March 29, 2008

Set It Off vs. Thelma and Louise

Set It Off vs. Thelma and Louise

1. How is sisterhood and loyalty established?
The women knowing each other since grade school and experiencing life’s heartaches and triumphs together establishes the sisterhood in Set If Off. The loyalty is established based on the women showing support to one another through their various heartaches and triumphs.
In Thelma and Louise, the two women established their sisterhood through their common bond of controlling men, restricting them from their desired adventures. The women established loyalty among one another by supporting each other through out their lives and actions. Louise supported Thelma by protecting her from a potential rape and accepting to live with what she had done.

8. How does the role of the white cop function in the narrative?
In Set It Off, the white cop is seen as the superior character in every scene he is in, causing the women to be inferior. The white cop also seems to enhance the ladies desires to get away and escape, which leads to the road journey. The white cop does this by being threatening and suffocating on the women’s space. This is very similar to the white cop in Thelma and Louise. The white cop in Thelma and Louise is also shown as superior because he represents the law and the termination of the women’s freedom, showing the women to be inferior when they are in a scene with him. When the women are not in a scene with the white cop, they act superior, similar to the female dominated scenes in Set It Off. The white cop in Thelma and Louise also seems to enhance the ladies desires to escape from the male dominated world they come from because they know that the white cop would be everything their husbands and boyfriends are: controlling and restricting.

March 11, 2008

Betray Feminism-hotel scene

I wrote a much more detailed response originally, but when I hit "save" something said the page could not be displayed, and when I tried to go back my entire response was gone and had not been saved.

First of all, feminism to me is the belief in equal rights and treatment of men and women. Both men and women may be "feminists" as well, it is not strictly limited to women.

In "Thelma and Louise," the scene where the two women return to the hotel room to find JD and their money missing is when this film betrays feminism for me. The women wouldn't be on the road if it weren't for their longing to have their men appreciate and miss them because they are gone. They also wouldn't have the money if it weren't for Jimmy's help. Although Thelma stands up to her husband, Daryl, earlier on the phone, she sleeps with JD and this "carelessness" and willingness to trust strange men so easily results in her first being nearly raped and then robbed within 24 hours. The entire plot of the movie can be contributed to men's control over women, and the entire conflict and climax of the film can be contributed to women's "too nice" personalities. Although it can be argued that the women recover from this incident that leaves the usually strong Louise sobbing on the ground, it is men who are chasing them, and it is men who are lined up behind them when the women continue to drive to their own deaths. The conclusion of the film shows that the 2 women may not have given into "a man's world" but they also end up dead. Not a very liberating situation. I think the hotel room scene is the most important turning point in the film, when the audience realizes unless they submit to men it is going to be all downhill from there.

March 10, 2008

Thelma and Louise!

Oh feminism. So does this movie about two women escaping from their overwhelming male counterparts represent how a girl should live or does it represent the exact opposite? Questions, questions I say. First we need a definition of feminism. For me personally, I believe that if someone is a feminist, they believe women are being oppressed by males and are being treated and looked upon unfairly. They believe being a woman is the best thing in the world and that they (we) should have as many rights as men and that they (we) can do anything a man can do. Except shoot shotguns. Women aren't the best at that most of the time. Anyways, considering this, what type of film is Thelma and Louise? I think it has very little to do with feminism. They never feel or show that they feel men are superior to them, except at the beginning when Thelma's in the kitchen, and they never seem to let guys walk over them. This film I think is more about two ladies going out into the world and realizing what it's really about. The fact that they go to bars, shoot people, rob stores, and drive off a cliff shows they are fearless and ready for the world. If this was a feminist film, they would be fighting against the men and talking about how held down they feel. This was an uplifting movie for anyone, male or female, because the message (for me at least) was do what you want with your life. It's yours. Be yourself, do what you want, and be smart about every decision you make. I do think, though, that this is a great film to put in a class like this because it sends out such a great message that can relate to feminists. I loved every move they made as they were smarter than hell and I wish I had the guts to do the same thing. They finally lived their lives and explored the world and found out who they really were (apparently Thelma's a natural robber:) ) and I give them mad props for that.

Thelma and Louise

I don't think that the film betrays feminism, it rather illuminates the entrapment of women by society. Through the release of Thelma, and the trap that Louise could not escape, the film depicts the escape of the two women from the laws and expectations of society, but also their inability to escape from the consequences of that escape. Men are in the background for most of the film, but their actions dictate the turns in the road for the two women on the run. Although there is a glimpse of 'female gaze' with Brad Pitt, the film both empowers and disenfranchises the women on the road.


