Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Response to Olivia, 9/15

I found Susan Douglas’ 4th chapter, entitled “The New Girliness” extremely interesting. As she said on page 124, “all of these TV shows, films, and books offered a compelling fusion of female accomplishment, girliness, and antifeminism”. Having seen several of the movies and shows that Douglas discusses, I felt like I could strongly make connections with the concepts and ideas that she was bringing up, and I could see all three of the concepts she refers to above. In particular, I found that her description and analysis of Ally McBeal was incredibly correct, but I had never thought of it in this way before. As she said, “Watching Ally McBeal was like jumping on a roller coaster; it shot up and delighted you with its narrative innovation, depictions of female confidence, and attacks on patriarchal oafishness, an the very next second it hurtled down, plunging you into a sea of female incompetence, insecurity and stammering” (page 107). You couldn’t really tell which way the creators wanted the viewers to feel- maybe multiple ways- but it still offered, as no surprise to me, the concept that women must be sexy or at least painfully thin, and are constantly searching for love/lacking love, at the cost of their professionalism and success.

I also thought that the Legally Blonde commentary, as it is one of my favorite movies (I will guiltily admit), brought up some thought-provoking questions. Are girls and women, even if they are extremely intelligent and powerful, still obsessed with hair, nails, love and makeup? Will sexual harassment in the workplace ever be phased out? Is it really that big of a deal to dress in pink and use a pink fluffy pen, if you still get the job done? I think that all of these questions and the movie in general push viewers to really think about feminism and whether we are really in a “post-feminist” time. I do agree that the fact that Elle Woods sent in her application video with her in a bikini, swimming in a pool was a bit excessive, but when you think about it, the voting board, as you can see in the following link, has their mouths dropped and are clearly intrigued. This just perpetuates the “powerful but must be sexy at the same time” concept that we have discussed in class. I agree that the video itself is ridiculous, and her entire desire to go to law school was for love, to win back her boyfriend who said he needed a “Jackie, not a Marilyn” (page 120), but at the same time, she actually did do well on her LSATs and ended up being a very successful lawyer when it came down to it, and thus the fact that Elle is such an extreme character, who ends up dressing more conservatively, kind of bothers me, because I think women can be successful and wear bright pink (or whatever it is that they feel like wearing).

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