

However, the women in Set It Off seemed to have much more agency than (more…)

Women & the Law March 14, 2007

Posted by kelly in 9 to 5, Thelma and Louise, wild things.
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Thinking about a lot of the films we’ve watched recently, it seems that many of the women who feel failed by the law decide to take it into their own hands. As someone pointed out in class, Louise shot a man not out of self defense, but out of rage and frustration with his actions and words. She knew that he would never be prosecuted for his treatment of women, and so she decided to carry out her own “brand of justice.” After realizing that the law will never protect them, Thelma and Louise embark on a mini-spree of other crimes including blowing up a fuel truck after its driver makes distasteful comments to them. While these actions are extreme, we cheer the women on because we believe these men deserve it. But do we truly believe that these women should be allowed to live above the law?

In “9-5,” the three main characters are not necessarily failed by the law, but the system. Dolly Parton has to endure the sexual harassment of her boss, who can be compared to Harlan of “Thelma and Louise,” while Violet is constantly overlooked because of her sex. Once again, although it happens (more…)

who doesn’t love Dolly Parton? March 5, 2007

Posted by Wasik in 9 to 5, bodies, Uncategorized.
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There were two things that struck me about Nine to Five. First, many elements that the film uses for comedic value are actually a bit problematic. One of the main characters fantasizes about dressing like a cowgirl and shooting her boss. The image of her wielding a gun and shooting her boss while he is curled up (in a very feminine way) on the toilet seat is supposed to be funny—there isn’t any real power in the image. The way that Dolly Parton imagines she will deal with her boss is even more ridiculous to the viewer—switching roles with him, she sexually harasses him by asking him to wear tighter pants to emphasize his package and calls him “hot stuff”. However, again, her words cannot be taken seriously. The idea of Dolly Parton forcing herself upon her male secretary, or even using terms that objectify him, is hilarious but not dangerous. Later, the fantasies of the three women accidentally become reality; once enacted, their ideas are carried through in an intelligent way, but the fact that the women’s power over their boss is the main comedic basis for the movie is still a bit questionable.

On a second, and completely unrelated, note, the clothing of the women in the film (and their general physical appearance) seems to directly determine how they are treated by others. What I found especially striking was the contrast between Dolly Parton’s and the new girl’s necklines. While Dolly Parton wears low-cut shirts that provoke unwanted attention from her boss (and make the other women in the office resent her), the new girl consistently wears shirts with extremely high necklines. Most of the time she emphasizes her ‘good girl’ persona even further with large bows or standoffish frills covering her neck as well as chest. Since most of the other women in the office fall somewhere in the middle of the Dolly-new girl neckline spectrum, I think that the necklines of those two women are intentionally meant to be revealing of their personalities—again, I find this a bit questionable.