I think that Thelma and Louise abandoned feminism simply by being stupid and committing one crime after the next and not learning from their mistakes. I believe that feminism is a movement for females to be treated as equal to men. Thelma and Louise were treated badly by men, but instead of logically taking care of their situations they went on a crime spree that eventually led to their demise. Like there was nothing better out there for them. It was a little frustrating watching them make one wrong decision after the next. Thelma completely abandoned feminsim in the beginning of the movie as well. I saw her as anything but a strong woman. I am suprised that she actually left her husband to go on the trip with Louise in the first place.

Thelma && Louise

Feminism is concerned with gender inequalities and equal rights for individuals amidst multiple kinds of social, cultural and political turbulence. A feminist can be any sort of backer for these universal concerns (intensity levels may very). Side note: Feminism doesn’t always have to be the FIGHT for equality. Too many people in this world see feminists as high-pitched, eccentric activists with hateful motives.

I suppose that after watching the film “Thelma and Louise? the viewer has a chance to reflect on how the women handled the initial incident, evaluated the circumstances and gradually allow the rest of the unfortunate episodes to evolve before them. The lack of active involvement on both Thelma and Louise’s part leads the viewer to believe that they betrayed the means of feminism.

Continue reading "Thelma && Louise" »

Betrayal of Feminism

In the very begininning of the movie we see Thelma at home with her husband and Louise at the diner where she works. Thelma is the steriotypical "weak" woman. Thelma feels the need to ask for permission from her husband but is too frightened. She has no strength of character, person, or mind. Louise is the opposite, manly to the greatest degree she has no kind of feminine charm about her. She is a man. As the movie progresses Thelma loses her weakness, but in this she also becomes manish. Her womanhood does not stay with her, and even in this new male state she hasn't the judgement to make good decisions. Steriotypically speaking she has the balls of a man without his brains.

Continue reading "Betrayal of Feminism" »

Display of Feminism by Thelma and Louise

My definition of feminism is the belief that there should be equality between men and women in every setting/situation. I think feminism was portrayed well in Thelma and Louise. Some scenes that highlight their betrayal of feminism include: smoking and drinking at the bar/restaurant, carrying guns, robbing the convenient store, arresting a cop, and breaking the law in every possible way. In other words, they were doing it like men. Thelma and Louise broke all the stereotypical mold of how a woman should act in society. It is hard to just use one scene from the movie because they all intertwine, especially all the ones regarding the gun that started it all. I felt the gun had a huge influence on their change/development throughout the movie. When they first interacted with Thelma’s husband’s gun there was a sense of fear and ignorance. Even though Louise was more knowledgeable about the gun she wanted nothing to do with it. Later in the movie when Thelma was going to be raped the gun was used for the first time without hesitation. They panicked and ran after the shot was fired but they did not regret shooting the guy. The second time the gun was being used was to rob the convenient store, and it shows how much Thelma has changed in the way she held that gun with confidence. From this point on they have changed, they were using the guns like professionals; they even stole guns from the cop. They then set out to teach disrespectful men a lesson. As the movie progresses I think it really shows their belief on equality, and people (the police) started to treat them no difference than men who break the law. Thelma and Louise really set out on their road trip feeling like they were less than men (Thelma feeling like she had to ask for permission) but by the end of the movie they were looking/demanding for equality (Thelma no longer cared what her husband thought). I enjoyed this movie the most out of all the ones we have watched in class.

Thelma and Louise

Feminism is the movement to achieve gender equality in terms of rights and opportunities. Feminism is not women striving to be equal to men. We want to be different, but on the same playing field. I, for one, do not want to be compared to a man.
In the film Thelma and Louise, many restrictions to women are broken, but they are unable to break free and define feminism. Instead, their entire journey is a betrayal to feminism. From the very beginning of the film, Thelma and Louise are placed into positions stereotypically held by women, a waitress and a homemaker. Until the very end, they are unable to shed themselves of these "womanly" roles. Louise is constantly mothering, telling Thelma what she can and cannot do, like order a drink. Thelma can't even leave for the trip without asking permission from her husband, and when she neglects to do this, he yells at her. Once they have set out on their "liberating" road trip, they don't last a day without being shoved back down into anti-feminist positions. Harlen sexually and physically abuses Thelma, proving that women are not safe on the road. Thelma and Louise rely on Jimmy at one point for money. Louise loses independence and resorts to having him get them money. Once the money is stolen by J.D., they learn to acquire it on their own, thanks to J.D.'s teachings. Their crimes are made comical. I was laughing watching Thelma pull of the robbery. Thelma and Louise are only a baby step into women's freedom and feminism in films. Many of their actions above show that they still rely on men for subsistence and that they could not have made it as far as they did without men.

