Boys N The Hood Essay, Research Paper
Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better
All right, I’ll go ahead and admit it… I am back on my kick about how women are depicted in film. I can’t help it, the more movies I watch the more obvious the signs of stereotyping are to me. In the film Boyz n The Hood, we are introduced to some not so traditional female roles, but the overall message is still the same, women are not quite as good as men.
As I read Michael Dyson’s article, Between Apocalypse and Redemption: John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood, I found a wonderful point at which to start my tirade. First things first, Boyz N the Hood is one of my all time favorite movies. It shows a side of life that most caucasian individuals have never, and will never experience, but is universal enough in it’s appeal, that no one ethnic group feels excluded. The lessons of pain and suffering have such a broad appeal that even the most sheltered individual can benefit from this movie ( as long as they can get past the violence .)
What I found interesting about this film was the way in which women were portrayed. You have your beautiful, strong, and successful, black female, Reva, and Brenda, the poor black woman who was dealt all the bad hands in life. Each of these women possess noticeably different personalities, but neither one is portrayed as successful in handling the everyday business of raising a family.
Dyson’s article describes Boyz N the Hood to the T! As I sat reading the article I was engrossed in many of the topics that he brought out. I read through (and enjoyed) as he talked about black males struggle due to the lack of a male role model and his perspective on how people make the choices they do. The part that struck my attention the most, however, was when he talked about the interactions between mother and sons and father and sons.
This is where it gets a little bit touchy for me. Lawrence Fishburn is throughout the movie portrayed as provider and care giver to Tre. His mother loved him, but the fact of the matter remained, she just couldn’t handle him. Although Reva is given her scene while she and Furious are having dinner in a posh restaurant, she is still only a inferior figure in Tre’s life. What she couldn’t accomplish, Furious succeeds in doing in the end.
I can go on and on about this scenario for hours, but I would like to take some time to discuss Brenda. Brenda is a very interesting character. She has managed to raise one seemingly successful young man (Ricky), but totally shuns her other son (Doughboy) leaving him to whatever fate may come his way. Her unsympathetic attitude toward Doughboy would cause any mother to shutter. To tell you the truth when I first saw this movie I was still in high-school. The insincere way in which Brenda acts toward Doughboy seemed to be a bit on the abrasive side, but nothing too bad. Now that I am a mother, it hits me in a totally different way. I see Brenda as extremely selfish and uncaring. My heart actually goes out to Doughboy. How could a mother possibly love one and not the other? So now we have the two mothers of the three main characters portrayed with obvious signs of problems. One who seems to enjoy living her own lifestyle rather than helping her son adjust to his, and another who only seems to care about the son who is going t make it.
Boyz N the Hood shows us that two women with two very different degrees of success, and two varying lifestyles can’t seem to succeed in bringing up a well adjusted black man. That is the thing that gets to me. Furious is the only parent who succeeds. Tre turns away from the violence. While Doughboy chooses to go ahead and avenge his brother’s death, which in his mind is the only right thing to do. Of the three Tre is the only one to make it out of the “Hood.”
This brings me back to my original point about stereotypes. Women are always portrayed as inferior to men, even at things that women are supposed to be better at. Being a caring and protective parent is supposed to be natural to women. Women have been forced to raise children on their own for years, but let a man do it and society wants to give him a prize. As I said earlier, Reva does get her say about the matter and was very clear in getting her point across to Furious. However, in the end when Tre makes the right choice (not to kill) it relates back to what his father taught him, not what his mother taught him. In the end it was his father who taught him to be a man. Brenda’s boys both ended up dead in the streets, never being able to escape from the “Hood.” Though Boyz N the Hood, does manage to take women out of their usual roles as helpless victims, they are still in the end “one-upped” by the men almost as if to say, “anything you can do I can do better!”