Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Women In 1980's Film

I wanted to use this example of HollyWood in the 1980's to talk about Gender and how this example could be seen in the 'bigger picture' as part of the third wave of the Feminism.

Those who are familiar with Aliens will know that it is James Cameron's sequel to Alien (1979), in the SciFi series. Furthermore throughout the series the leading role is dominated by the female role through actress Sigourney Weaver. Aliens like its successors' is your typical space, shootem up kind of story like Predator or The Thing. However in comparison to those examples, whats Unique about Aleins' is that a women (Weaver) is the protagonist, where as in Predator it is (Schwarzenegger) and in The Thing (Kurt Russel). Whatsmore those two alternative films fail to produce a hit sequel, unlike Aliens where Weaver is recalled each time for the leading role through a five part series.

Whats Unique about the example of Aliens is that we can see an emergence in Hollywood films where females get and keep the leading role in movies. Moreover at a time where women through the ERA and civil-rights court are steadily gaining equality in education or the work-place. What is even more remarkable is that this is all happening under a Reagan, Conservative government in America in the 80's, which would militate somewhat against a decade defining phenomenon. Movements by the National Oraganistation for Women and the ERA became more prominent in the 1980's and helped raise awareness for the social standing of women .

As far as a legacy is concerned the example of Aliens could be seen as such, as it helped pave the way for more films of its kind where women take the leading role around men into the 1990's. Films like Thelma & Louise and The River Wild are dominated by female protagonists, such as Susan Surandon and Meryl Streep. Thelma and louise (1991) can be seen as a metaphor for womens achievement in the 80's, as the film see's two women escape the dominating and violent male stereotype, and indulge in a typical male activity, roadtripping. On the other hand The River Wild (1994) can be seen as a further development of that, as the Female protagonist challenges rather than escapes a male character. In addition to this, one male character in this film the husband, can be seen as weak and unable to defend his wife and kid.

These two examples I think are ideal for showing us the achievement of women in the 1980's through films like Aliens, and the development of that their achievement is reflected in the 90's by these final two examples mentioned.

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