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A feminist analysis of Chicago (the film)

(20 Posts)
Athenaviolet Thu 28-May-15 15:10:45

Watched this last night.

It passes the Beschdel test but I don't think I'd describe it as a particularly feminist film.

Wonder what other feminists think of it.

It's good that it's woman centred but does use a lot of 'bad girl' cliches.

I think the depiction of domestic violence at the start (from Fred to Roxie) is quite realistic, apart from her shooting him!

LassUnparalleled Thu 28-May-15 15:30:51

I haven't seen it. Don't like musicals but have always found Grease very problematic.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Thu 28-May-15 15:52:06

I've never seen it either! Isn't liza minelli isn't it?

The messages in grease are just horrendous from start to finish whichever way you look at it! Good entertainment though grin

HagOtheNorth Thu 28-May-15 16:06:39

Are you thinking of Cabaret, with Liza Minelli?
I think it showed the balance and abuse of power quite well, for a film that wasn't planning on being particularly 'messagey' and how Roxy's best defence was to fit the female stereotype of shocked and impulsive accidental murderer.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Thu 28-May-15 16:11:35

Oh fuckit didn't even read the title properly. Yes I was thinking of cabaret.

Not seen chicago either grin

LassUnparalleled Thu 28-May-15 17:37:40

Cabaret, along with A Chorus Line, are the musicals I make exceptions for. I think because the singing is always in the context of a staged performance rather than randomly bursting into song. (I can suspend disbelief for opera but not musicals)

There was supposedly a real Sally Bowles who wasn't terribly about her depiction in Godbye to Berlin.

Sorry OP you have had a collection of irrelevant replies.

Athenaviolet Thu 28-May-15 18:03:30

I've only seen a bit of caberet so can't really comment on that.

Yes, I love grease but I have to close my feminist eyes!

hag yes that's a good point about her best defence being that she had to shoot him to protect her unborn child. It wasn't enough to protect her own life. Big message there about fetal rights vs mothers rights in the us.

So much of what it says about celebrity is so relevant to the towie culture of today.

almondcakes Thu 28-May-15 21:12:56

Les Miserables probably stands up better as a feminist musical, despite not doing so well on the Bechdale test.

messyisthenewtidy Thu 28-May-15 23:25:42

To answer the OP yes I thought Chicago was great for the reasons described. Both CZJ and RZ were very good, it was about two well written women with lots of agency. What's not to like

NoTechnologicalBreakdown Fri 29-May-15 12:05:21

Well the appearance of a baby into the equation was just an invention of Roxy's to grab the media limelight back when she appeared to be losing it. The 'implication' (a pretty blunt one) was that she offered sexual services to the doctor to get him to confirm her pregnancy. So two gender stereotypes in play there. The show-ring lawyer would be a non-gender stereotype. Are they stereotypes or cynical reality?

It was just a damn good film though. I don't know that it needs a feminist analysis!

Athenaviolet Fri 29-May-15 14:45:38

Oh I forgot about her & the doctor.

I wouldn't say either of them had agency. They were prisoners facing the death penalty who escaped because a lawyer duped them.

Billy Flynn is a good anti-hero character.

Nolim Fri 05-Jun-15 05:11:58

It was an entertaining movie at the time. But not one of those you temember years later as a particularly great one. I like the cell block tango.

Athenaviolet Fri 05-Jun-15 08:02:07

It did win multiple oscars!

BarbarianMum Sat 06-Jun-15 14:26:26

I really like it, especially in my darker moods. The characters are all morally bankrupt except Amos who is a fool and is treated with contempt.

Would anyone like to dissect 'Thelma and Louise' for me? That's often described as a powerful film for women but I can't really get over the fact that the only way for them to beat the system is to die confused

morethanpotatoprints Sat 06-Jun-15 14:38:43

What's wrong with Grease it's set in the 50's and that's what the 50's was like ffs.
Sorry OP, I don't see the fuss with watching musicals set in certain times.
Of course I'd object if they were supposed to be representing this day and age.
I love Carousel and most other R&H but I don't walk around in a long dress and bussell.
I have brought my dd up, who also loves musicals to understand this is what the world used to be like aand how we have progressed since then.
otherwise we'd have to object to them all. "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" anyone.
Unless of course I've missed something, in which case my apologies and I'm ready to be educated.

LassUnparalleled Sat 06-Jun-15 15:33:39

I didn't write this but I agree with the points made

Grease is a musical that almost always gets a pass because of its excellent soundtrack. All the dancing, singing, and pretty costumes distract you from the horrible, terrible, no good, very sexist plot! But it’s not just the main plot—every little side story or comment is sexist, too. And don’t give me the excuse that this musical was written during “a different time”. It was written in the 70s, well after the Women’s Liberation movement began; it should at least be a little better than the musicals written in the late 50s and early 60s. And the argument that Grease is accurately portraying the sexism of the 1950s is also not true. Grease portrays the 50s about as accurately as Disney portrays Chinese culture in Mulan. And even if you could prove to me that this portrayal is accurate, it still doesn’t change anything. Shows like Mad Men portray the sexism and racism of the generation they’re depicting, but they never glorify it or shy away from how terrible it is. Grease doesn’t do that

Athenaviolet Sun 07-Jun-15 08:08:36

Yes lass I love Grease but it is horribly sexist and gives out terrible messages.

Modern films set in the past, like Chicago, have a huge influence on our pop culture. They shape how we see women now, not just then.


Oh T&L I hate hate hate that film and get so hmm when anyone says it's 'feminist'. Like hell it is! Shows how screwed up our society is if that is feminist.

Fora start there's quite an explicit rape scene. Imo in all but the most exceptional cases (eg the accused) showing rape on film glamourises it thereby making it more socially acceptable and contributing to the rape culture and rape epidemic.

It has the dutiful 'knight in shining armour bit' bleugh.

Then they 'admit defeat' and kill themselves! Worst ending of any film, ever.

So basically the message is: regardless of their disadvantages and vulnerabilities they are still 'bad women' who ultimately deserve to die.

Long live the patriarchy!

BarbarianMum Sun 07-Jun-15 09:13:05

Re: T&L I do like the fact that they are not "rescued" at the end by Mr Good Cop - that would be the ultimate awful ending. Would prefer them to actually escape to Mexico and build a new and better life for themselves though, although I guess Mexico wouldn't realistically be a likely place to build a life free of the control of men. Fleeing northwards to Canada maybe?

LaurieFairyCake Sun 07-Jun-15 09:20:03

I do think T and L is a feminist movie.

As soon as women start to act outside the normal gender roles or act in any way liberated they get their asses kicked by the patriarchy. Sounds likely to me.

Athenaviolet Tue 09-Jun-15 15:03:43

The only escape from patriarchy is death? A bit nihilistic isn't it?

Good point but I don't think most people interpret it in such a sophisticated way.

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