Women In Movies Essay, Research Paper
Women in Movies
Since the 1940?s, movies have predominately portrayed women as sex symbols. Beginning in the 1940?s and continuing though the 1980?s, women did not have major roles in movies. When they did have a leading role the women was either pretreated as unintelligent and beautiful, or as conniving and beautiful: But she was always beautiful. Before the 1990?s, men alone, wrote and directed all the movies, and the movies were written for men. In comparison, movies of the 90?s are not only written and directed by women, but leading roles are also held by older and unattractive women. In this paper I will show the variations and growth of women?s roles in movies from the 1940?s though the 1990?s.
In the 1940?s women did not have predominate roles in movies. In the few movies that were based around women, the woman?s character was written by a man, and the woman was portrayed as a sex symbol. In the movie Double Indemnity, a woman named Phillis is plotting to have her husband killed because she wants to collect his life insurance and be freed from an unhappy marriage. She uses her sexuality and good looks to convince Walter Neff to help her in her scheme. In this movie, Phillis is a beautiful, sexy, conniving killer. In the end, however, because she does not have the heart to kill her husband, the audience is supposed to redeem her conniving image.
In the 1940?s movie Gilda, the women has two different stereotypes. The first stereotype is a beautiful sex goddess. She is so beautiful that any man would love to be with her. The second stereotype parterres her as a scorned women. After a past relationship with a man named Johnny has left her angry, she reacts by trying to make him jealous by having affairs with other men. Through out the movie Gilda marries Johnny ?s boss and then cheats on him a few times. Even though Gilda does all of this by the end of the movie Johnny forgives her and once again turns the women?s life into something meaningful. These two movies party two women who act very much alike. They both use their sexuality to get men to give them what they want.
In the 1950?s women are either sex goddess or homemakers, but they are both looking for husbands. In the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the women are blonde, beautiful, and voluptuous. They are so beautiful that when they walk into a room the men drop what they are doing to stare at them.In this movie two of Hollywood?s most sensual women are looking for rich men to marry. They went through a lot to get their men, but in the end of the movie they have a double wedding and get what they have always wanted, big diamonds.
The movie Father of the Bride, portrays women to be homemakers. They are suppose to stay at home, watch over the family, and be there to great their husbands at the door when they get home from work. The movie tells the story of Kay Banks, a girl who has graduated from highschool and is now waiting to find a husband. She is a daddy?s girl who gets everything she wants. Even though her father is against a big church wedding he gives in and Kay and her new husband have a beautiful wedding and everyone lives happily ever after. In the 1950?s women were expected to be beautiful and be good wives.
In the 1960?s women were portrayed in movies to be torn between having good morals and wanting to have sex. In the Splendor in the Grass, Dinny is a highschools girl in love with a boy named Bud. Dinny is a nice young girl but she feels very strongly about Bud and she is confused about her feelings. she wants to have sex with him but she knows it is mot the right thing to do. When she decides to have sex with Bud he does not want to because he thinks she is a nice girl. The rejection of Bud makes Dinny crazy and she has to be put away in hospital.
Barbarella is a movie about a women who does nothing but have sex. The movie begins with Barbarella gibing a strip tease were she appears completely nude. Throughout the rest of the movie she does not wear many clothes. She has many sexual encounters with ananimalistic men. After each time she has a sexual encounter she is a little more mature. In these movies the women are completely different and live in different times but both of the moves are about women trying to prove their sexuality.
In the early 1970?s movies were still stereotyping women to be these incredibly stupid women who only want to have sex. The movie Mash is about a Mobil hospital set up right behind the lines of the Korean war. The doctors act as if the nurses are just three to have sex with. When the main female character, major Hulahan arrives at mash the first thing you see are her legs. Thoughout the movie major hullahan is seen having sex with different men. The doctors knock sown the shower tent to see her naked. By the end of the movie she just wanders around acting like she did not know what is going on around her.
By the end of the 1970?s movies were portraying women to be strong and out spoken. The movie Norma Rae, is based in a small southern town. Norma Rae is a single mom who lives with her parents. Everyone in town works in one factory and they want a union, so Norma Rae leads it. although she portrayed to be a strong women, she is portrayed to be a strong women, and she fights for the union she still sleeps with a married man. In the late 1970?s movies are beginning to portray women as strong individuals, but they still sleep around.
In the 1980?s movies were beginning to be made about women in their struggle in the workplace. The movie 9 to 5 is about three working women and their struggle to have a better work environment. These three women have a horrible boss. He sexually harasses them, calls them morons, and gives all the promotions to men when its the women who deserve them. Women progress a great deal throughout this movie. They go from being under the bosses thumb to taking charge or their lives. This movie brings out issues that women face in the workplace every day.
In the late 1980?s, women?s roles in movies take a dramatic turn. Instead of the man being ambitious and successful it is now the women?s turn. In the movie Baby Boom, J.C. is a very successful businesswoman. She is conservative and elegant, definitely not a sex symbol. She is the type of women who knows what she wants and goes out and gets it. She inherits a baby from a distant cousin and has no idea how to take care of it. She finds out just how hard it is to juggle a job and a family. In the 1980?s movies begin to show how hard women have to work to juggle a job and still take care of a family. They also show what kinds of harassment?s women put up with in the office.
In the 1990?s movies go back and forth between showing strong independent women and their counterparts women who need a man to make their lives better. In the movie Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts plays a hooker in Los Angeles, California. She meets a rich man who pays her to stay with him for a week. Throughout the week he teachers her how to act like a lady and buys her clothes so she can dress like a lady. By the end of the movie the fall in love. This movie portrays a woman having a horrible life until a man comes along and gives it meaning.
The latter 1990?s have brought many wonderful movies to theaters worldwide. More movies now are about women and their lives. The movie G.I. Jane is about a women who goes through navy seals training. She is picked out of many women to go through this training. She is chosen because she is pretty and feminine. She proves herself by successfully completing her training and becoming a navy seal. Although she is a strong woman and she is not supposed to be a sex symbol, she is still shown throughout the movie with little clothing. The movies are different from movies in the 1940?s because women are taking different roles than that of the homemaker or the slut. Now men find women who are strong physically and mentally.
Women?s roles in movies have changed dramatically throughout the years. In the 1940?s women?s characters were stereotyped as sex objects. In the 1990?s women?s characters are stereotyped to be strong individuals. I am glad that women?s characters are now portrayed as they truly are, and not how men think they should be.