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evolved into critical and somewhat guilty enjoyment, I realised Pretty Woman’s biggest issue is not that it is outdated, but that it isn’t. In its approach to sex work, the film is as old hack as the current discussions surrounding sex workers’ rights.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
I’ve realised that Bring It On: All or Nothing (2006) was one of the formative films of my childhood. It was hardly a critically acclaimed masterpiece but, in a modest way, the film attempted to tackle the issues of race and class, adhering to and deviating from teenage stereotypes in equal measure. As well as this, there are cheerleading routines galore, an amazing noughties soundtrack and an appearance from a young Rihanna – what more could you want from a film? Continue reading “No One Wants to See a Fat Cheerleader”: Using Body Shaming as a Weapon in Female Conflict
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?
You can watch Bridesmaids for free on BoB. Bridesmaids (2011) was well received by critics and audiences alike, lauded for its ability to prove that women could “be funny”. However, the credit that the film received was mostly focused around female portrayal of traditionally masculine humour: vulgar sexual innuendo, the famous diarrhoea scene, and drunken mishaps. While these aspects of Bridesmaids should be applauded, the … Continue reading “You’re your problem… and also your solution”: How Bridesmaids Remodels Female Friendship
The sexual awakening is a key facet of the contemporary coming of age genre, and the emotional exploration surrounding the first hints of desire has proven a rich resource for filmmakers; this is evidenced in works such as Lady Bird(2018) and Booksmart (2019). However, the affect of the relationship between power and desire on a teenager’s sexual awakening is a discussion which could be explored further in the genre . Even in indie-darling Call Me by Your Name (2017), featuring a relationship between a teenage boy and an intern in his mid-twenties, there is little interrogation of the power dynamics at play and how they affect the characters. With all of this in mind, The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015), adapted from Phoebe Gloeckner’s 2002 book of the same name, feels radical in the way in which it portrays the relationship between 15-year-old Minnie (Bel Powley) and 34-year-old Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). Continue reading ‘Is this what it feels like for someone to love you?’: How The Diary of a Teenage Girl Complicates the Sexual Awakening
I am very precious about my hair and I’m not ashamed of it. I had bright blonde hair as a toddler which eventually dulled to a dirty blonde, until Year 8 when I asked the hairdresser to give me summer blonde highlights and cut a bob for me. Since then, my hair has become my signature accessory to every outfit with it only getting blonder … Continue reading I Want to Be a Blonde Bombshell Too!
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