Monday, March 7, 2011

Gender in 1980s America - Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones, the man of my historical dreams. The first film, Raiders of the Lost Ark was first released in 1981, to the delight of many. The two main characters are aesthetically pleasing. Harrison Ford is deliriously rugged and manly man who is a protector as well as adventurer. Karen Allen is a sassy independent woman who is drawn into the world of adventure and does so in a way that is both feisty and womanly, for her feminine whiles are always on show. My views on these characters and their forms are by no means universal, but enough people feel the same, to have thrust these characters into legend. The character of Indiana Jones is the historic adventurer poster boy, you do not need to have seen the film to know the character with his baggy shirt that opens to that well sculpted chest, and his fedora, whip and satchel. He is an intelligent man, who can handle himself in a tought situation, and has a way with the ladies. Many a man wants to be him, and his style has been emulated through the decades since the film originally came out. Films have since followed that echo this 80's classic, for instance, The Librarian; National Treasure; and even the latest Indiana Jones that holds the potential for the next generation of dapper historical adventurers.
But is the character relevent for the 1980's? The clothing is a bit out of date for the fashion of the 80's, but that is superficial. The roles of the characters are similar to that of the genders in America in the 80's. The women are gathering independence, like that of the character Marian Ravenwood, she owns her own bar and can hold her own with her feisty attitude, but still needs a man once in a while; although it can be said that she is becoming slightly masculine, which is quite different from the women at the time that the film is set. Her outfit choices are practical but still cut her figure well. In a sentence, she is a savvy and sexy business woman who could challenge any male.
But as with many things in the 80's, this depiction of gender is not completely relevent for there were other aspects that did not encompass fiesty business women and heroic professors. There were the girly girls, which was portrayed in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, with Willie, the singer and her love of her looks, and dismay if she breaks a nail. For men, some wanted to stand out in their looks, with garish colours, which can also be said to hold relevance in the 1980's American gender culture.
For me, Indiana Jones is a positive portrayal of gender for the age, it signals a step forward in equality!! And it does so with style.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.