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From Rags to Riches

I must admit that I do like the story of rags to riches. That being said, there are many aspects of the movie that I believe are problematic. First, there is the beautiful Latina maid who is a single mother. She is portrayed as a hard working woman but she is too self conscious to advance in life. Unlike the typical cinderella, the Latina maid has a child. This to me seems to send the message of the importance of motherhood for Latinas. Then, we have the Prince charming, who is a white male. He of course is secure, powerful and rich. The one thing that bothers me the most with stories like this one is the importance that is placed in physical beauty. From this movie we can see the typical gender roles being played out. Women must be beautiful and men in return must be powerful and rich. The message this movie sends out to me is that the most important aspect in a woman is her beauty. There is also the message that people should be in a heterosexual relationship. Before taking this class I really enjoyed the movie and didn't find anything wrong with it. However, now that I have taken this class, I see the ways the media influences and reinforces our gender roles.


i liked that you pointed out how compulsory heterosexuality is asserted in this film. this was one thing i thought about while watching the film for the first time just yesterday. i think the film affirms this notion that heterosexual sexual intercourse is THE primary way of solidifying/building a relationship. this is evident when marissa is having a fight with chris and she says she was always intending to "give him up" until she slept with him. her "plan" was to end her relationship, but after engaging in what we can only assume was pretty normative sexual acts, she feels incapable of doing so. i think one message that is sent from this discourse is that heterosexual sex is 1. always extremely meaningful for women to the point that it causes some women to change their longterm "plans" and 2. a turning point in relationships as opposed to a being another part of the relationship itself. this is not to say all women could or by any means SHOULD disregard profound connections felt or created by sexual encounters with other people. on the contrary, sex is very important way many people relate to their partners. i think it is crucial to recognize how heterosexual sex acts are being propped up in the film as more important than other aspects of the way couples relate. i feel it is creepy that the film placed such weight on this one incidence when clearly marissa and chris both claim to "connected" in other ways (intellectually, as friends, etc). compulsory heterosexuality (and overall lack of sexual and social agency) is reinforced in the film through marissa's inability to plan her own life after engaging in sex acts. for real?! i mean, marissa has a kid, so we can assume she's had sex before. sex that resulted in pregnancy. clearly she knows how to make a plan and stick to it even after sex with someone leaves her in such a daze...(i'm speaking sarcastically)... but Chris is white while we are to assume the father of her child (and maybe all her previous sexual partners) are Latino. What messages does this reinforce about the power of white heteronormativity? about white masculinity? ew..