Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Woman: Old vs. New

The film Flashdance which was released in 1983, is a story of a girl who works as a welder in a steel mine during the day and exercises her love of dance at a local bar in the evenings. She wants to audition to become a professional dance but cannot as she does not have any qualifications. She soon meets a man who she fals in love with, and who also happens to manipulate people into giving the girl an audition. At the end of the film the girl goes for the audition but it is never revealed if she gets the job or not.
Although at first the film can be seen to represent the working 'grafters' of America (this film can be likened to Ragged Dick and the essence of the American Dream), and moreover the new evolution of the working American WOMAN, the emphasis of the woman succeeding is soon lost to the plot of a love story. What is also noteworthy is that it is the man that gets the auduition for the woman, not her getting it for herself - something which all femininists, if not at least womean striving to be independent do not want to see portrayed as reality. The film seems to portray the woman not as a successful gender, even if at least as successful as men are portrayed to be, but simply as a woo-man, a gender that 'woos' the man, and then in turn acquires what she wants. 'She' is not conveyed as being able to achieve something on her own, without the help of 'he'. Furthermore with her low-paid job the woman here does seem to be portrayed as the 'underdog'. Although the film was highly popular, it still conforms to what was seemingly the norms of the 1980s, that women at least needed the help of a man to achieve and move up the socioeconomic ladder - something many females were fighting against.

Contrastingly it seems that in the 21st century on the supposed 'Post-Feminist Era' women have achieved so much during the years feminism was at its peak that women now want to revert back to being at home ... or at least fantasize about the idyllic circumstances in which this could occur. This is conveyed in the recent American comedy-drama Desperate Housewives. In the series the housewives largely do not work but instead stay at home and look after the children. They are shown as ha[ppy, apart from trvial matters which the women keep themselves occupied with whilst their husbands are at work. When then women are seen to undertake work they are seen to be unhappy and/or stessed. The show portrays that after all the hard work the women's movement has put into gaining equal rights a s men, all they wnat to actually do is stay at home. Was it merely the principle of equality the women previously campaigned for? Or is it that the show is such a success (now broadcasted in England, UK), because it is ultimatey amyth that women wish were true. In reality the home is not as serene and glamorous as what is conveyed on the television series.
In addition feminine role models of today have become more glamorized to the extent that it is almost an unwritten rule. But how far is this the representation of feminist views, and essentially women being treated the same as men? - many may argue that feminist icons of the past were not glamorized, and purposefully so. Now women have (at least) superficially gained equality when compared to men, are they now striving for this ethos to continue or are they scared of offending the opposite sex becuase of all this gained equality, that they are glamorizing themselves in an attempt to bring back the 'offended'/'threatened' male to their 'side'? - hence why modern contemporary female role models usually ooze sex appeal. Are women still fundamentally being controlled by men?

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