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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Are things going backwards in terms of the representation of women in films/TV?

41 replies

ElephantsAndMiasmas · 13/01/2011 18:12

Was watching a film called "A Foreign Affair" the other day, made in 1948. It follows a congresswoman visiting Berlin after the war as part of a committee. She was the main character, and (as well as the love story element) it was about her professionalism, and how she developed and changed her views throughout the film.

I was a bit shocked to realise that I couldn't think of another film about a female politician made since.

So are some things actually going backwards in terms of how women are depicted? Another of my favourites from a similar era is "His Girl Friday" about a female journalist.

Why were these films being made then, and not being made any more?

Or are there better modern films I should be picking up on?

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ElephantsAndMiasmas · 13/01/2011 18:31

Just me then? Are the good modern films about women doing their jobs?

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PonceyMcPonce · 13/01/2011 18:33

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ElephantsAndMiasmas · 13/01/2011 18:52

Not sure I've ever seen that

Bit shocked to think that the 60 years on film-making hasn't really caught up with women having careers! Am dredging my mind and have come up with...The Queen? Shock Not sure that counts!

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msrisotto · 13/01/2011 18:54

Made in Dagenham?
Mona Lisa Smile?
They're set in the past so i'm not sure they even count tbh.
Ooh I do like Erin Brokovich, will have to get that out soon.

youarecallunts · 13/01/2011 18:56

Working Girl.

Shame the title makes her sound like a prostitute.

Coleysworth · 13/01/2011 18:56

Funnily enough I was wondering about this recently too after watching a bunch of old movies over christmas. Even in old melodramas and films noirs which might not be what we'd term politically correct in today's terms, the women seem more complex and rounded than women generally are in films and on TV now. I was wondering if a greater proportion of old films would pass the Bechdel Test but never got around to trying it out (because I was laying on the sofa like a quality street ridden slug at the time).

youarecallunts · 13/01/2011 18:57

The Devil Wears Prada.

youarecallunts · 13/01/2011 18:57

Gorrillas in the Mist.

ElephantsAndMiasmas · 13/01/2011 19:11

Is Working Girl not about a prostitute then?

9 to 5 is good too, but that's specifically about them trying to get acknowledged as female workers, bit like Made in Dagenham. Love both.

Cheers for those two youare, didn't realise the gorilla one was about a woman.

This Foreign Affair film had Marlene Dietrich in as well, as a woman who had lived through the war "fraternising" (shagging) with the Nazis, then the Americans. Could have knocked me down with a feather when she survived the film - so used to the 'bad girls' being killed off. There was even a scene where she talks to the congresswomen about what she had been through when the Russians marched in. Made me shudder after the thread on that last year. :(

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ISNT · 13/01/2011 19:25

Oooh yes working 9-5 is a fab film.

youarecallunts · 13/01/2011 19:28

Nah, working girl is a kind of yuppie era film where Melanie Griffiths ends up with the top job.

ISNT · 13/01/2011 19:31

And she gets harrison ford iirc

there must be some other films

StewieGriffinsMom · 13/01/2011 19:31

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ElephantsAndMiasmas · 13/01/2011 19:33

Not just me then Coley (Proles?) - often wonder the same thing about 80s films actually. Not just in gender terms but in terms of representation of different ethnic groups etc. That's why Miss Congeniality II seems not only like a closet lesbian romance, but also like a very 1980s film.

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ElephantsAndMiasmas · 13/01/2011 19:36

Oh does she SGM? Will have a look.

That Bad Mum shit is annoying. Similarly the "Now I Am In Love I No Longer Have Ethical Standards Or The Need For Professional Fulfilment" where the women abandons her job/business venture/campaign/mission when she falls in love with the bloke in charge of sacking her unfairly/putting her out of business/killing all the rare hummingbirds/doing in the foreign leader. It's called propaganda, ladies. Nothing is more important than the love of a good cock chap.

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TheCrackFox · 13/01/2011 19:45

Both Working Girl and Devil Wear Prada featured uber bitch bosses just to remind us all not to get above our place in life.

youarecallunts · 13/01/2011 19:47

I know.

But the OP asked for films that show women having careers.

JessinAvalon · 13/01/2011 19:47

One of my ideal men, Mark Kermode, makes this point about female characters in films often in his film review programme on radio 5 on a Friday. I have heard him say several times that the character led films of the 40s and 50s featured much stronger female protagonists than some of the crap that is churned out now (hence he made Transformers 2 his worst film of 2009; the female character was only there to serve as eye candy for the lowest common denominator, he said (I paraphrase)).

notquitenormal · 13/01/2011 20:16

Private Benjamin was on the other day, I've always really liked that film. One of the few films I can think of without an obligatory romantic pairing at the end.

StuffingGoldBrass · 13/01/2011 20:20

Terminator 2: Judgement Day - Linda Hamilton weight trains, shoots people, sees off Schwarzenegger and doesn't have a love affair.

Coleysworth · 13/01/2011 20:44

ooh yes, I love Mark Kermode's rants: the one about SATC2 was a classic :)

sethstarkaddersmackerel · 13/01/2011 21:21

are we going backwards? - yup.
I still haven't seen Toy Story 3 but I've heard bad things about it....

ISNT · 13/01/2011 21:27

Good one SGB

Mind you she was still "beauty" from that dire TV show to me Grin

StewieGriffinsMom · 13/01/2011 21:28

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LurcioLovesFrankie · 13/01/2011 21:35

Kids films - Monsters vs Aliens, Ginormica saves the world and dumps her hideous boyfriend.

A few good men - Demi Moore and Tom Cruise works side by side preparing the case for the big courtroom drama, entirely professionally and without any sexual subtext whatsoever.

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