Thelma & Louise

“…feminism has to do with responsibility, equality, sensitivity, understanding…? (Sturken 11)

My definition of feminism is the equality of both sexes within the social standards. In the film Thelma & Louise I believe that they do not betray feminism. It seems like the two characters in the film were trying to show that women can be capable of becoming outlaws. During their journey it is possible that Thelma and Louise to develop a female friendship with one another.
They first become outlaws when Louise kills a man who was arrogant and tried to rape Thelma. Throughout the film they tried to show that they are capable of using a gun, a sign in which it is usually masculine. In the film Hal and the other men were shocked. They did not know that she was capable of such a situation. The men were even shocked when Thelma robbed the store, and did not think it was capable that she could do a thing like that either. Throughout the film Hal was trying to understand the two women, such as when he tells Louise on the phone that he knew what had happened to her in Texas. They were always waiting on the women to call. Thelma and Louise kind of changed that perspective as Hal and the other men were waiting on the women for a change.

Betrayal of Feminism

"Women either pay dearly for their openmindedness toward men or reject men totally." -- Elayne Rapping (Hollywood Sets the Terms of the Debate in Cineaste, Dec. 1991)

One could argue that Thelma and Louise (1991) betrays feminism on the highest level. In my view of feminism, the movement is about women having an equal standing on the playing field of life (aka: equality and equal rights with men). This film could have been a landmark for feminism had it taken the time to flesh out the characters to the degree that we see of their male counterparts in other films of the road and/or action film [i.e.: we were presented with more depth about James Bond's motivations in Casino Royale (2006)].

Thelma and Louise (1991) presents women as relatively binary characters (as Rapping points out) who are either completely unwilling to trust their male counterparts (Louise) or jump right into bed with one mere hours after facing the trauma of nearly being raped (Thelma). Either way, the actions of the characters seem disingenuous and hollow when subjected to any depth of scrutiny.

Their actions (the lack of emotional exploration after the near rape of Thelma and the killing of Harlan) follow the typical pattern set up for audiences by the Hollywood machine: That female characters (despite being the titular characters) are not important enough to provide adequate personality depth and realistic motivations. It would have been far more realistic and true to the character to show some of the emotional tumult associated with the attempted rape by and subsequent killing of Harlan, which is a sequence of events that would seemingly dog most people. But, no, the audience is shown one sequence of shots in which Louise and Thelma brood over the events, and relatively little heed is given to the emotional consequences of the events throughout the rest of the film (the legal consequences yes, but the emotional ones...definitely not).

Then Thelma, despite nearly being horribly violated by a male stranger, picks up and and has sex with a better looking male stranger (J.D.) in what appears to be less than 48 hours of the attack by Harlan. I can't think of a single women who would be comfortable with doing that. But, Thelma participates in a risky sexual act in order to assure audiences that "all is well" and "normalcy of an active libido can be found after attempted rape".

No, these women are presented as being merely shallow and unidimensional, so audience members of both genders can relate (thus satisfying the dominant 'male gaze' to which audiences are accustomed), thus making this film one that betrays the spirit of feminism.

Betrayal to Feminism

Throughout history, women have not been viewed to be men's equals. Feminism has this oppresive history in mind as it attempts to bridge the gap that has been created between men and women. Not only is it trying to help men realize that women are their equals, but is also helping women to believe that they should be treated as such. It is also a way to help women be free of the idea that they have to be dependent on men. For the most part, Thelma & Louise tries to portray this concept, but it could be argued that feminism is betrayed at certain points in the film.
One point in particular where I saw feminism being betrayed was Louise's reliance on her boyfriend Jimmy. Whereas Thelma took matters into her own hands to obtain money for them, Louise called Jimmy in desperate need of money. Her whole plan of escape revolves around him sending the money to her. By turning to him, she is making herself helpless and her entire future depends on this man. On top of that, he does not even listen to her when she tells him not to come meet her. He clearly thinks he knows best, and perhaps does not think of her as his equal. It is because Louise looked to a man in her moment of vulnerability that makes this movie a slight betrayal to feminism.

