I actually hated Pretty Woman (1990) the first time I watched it. I was just coming into feminist consciousness when my mother put it on after years of raving that it was her favourite rom-com. I felt betrayed that she deemed it in any way romantic. Richard Gere with his male saviour complex comes along to sweep Julia Roberts off her feet? Yuck. These conservative sexual politics are what a lot of people dislike about the film thirty years on, or it’s the case that people like the film in spite of them. However, as I grew up and my initial repulsion evolved into critical and somewhat guilty enjoyment, I realised Pretty Woman’s biggest issue is not that it is outdated, but that it isn’t. In its approach to sex work, the film is as old hack as the current discussions surrounding sex workers’ rights. Continue reading The Capitalist with a Heart of Gold? And Hollywood’s Issue with Sex work
Princess Cyd is available to watch for free on Kanopy. It is a common trope in a lot of media that women’s self-worth is tied to their sexuality. They are judged for how old they are; how often they have sex, and whether they have sex with men, women or both. Furthermore, all too often female characters are punished for their exploits in contradictory ways. … Continue reading Why Princess Cyd Is So Refreshing in Exploring Female Sexuality
Nine to Five is available to watch for free on BoB. Whether you watch it for the comedy, the kick-ass female cast, or simply because of Dolly Parton’s classic hit song, there is no doubt that Nine to Five still appeals to us today. Especially on the back of its recent run as a Broadway Musical. But, forty years later, maybe we should be asking … Continue reading The Hours Might be Different, But How Much Has Truly Changed Since Nine to Five?
You can watch Bridesmaids for free on BoB. Bridesmaids has taken on a special cultural significance since its release in 2011. Hailed as “terrifically funny, smart and tender”, the film, under Paul Feig’s directing and Judd Apatow’s producing, remains a frank display of women behaving badly. Yet it is precisely this ‘behaving badly’ that remains a sticky topic. Though the film has remained a critical … Continue reading Why Do Women Have to *Literally* Spill Their Guts to Be Funny?
Everyone knows that Brits and Americans are the absolute worst tourists. They’re loud and obnoxious, expect everyone to speak English, get embarrassingly sunburnt, and care more about the cocktails than the culture. This arrogance likely roots in imperialist attitudes; the disgusting Western ideology that every other country should tailor to their desires, and that Westerners have the ultimate right to go wherever they want and do whatever they please. With this in mind, Gurinder Chadha’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice translates the class tension between Darcy and Elizabeth into a tension about national identity and culture, and American attitudes towards India. The Bennet family become the Bakshi family from Amritsar, while Darcy is a wealthy, American tourist with an arrogance aptly attached to that stereotype. Behind the sparkle of the Bollywood numbers, the vibrant colours, and the light humour, Bride and Prejudice threads through a commentary on neo-imperialism, interrogating Western attitudes towards India today and considering how open the West is to change. Continue reading When Mr Darcy Is Actually Just a Neo-Imperialist
While Nora Ephron’s novel and film Heartburn is a scathing, semi-autobiographical account of her infamous marriage and divorce from Carl Bernstein, Ephron’s 2009 film, Julie and Julia, depicts quite the opposite. The film’s intersecting storylines of American chef, Julia Child, in 1950s Europe, and Julie Powell, a blogger in 2002 New York, narrate these women’s inspiring career progressions. Equally at the heart of these stories, however, is the two women’s marriages, both deeply loving, supportive relationships based on a mutual respect. Continue reading Julie & Julia Shows How Nourishing Love Can Be