Monday, May 12, 2008

The Feminist In Me Was Dying

I love it when the kids watch old movies. Why? Because I can actually stand to be in the room when they watch the movie. I love old movies and hate all the new kid movies. I’ve never seen Shrek and definitely not a single animated Disney movie since The Little Mermaid. They all drive me nuts. But my kids are getting old enough that they can appreciate a little bit more than talking cars and blue genies in bottles.

So....last weekend we watched the old Freaky Friday with Jodie Foster. I remember watching this movie as a kid and liking it. But I also remember I couldn’t tell if Jodie Foster was a boy or girl. Anyway, as I watched it with my kids I realized some sexist comments that made me cringe. The mom is trying to give her husband some pointers on a speech or something to which he adds: “Ah, don’t worry about that honey. You don’t need to say anything. You just show up and look beautiful as usual.” Gasp!! Women are seen and not heard? I wanted to stop the movie and explain to my kids what an ignorant fool the dad was, but that line seemed to slip past them so I let it go.

Then just on Saturday night we watched “Yours, Mine and Ours.” I love Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda and have fond memories of this movie. What I didn’t remember about this movie is that Lucille Ball is 55 in this movie but she has a newborn baby. Shah, right. That was way before in vitro fertilization baby. But I digress. What made the feminist in me cry out and turn to Paul audibly groaning was when Lucille Ball is writing a letter to her hubby who is overseas and relates to him that "our daughter has finally stopped eating because she noticed a boy. What us girls won’t do for our men. As you can see by the enclosed photo, she still has a few pounds to go before her date Friday night.” Gasp again!! Worse, they show a picture of a normal sized girl!! Once again, I thought I should stop the movie and explain the cruelty and injustice of what just happened, but I didn’t. Both of these movies were rated G, or not rated at all, but I swear I’d rather have swearing than sexism in movies anyday. Serenity now!

9 comments:

Care Bear said...

I know what you mean. I have been using the DVR to record a lot of black and whites lately on Turner Classic Movies. I can't list any specifics like this, but it does strike me what a different world we live in now. I DVR'd a silent film with Rudolpg Valentino the other day and watched it. It was the story of Camille, which I've always loved since they included it in the 80's movie version of Annie. Anyway, I was lost in the glory of the 1920's sets and fashion and art. It was like watching a live version of an Albert Mucha painting. I have completely digressed from my point which was I almost love old movies for that reason --- to see how different things are now.... vastly different!

Care Bear said...

I meant Alphonse Mucha, sorry.

Ilene said...

Rent "Spellbound" with Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman. It is a hitchcock film. Of course all of his films are super sexist but this one is terrible.

Lauriej said...

I always roll my eyes during Peter Pan (cartoon version) especially the mermaid scene and when he tells her she's a big ugly girl.

Anonymous said...

Sexism in the old movies doesn't really bother me. It's kind of funny to see how times have changed.(like Carolyn said) I just take these movies within the context of which they were created, when sexism, and feminism had not really taken front stage yet so it was still normal stuff back then. BTW- I love the original Freaky Friday, the first time I saw it, I literally came THIS close to peeing my pants because I could not stop laughing.
Carolyn #2

cyn the win said...

Yea, I take these movies in context as well, but my kids aren't old enough to take them in context of the time period in which they were made. So really, that's my only fear--the my kids will think this behavior is ok, or worse, develop an eating disorder. I know, worry, worry, worry.

abelnap said...

Here is the opportunity for one of those holy conversations that should suuround our media consumption. We do stop the movies and talk about them at our house. How's that for feministic craziness. I don't let those things slip by because when we do we allow it to become part of the accepted behavior of our children's experience. Don't be afraid to hit pause and talk!
Love your crazy friend, Allison

Anonymous said...

Here is my (kelly's) belated comment: I've subbed in the ward nursery several times lately. I have to literally bite my tongue when they sing the 5 Little Ducks song, "mommy duck said 'quack, quack, quack', but no little ducks came back. Then daddy duck said 'quack, quack quack' and ALL the duck came running back" It makes me crazy! Shawn always looks at me with a knowing smirk and a warning in his eye that I should refrain once more from comment. That's what spouses are for.

Casey said...

I guess I don't quite get the concern so much. I actually think it's refreshing to hear something different than "women can do everything a man can do." I look at it that they recognize the different rolls women and men play. Look at where feminism has gotten us - moms out of the home and kids that have no parental care. Sad. I do agree about the losing a few pounds thing. I have all girls and I worry about the day they think they are fat or ugly.
On another note - we love The Parent Trap. (The old version, of course.) The girls have also found Mary Poppins, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. All super fun. I agree, the old movies are so much better than the new. I know I never have to worry about swearing, sexual remarks, or crude humor. Ok. I'll get off my soapbox. Great post and comments from everyone. It really got me thinking.

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