Feminism Can Include Ass-kicking

Is anyone here thinking for themselves? Just because the question is "Does Thelma and Louise betray feminism?", that doesn't require that you answer yes.

1. The plot was entirely driven by women making their own decisions, advocating for themselves, and doing things that made them happy. In my version of feminism, it's a betrayal to judge other women (real or fictional) for decisions that you don't like. The incessant judgment by many of the other writers on this blog over Thelma's sexual decisions is anti-feminist and participates in our culture of slut-shaming. What happened to celebrating sexual power?

2. If this were billed as an action movie, or if we weren't watching it in this course, no one would think twice about the violence. Personally, I think it's an exaggerated version of what women wish they did when they get cat called on the street. I find it hard to believe that so few women in the class are willing to admit that they empathize with the anger, hurt, sadness, and lowness that you can feel when someone reduces you to your body parts.

3. This film isn't supposed to be and shouldn't be expected to be gender-equal. When films centered around men are gender-equal, then films from women should be, but until then, women film makers have the right to fight fire with fire. Putting down the power that these women exercise in the film on the basis that it isn't gender-equal is a double standard.

As the saying goes, I'll be post-feminism when we're post patriarchy. But until then, I reserve the right to want to punch someone out who tries to objectify and degrade me.

Betrayal Disguised as Empowering

I have come to believe that feminism is the idea of equality for both genders, not just women; while still setting forth positive and forward-moving actions. With that in mind, I think that the night at the hotel shows the betrayal of feminism, because both Thelma and Louise lose themselves in the moments with their respective male visitors. Thelma loses her inhibitions as J.D. recounts his days of robberies to her, without which she wouldn't have gotten the idea to rob a convenience store for money. She also wouldn't have been so careless to leave a thief in her room with Louise's money, which was careless and let down her friend. As strong as Louise starts out, she slowly lets her guard down when her boyfriend appears, with the promise of marriage. They then spend the night together, which seems to soften Louise's previously strong resolve. At the climax of the hotel scenes, I observed a very obvious role reversal between the women, when Louise breaks down upon discovery of the stolen money.

This is ovbiously not the only example of a bertayal of feminism, but there are so many examples roled into one "night". The film seems empowering as two women make a bonding trip across state lines; however their strong, aggressive, and sometimes violent personalities do not exemplify a positive and gender-equal film. The lead detective is even seen not as an equal to the women, but more passive and "traditionally" female by being soft on them and overly sensitive, instead of treating the two women like the fugitives that they are. Through out the film, the two women are constantly shown as aggressive and head-strong, and the most of the men they encounter become pawns in their journey until their death. Was it another punishment for taking their sisterly bonding onto the road? Perhaps.

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.

Blame the rapist

Feminism is the term I use to name my entire ideological and political belief system. It is based on the simple idea that everyone should have a fair, and equal shot at having a good life. There are in society many hierarchies and norms that constrain different people's lives in different ways; and these should all be dismantled. So my feminism advocates for things like the equal treatment of men and women, but also encompasses ideas about the unfairness of the prison system, trade systems like NAFTA, issues around all aspects of religion, and so on.

Feminism was betrayed in various, perhaps minor, ways in the movie; though I am resistant to use the word betray. One importatn example occurs towards the beginning of the movie, after the rape and killing of the rapists. Thelma and Louise are at a diner trying to decide what they should do. Thelma suggests going to the cops and explaining the whole situation. Louise's response is that they can't do that because Thelma had been dancing seductively with that man.

Continue reading "Blame the rapist" »

Thelma and Louise

Feminist is someone (any sex or gender) that believes in the equality of women and men. Feminism is the act of advocating for women’s rights in social, political, and economic terms. I also think that it includes the history of Feminists and their movements, theories, etc.

In “Thelma and Louise? Feminism is betrayed in a couple of ways but the biggest way that I think it is betrayed is through the actions that the women take throughout the film The women are out to find a way to justify the reasons they were betrayed by men. They end up becoming violent and destructive It seems that they are just releasing some anger and rage that has been built up, they are not constructively finding a way to change and overcome their upsets.

I do think this is a let down to Feminism because the women are not strong, conscious, and intelligent models of Feminists. They end up out of control and impulsive, which hasn’t gotten us anywhere. Yes, they are “doing? acts which seem to portray them having power, and they are definitely making statements, but they aren’t doing it in a manner that will evoke change, men are still going to think of them the same way, as crazy, out of control women, who can’t handle their emotions.

March 9, 2008

Are they really free?

