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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.

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 Druglords and Gangs, oh my! April 21, 2007

Posted by lindamc in drugs, Female Power, feminism, gender, in the news, new york times, Set it off, women in gangs.
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In the NY times today, there was an interesting article about the increase of women in high power positions in Mexico drug gangs. The article discusses how there has been an increase in deaths of women in high gang positions, and how those women have “transfered” themselves from the police in order to make more money. The women were successful because they attracted more attractive female workers who got by checkers and because they are good buisness managers. Talking to experts, the article reports that the reasons for this shift is because of a rise in poverty and women are joining to get themselves and their children out of the gutter.  Another expert theorizes that this rise will decrease the violence of the industry and make it more buisness-like.

I found it very interesting that both of these experts gave such classically feminie identies to these women who are joining drug lords. They gave them roles as mothers, and practical caretakers, who are non-violent and sensible. When I first heard of these cops turned druglord women, I did not picture a stuggling mother who would soften the life of a drug smuggler, I pictured more of a rough and tumble women like Queen Laifah (Cleo) in Set it off or other more angry and agressive women. It was interesting to me that the article painted women as possibly improving the drug smuggling buisness, when the article also says they are getting killed off more and more frequently. Either this means that many more women are entering the buisness and the number of deaths is the same per capita, or it is saying that women are not really doing well in the buisness, as they are getting caught by other gangs and killed.

I was just wondering if anyone else had any opinions on how the Times drew this article, or on your own reaction to the women, and what that says about our culture, that I automatically picture a certain kind of women selling drugs, and don’t buy the NY Time’s picture of attractive mothers who are less violent? I wonder too, what women in the US are like in gangs?

Why does there always have to be a boyfriend? April 11, 2007

Posted by kelly in bound, female relationships, G.I. Jane, Girlfight, La Femme Nikita, Set it off, Thelma and Louise, Tomb Raider 2.

I’ve noticed a pattern in the past few movies we’ve watched – every powerful woman has to have a love interest. In Working Girl, Thelma and Louise, La Femme Nikita, Tomb Raider 2, Set it Off, Bound, Girlfight, and G.I. Jane, there is a love interest for the main female character(s).

It seems like the boyfriends need to be there in order to assure the audience that these women aren’t as “hard” or unemotional as they seem to be. Underneath their tough exterior, they still fit perfectly into the heterosexual power dynamic where they are delicate and sensitive in the arms of men. (more…)

hood rats April 3, 2007

Posted by Melissa in class, Set it off.

I finished watching Set it off a few hours ago, and I am still bothered by the movie. Many things were troubling to me, but the most bothersome were 1) the condemnation of the black race by Keith, 2) the use of the token black female police officer, and 3) the transformation of Frankie from a respectable bank teller to a “ghetto thief.”
First, there is a scene in the film in which Keith states the problem with Stony and her feelings of being “caged” is a result of the lack of planning (more…)

Thelma and Louise and Set It Off April 3, 2007

Posted by ajaramillo in Set it off, Thelma and Louise.
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While watching Set it Off, I realized how much the influence of Thelma and Louise had on future films and the depiction of female protagonists. As women, Thelma and Louise were outside the sanctioned male power structure from the beginning. Even though Louise may have been justified in shooting Harlan, the law system was still weighted heavily against them because they were not male. Set it Off took this theme of women fighting against a unjust system and added a cast of black females from the inner-city, an underprivileged group that, apart from sexism, had to suffer from racism as well. Both films suggests that the women’s crimes are an understandable, if not justified, reaction of the disadvantaged groups for the dishonor and maltreatment still suffered at the hands of oppressive state and more privileged social groups – whites and males. Set it off and Thelma and Louise both star thieves and robbers that the audience ends up rooting (more…)

Why does Queen Latifah have to be gay? April 2, 2007

Posted by lindamc in Set it off.

In Set it off, Queen Latifah has a “break out performance” as a extremly masculine, violent, and very much outwardly lesbian “Cleo.” She is the only one of the three who is comfortable with the weapons, the violence, and often resuces the girls either by driving (she almost always drives the car) or by sacrificing herself for Stony and Frankie in the end. Her character is also very focused on two things: money and sex with women (two extremley masculine traits).  Is it true that in order for her to be all of these things (minus the sex with women thing): the violent leader who steps up to protect everyone, she had to be gay, something that automattically points her out as masculine, and therefore marks her as “the man” of the bunch. In few instances do Stony, Frankie, or TT save or provide for the group (minus when TT shoots Luther to save Cleo), thus (more…)

Maddy April 2, 2007

Posted by jenniferlewk in Princesses, race, Set it off.
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Set it Off made me think about a different angle of the scarcity of the female protagonist: the even rarer appearance of the minority female protagonist. From Snow White onward, girls far too infrequently are able to see a strong minority female on the screen. Hopefully, Disney’s new black princess, Maddy, will serve as the impetus for change. Maddy will be the princess in the upcoming film, The Frog Princess. As sales of Disney princess paraphernalia gross over 3 billion dollars yearly, the introduction of Maddy can have a huge positive social impact, unless of course Maddy merely enforces the status quo and embraces prevailing stereotypes concerning black women.



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…)