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Movie Analysis – Liberal Femal Essay, Research Paper

Gender roles of males and females in society have been evident since the very

beginning of time. In viewing four different films from different time periods, it

becomes obvious that women are growing and changing as members of society,

while at the same time, some of the basic instincts of male and female roles played

in society are so deeply inborn that they are unchangeable. Through the examples of

Laurel in The Associate, Elsie, Miss Riley, and Dorothy in October Sky, Odessa and

Miriam in The Long Walk Home, and Aunty Entity and Savannah in Mad Max Beyond

Thunderdome, it is evident that the difficulties of being a woman in a man s world

still exist. It is the growing strength and abilities of women such as these, that are

making life more liberated for women in the years to come.

The first film called The Associate depicts the life of a female trying to survive

the male business world of the 90 s. Laurel Ayers, an executive on Wall Street, was

seen as incompetent and was disrespected by her male colleagues based upon her

gender. She was sent on meaningless assignments, such as shopping, and was even

passed up on a very deserving promotion because she was a woman. In order to be

taken seriously, Laurel created a male business partner in attempts to gain clients

and the respect that she deserved. Laurel, who was very hard-working and

extremely dedicated to her work, had to overcome the glass ceiling society that

women face every day in the workplace. Although Laurel had achieved many great

things in her profession, she was an extremely qualified executive who had to

overcome many odds based upon her gender. Through her cunning abilities and

dedication, she ultimately succeeded in creating her own business, but she had to

work very hard in order to do so.

The next film based in the 1950 s, October Sky, showed the difficulties of

being a woman during the depression. There were several very strong women in this

film who worked very hard and took many risks in order to better the future for

themselves as well as others.

Elsie Hickam, a housewife to a coal miner husband, was very dedicated to the

success of her children. Elsie ultimately wanted to see her children succeed and was

willing to do whatever she could in order to see this happen. She was very

outspoken which was not common for a woman during this time. Elsie had even

threatened to leave her husband if he did not help his son, which would have been

unheard of for a woman to do at this time. It was her daring words and unyielding

support of her children that made Elsie a strong and liberated woman during this


Another strong woman in this film would be Miss Riley. Miss Riley was a

teacher in the film who did everything in her power to encourage her students to

follow their dreams. Often she too was very outspoken and even spoke very

condescending and sarcastically towards her boss, who wished to shatter the dreams

of his students simply because he thought them to be unattainable. It showed great

strength and determination for Miss Riley to stand up for what she believed in. For a

woman during this time, Miss Riley could have easily lost her job for speaking to the

school principal that way that she did. This courage made her a rolemodel example

for young women in Coalwood.

Unlike Elsie and Miss Riley, Dorothy, another young woman in October Sky

represented the suppressed woman of the 1950 s. Although Dorothy was determined

to leave the town of Coalwood, she depending upon the men in the community in

order to do so. Dorothy chose to date only those who seemed to be on their way out

of the town and away from the mines. She was very determined, but by her actions,

showed little respect for herself. Dorothy was not at all liberated, and unfortunately,

some women still represent this necessity to depend upon a man for success in

today s society.

The third movie discussed called The Long Walk Home depicts the strength

and liberation of two very strong women in the 1950 s. The first would be that of

Odessa Cotter, a black woman in support of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Odessa

was a very strong woman who worked hard to support her family and was extremely

supported by her husband. It was almost as though Odessa ran the show. She

walked eight miles to work every day and came home to run an organized home.

She was also often the disciplinary of her children and everyone turned to her for

advice and support. Odessa was afraid of nothing. She stood up for what she

believed in. When harassed by an angry crowd of white men, Odessa stood proud

and strong against them. She was the ideal symbol for evolution for women as well

as her race in the film.

The other very strong woman would be Miriam Thompson. Miriam was an

upper-class white housewife in the 50 s. She demanded respect from men in

Montgomery, in fact, she demanded that a police officer come apologize to her black

maid after kicking her out of a white park. On the other hand, Miriam was seen as a

typical wife in the 50 s. She cooked and cleaned and even was expected to dress-up

for her husband before he returned home from work. She was also expected to

respect and follow all of her husband s decisions. Miriam was not so typical. She

stood up to her husband for what she believed in and even disobeyed him on several

occasions when driving her black maid to and from work so that she did not have to

walk during the boycott. Her husband, who highly disapproved, thought of her as

disobeying an even disowned her as a wife for not following his racist rules. Miriam

even decided to actively participate in the boycott by driving for a black carpool,

which was unheard of for a white woman to do. Miriam was very unyielding in her

beliefs and devoted herself to a cause in which she believed in. Ultimately, Miriam s

decisions would lead to the end of her marriage and disrespect from the white males

in her community. None of this phased Miriam, thus making her a very respectable

and independent woman during the 1950 s as well as a symbol of extreme strength

in this film.

The final movie, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, a movie about the world

after the apocalypse includes the strength of two different women. Aunty Entity is a

key symbol in the changes that women underwent in society. In fact, she even

stated that before the apocalypse, she was nothing, yet after the apocalypse, her

strength and great determination to survive led to her being one of the most

respected women left on the planet. Aunty built an entire city with her bare hands

and demanded respect from her citizens for doing so. Her town, Bartertown, was

based on living by the laws. She was a very strict woman but her earnest behavior

and determination to survive, led her to be quite possibly one of the strongest

characters in the entire film.

Savannah, a young girl stranded in the desert among a society of children,

was also very liberated. She showed great strength and courage as a tracker

through the heat and sand of the desert. Savannah was also very determined to

escape the desert and unyielding in her attempts to do so. She would not allow

anyone or anything stand in her way of achieving her dreams. No matter how much

Max, the main male character in the film, tried to stop Savannah from leaving,

Savannah continued on her quest to find one of the lost cities.

In each of these movies, men tried to suppress these women and their goals.

Although much of this still exists in modern society, like the glass ceiling in the

workplace and condescending husbands within the home, the strength and

independent determination of women has grown significantly throughout the times.

The ability for women to overcome even the largest odds, has made success possible

for modern women today, and for the women of the future