I define feminism as a movement that not only seeks to create a world where men and women are equal, but also where everyone is equal, regardless of societal status, gender, or race. Equality is the main theme of feminism, but many people think is only focuses on women.

I believe that Thelma and Louise betrays this idea of feminism. While the women are on the road and appear to be free, they are still being controlled by rape by men, by their husbands and boyfriends, and by the male police officer. It is because of rape that the two women take to the open road. If a man hadn't stepped in, none of it would have ever happened. Louise seems to be very affected by her rape experience in Texas long after it happened. It still had power over her. Thelma seeks male attention even after she breaks free of her husband's control and ends up getting taken advantage of again. When she is forcing the police officer into the back of the police car she says, “Be nice to your wife, my husband wasn't nice to me and look how I turned out.? She basically gives her husband credit for her new freedom. The only one to hopes to clear their names is a male police officer. We never see any women in the film with strong political or governmental authority. I do not believe that Thelma and Louise are therefore equal. No character comes to a realization of the oppression of women from this film and from the actions of either woman. It seems as if life will simply go on without them. Louise often tells Thelma that she needs to shut up or stop being so open. There is still oppression even within the relationship of the two women. They encourage each other to adhere silence. The only way that Thelma and Louise can truly be free is to kill themselves and I don't think that's much of a liberation.

Thelma and Louise

Okay, I don't really know what Feminism is suppose to mean. But, I will tell you what I think it is actually suppose to be. Feminism is when a woman take a stance and takes pride in being a woman and the way she is. In today's world, I think when someone hears Feminism, it seems like a woman is saying that they are fighting for equality and is completely on the other side of the argument. However, I think feminsim means just being proud of however you are, as a woman.

Did Thelma and Louise go against feminsim?

I can't really tell you. Because in my definition of a feminism, it is taking pride in being a woman. And I believe that Thelma and Louise took pride in being a woman. So, in that terms- I don't think the film has betrayed the definition. I love the parts of the film, whenever a guy tries to make a woman look down, Thelma and Louise makes them feel sorry for their opinion. Because a woman is neither below nor above a man. So, I really liked the scene where they blow up the truck drivers truck because he didn't say sorry for insulting woman and making woman a sexual object. And they made him pay for it. Also, I am so glad that they decided to shoot that guy/ rapist. He deserved it.

Some might say that the film has gone against the term feminism, in terms of clothing. For example, clothings worn by Louise was always more of a manly style. But, I don't think that really matters. It does make Louise look a little like a Lesbian, because of the way she acts. Like strong and manly.

Also, if you hear someone is feminist these days. People ask, oh...she must be a lesbian. So, I don't think that only a lesbian can be a feminist or a gay can be a feminist. I think any one who takes pride in being a woman and carries herself well, is a feminist.

Overall, I liked the film.

Thelma and Louise

Thelma and Louise betrays feminism most explicitly in the scene where both Thelma and Louise "ruminate" over the money stolen by J.D. "Feminism" is an ideological position that attempts to champion sexual equality in the general terms terms of the social, political, economic, etc. The film masquerades as a feminist piece very often, but this particular instance deftly exposes its intellectual dishonesty. Thelma is portrayed here as absolutely naive and conceited, assuming that her recent sexual encounter with J.D. stemmed purely from her attractiveness and not realizing the seriousness of the situation--she's like a child. Louise, on the other hand, who seems more experienced and capable of making sound judgments, is reduced to a blithering mess of sobbing helplessness. It's not the showing of fallible characters that marks the crudeness of the film's "feminism," but the fact that the heroines are completely and utterly idiotic and incapable of, essentially, competing with a young man. J.D outplays the two both physically and mentally, and there is no underlying reason to suppose that the women should even be given the freedom to do as they wish. According to this scene alone, one would rightfully assume that women are inferior to men and that they basically botch every chance they get to escape. Ignoring the arguably immoral aggressiveness displayed by the women (towards men) in later scenes, the film has very few real-world connection to the values of feminism as it is commonly understood.

The strong and the brave

My definition of feminism is the fight for equality. Feminism has the fight for equality of sexes at the foresight of the battle. I believe that feminism at its core takes into the consideration of the equality for all, regardless of your sex, race, class, age, religion, sexuality, or ability. Feminism is concerned with social justice and all its pillars. Feminist activists understand the interconnectedness of oppression.

Continue reading "The strong and the brave" »

Betray? Let's not be so dramatic.

