Thelma and the betrayal of feminism
I have always thought of feminism as the push for women to be independent of men and/or male influence--not necessarily excluding men from the picture altogether, but knowing that women can do all the same things as men. With that in mind, the scene in Thelma and Louise where J.D. essentially teaches Thelma how to rob a convenience store, and the later one where Thelma goes out and follows his script almost verbatim seems to betray this sort of feminism. Without J.D.'s instruction (and, possibly, the confidence gained through her sexual encounter with him, as well), Thelma probably would have had no idea how to pull off an armed robbery, and would have continued to be the follower in her relationship with Louise, who, up until the robbery, was the leader and decision-maker for the entire trip. While the motel scene with J.D. was likely intended to be liberating or enlightening for Thelma, it only seems to show that she is dependent on men for guidance. Her preoccupation with men and her tendency to think the best of them betrays the independence that feminism should bring her--she wants to have fun on her trip with Louise, so she latches onto Harlan in the bar, leading to an attempted rape and Harlan's murder; she cannot have a fulfilling sexual experience without a man, J.D., showing her how; she could not pull off a robbery without J.D.'s instruction, etc.--and her later independence and feminist characterization is colored by the earlier influence of men.