I think using the word betray is a bit overdramatic. There are certain aspects of the movie that do go against what I think of as feminism, but the overall attitude and theme of the movie seems in line with feminism to me. First, my definition of feminism includes the basics, like equality in the workplace and home. I also see feminism as a concept that affirms a human’s (woman’s) basic right to make her own choices and go her own way.

One scene that I think of as against the idea of feminism is in the beginning of the film, when Thelma and Louise are talking about getting ready to leave over the phone. Both women talk about Thelma asking Darryl for his permission for her to go away for the weekend with Louise. This part of the discussion isn’t filled with Louise’s usual sarcastic comments about and disdain for Thelma’s husband. Both women seem to accept the idea that she needs permission from him to take a little trip. Even Louise, who I see portrayed as fairly free from masculine influence.

A positive feminist view or not?

Thelma and Louise doesn't exacatally present feminism in the way that I usually think of it. However, I think that at the time the movie was released it presented a real break through in the way that people viewed women and their rights. Rape in the late 80's, early 90's wasn't usually thought of as a violation of women/s bodies or rights. Most people probably would have thought that Thelma was "asking for it" by dancing with Harlin for so close and for so long. By showing the violantion that rape actually involves in the case of Thelma, and the anger and hurt that it can perminantly cause in the case of Louise. I think that this awareness alone is a huge step forward for feminism in films, but that said there are parts of the movie that were not steps forward for feminism. Thelmas character does not protray a strong feminism example when after almost being raped she willingly sleeps with another strange man a few days later. Who while the intraction is mutal, betrayed and used her just like all the other men in her life have.

I Disagree With All Of You

"Thelma & Louise's ideological agenda has caused exceptionally polarized debate. The film has been variously interpreted as feminist manifesto (the heroine are ordinary women, driven to extraordinary ends by male oppression) and as profoundly anti-feminist (the heroines are dangerous phallic caricatures of the very macho violence they're supposedly protesting). Some critics have discerned a lesbian subtest (that final soul kiss at the abyss); others interpret this as a meaningful negation of feminine friendship that flies in the face of patriarchal authority. (Greenberg, P.20)

Feminism in my opinion can mean equality between men and women.

I believe this part of the Greenberg article was particularly useful in interpreting the various opinions that some people may have about the movies and contrasting them with others. It is my opinion that this film is the zenith of what feminism should be. The women are able to successfully define their own future and decide what they want to do. Initially, the women do have some trouble getting their feminist road defined. For example, in the first part of the film, Thelma was playing the devoting wife, asking what her husband wants, fixing his watch when he demands it, and cooing in his ear with comforting messages of ego-boosting vocabulary. Thelma leaves that idiot and them succumbs to the flirting diner patron, whatever his name was. To many audiences, this may seem as though it were a betrayal of what feminism should be. I view it differently. Louise although she seems as though she were the more rational of the twins, does not present herself as free from her temptations to the attention of males. Her finance was a temptation that could have made her go back to a typical woman role of being subservient housewife however, she decided to do what she wanted to do, not what she thought would be the most appropriate.

I believe that this particular film does not betray what feminism is. Perhaps it is because I am Asian. I believe that the women chose what they wanted to do and made choices based on what they felt would be best for themselves, not others for a change. Thelma may seem like a cheap tramp who flirts and does dirty things. However, American society believes that a woman should be pure and clean whether women want to be or not. Thelma was simply going against what society was telling her to do. Louise was similar with the way she teaches the men around her that women have a right to stand up for themselves and have the power to make their own decisions. Women are humans, not robots who are make decisions based on how they feel and want. Women sometimes fall to temptations and get back on the right track. This film shows women treating people the way they treat others. It should be exceptionally motivating and interesting.


The decision to turn outlaw

Thelma & Louise betrays feminism because Thelma and Louise do not act of their own volition but are driven into a downward plot spiral engaging in more and more lawless behavior only because of men. “The murder of the would-be rapist, the male aggressor, triggers a plunge into a romantic outlaw scenario.? (Cineaste Round Table Discussion, Dec. 1991, Vol. 18, no. 4. WebVISTA “Hollywood Sets the Terms of the Debate?) If feminism could be stated as the belief that regardless of gender people should be free to make choices and act of their own volition without discrimination or force then Thelma & Louise is not a feminist film. When Thelma and Louise set out on their original road trip they are doing it to get away from their male partners even if only for a day or two. However when Harlan attempts to rape Thelma and Louise shoots him they become outlaws because of their belief that no one will believe that their shooting was justified because of the social stigma that women who are hanging all over men on the dance floor are “asking for it.? If Thelma and Louise had decided to become outlaws then it would be a feminist film – women determining their own course without social interference because of their proscribed gender roles. However since Thelma and Louise had no desire to become outlaws at the start of the movie and are only made to become lawless because of their gender the film is not a feminist film. It was also directed by a man and how can you have a feminist film directed by a man?

Thelma & Louise: Feminism or no?

I believe Thelma and Louise presents feminism in a very blunt way. The way that they use the automobile as a thing of power in the video, and the way they talk to men or yell at them about the way they respond to women. I definitely thinks its a very common response for a feminist. The part of the film where Thelma shoots the guy that tries to rape Louise- she speaks to him with such anger and disgust, and she shoots him without even a second thought. Afterwards she seems to be shaken up but not regretting her decision. She felt he deserved it. And you can tell that she was driven by fear and understanding- she had experienced sexual assault and obviously is still not healed, and this comes out in the way she responds to the situation with Louise. She is an angry woman, and she has every right to be. That's feminism.

To me, feminism is an understanding that our world is structured around gender, it is the knowledge that we will receive certain treatment just because we are women, and being a woman will largely determine the path you will take in life. Being a feminist means you are committed to work towards a world where women are treated as equals, and working towards giving women a better life then they have today.

Does Thelma and Louise Describe Feminism?

"It would be easy to dismiss much of the debate about feminism and Thelma and Louise as a kind of anit-feminist backlash. But it was clearly more complex, in particular because many feminists were opposed to the film. The debate was rather over whose feminism the film represented, and the relationship of women to both anger and violence," (Sturken 11). I would describe feminism as the basic fight for equal rights. Feminists believe in the equality of the sexes. One sex should not be above another. There should be no supieriority or inferiority between the sexes. Feminists believe in a basic egalitarian society. I think that there are parts of Thelma and Louise that betray feminism and there are parts that don't. One point of the movie that proves feminism was a part of the movie was when Louise tells Harlen that when someone says no, they mean no. Just because someone is a woman doesn't mean that she shouldn't be heard. A point in the movie that betrays feminism is when there is the body shot of Thelma in her bikini. She is portrayed as a sexual object. We look at her as an object and nothing else, which is a step back from the feminist perspective. I think that this movie goes back and forth with what it was trying to portray but for its time, it was extremely influential.

Thelma and Louise: Betrayal of Feminism

To me, feminism represents the fight for equality between the sexes. It is the defiance of society’s gender ideals that were the norm until only a few decades ago. I think that it stands for women’s autonomy and the ability to live without relying on men. Although Thelma and Louise attempts to break from the typical road film, there are several aspects of the film that seem to betray feminism. For example, throughout the film, the women play the role of the victims. One major aspect of the film that betrays feminism is found in the response given by Louise’s to Thelma’s reactions to the attempted rape. Thelma looks to her for reassurance after the incident, asking whether Louise thought that it was her fault. Louise doesn’t reassure her at all, which leads viewers to believe that she partly thought it was her fault. This scene represents a major hurdle that women have had to overcome; that in incidences of rape, women are victims and are not at all responsible for what has happened to them. For this reason, this particular scene in Thelma and Louise dramatically betrays feminism, despite the film’s attempt to break from the typical road movie genre.

Running Away from Feminism

When I think of what the word feminism means my thoughts wonder to the women's liberation movement which began in the 60's and gained momentum with conscious raising. The movement stood for equality of all sexes and the right for women to choose how they want to live their lives and be able to seek self-fulfillment through establish relationships with other women instead of competing. I see feminism in the same way; equality for all to have choice, to be in control of their own life story. Many feminist praise the film Thelma and Louise for breaking gender roles and establishing a women's perspective. However, in light of the meaning behind feminism, I see the film more as Thelma and Louise running away from feminism and swapping gender roles with men only to never coming back.

In the beginning of the film, both Thelma and Louise are living lives they didn't want to chose, lives that provide them with fulfillment and a sense of purpose. When they attempt to do something by themselves by taking a weekend trip, they run into a man that is intent on causing harm. Louise responds with violence, as stereotyped in the male gender role, by shooting him. From that point on Thelma and Louise reject feminism and stay in the role of a male by fleeing the scene and becoming fugitives instead of reporting the rape to the police. I think the last scene in the film best displays their complete betrayal of feminism. It is the two of them up against the man (the fleet of police officers) and instead of fighting for feminism and the equality for women and take the easy way out by going off the cliff. If Thelma and Louise would have faced the police officers they may have been but in jail, but they could have taken the opportunity to be advocates for other women and create awareness of violence towards women. Some may see Thelma and Louise driving off the cliff as choosing self-fulfillment, but I see it more as choosing to let other women continue to be victims of men just as they had.

Feminists Thelma and Louise?

By definition, "Feminism" is the belief in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. In Thelma and Louise, I don`t think there was ever a thought of being equal with th mankind. Au contraire, I would say "revenge" became their one motive on the road. Being betrayed by men, both women found an opportunity to get even with any men that did no treat them like ladies. It shows a big weakness since they never get even with the actual men that hurt them. Epecially for Thema, it was probably like a liberation since she`s been abused for so many years and called useless by her own husband.
By blowing up the "naughty" driver`s truck, they were of course giving him a lesson and teachiing him how he should treat and respect a woman. But let`s think about it; although they had all the right reasons to act in such a way, the fact tha feminism is the equality between men and women, will the reactions be the same if Thelma and Louise were men and the truck driver a woman?? I don`t think so. Their actions were driven more by revenge than equality or fairness.

Feminism at best?

If feminism truly is the search for equality of the sexes, Thelma and Louise have achieved this quest greatly. Around the time of their escapades, it was unthought of for women to be criminals, murderers, and in a sense, top dogs. They were the above the law throughout a lot of their journey, unable to be tracked and doing as they please. We finally see the equality when they are being chased by the police in the ending scene. The police seemed to be a little more lenient in the beginning because they were women and seemed to be a less dangerous. However, at the end, they used the same amount of force and threat that they would with a group of male criminals. It was even said that these women are extremely dangerous and should be treated as such despite their sex. In Thelma and Louise we see that women need to be treated equally for protection of people around the world.

Thelma and Louise

One scene that I believe betrays the feminism that many claim is inherent to the film is a scene after Harlan has been killed and Thelma and Louise are sitting in a restaurant/diner discussing what happened and what they are going to do. They start to argue and Thelma asks Louise if what had happened was her fault. Louise gives no answer and says nothing. The fact that Louise says nothing in response indicates that she believes that it is Thelma's fault. This is where feminism is betrayed. As I see it, feminism is a belief that women can act independent of and without reliance on men, and also that women are not the root of all problems and mistakes. Here Louise's lack of an answer differs from my idea of feminism because she disproves it by blaming Thelma for her rape, something which is very common in our society that always blames women for enticing men and "asking for it". She does not refute the idea that Thelma deserved what happened to her. This seems very antifeminist and not fitting with the general ideas of the film. There is a moment near the end of the film where it would have been appropriate for Louise to say that it is not Thelma's fault, but again she does not do what she should do and affirm the idea that Thelma is not to blame.

Thelma and J.D.: Betrayal at First Glance

“…Thelma and Louise seems to undercut, or perhaps complicate, much of its feminist critique […] her encounter with J.D. will in fact lead to her first fulfilling sexual experience […] he is the “sex object,? yet he instructs her, standing above her, in the how-to of being an outlaw […] the narrative has “taught? her through the authority of the male (Laderman 190).?

To me, feminism strives for female equality to men in all aspects of like (politically, economically, ect.). I believe it also has to do with how the female is represented in popular culture, with an emphasis on empowerment, and at times, females demonstrating traditionally “masculine? characteristics (strong, competitive, and dominant).

Though the 1991 film Thelma and Louise has strong feminist qualities, in several ways it presents a contradictory message. The specific scene (or relationship) I am choosing to bring out this betrayal of feminist ideology is that of Thelma and J.D.’s sexual experience. From the first encounter with J.D., Thelma is determined to have the object of her desire. When Thelma sees J.D. in the side mirror, she immediately begins doing herself up, going through the traditional female beautification for her man. Later in the bedroom, she is turned on by his rough, outlaw nature, which is seen as a negative (or unreal) characteristic for a woman to possess. J.D. “plays? robber for Thelma, and as Laderman points out, this is the model Thelma uses later when robbing the gas station – she makes up her mistake to Louise, but does so using the male (J.D.’s) model.

Intercut in the same scene is Louise and Jimmy’s more mature relationship. Louise takes a stronger approach to Jimmy’s advances, but uses the phrase “You get what you settle for,? and keeps Jimmy’s engagement ring, a symbol of being dominated or owned by a man.

This scene of the two women with their men brings their reliance/concern with men throughout the film to a head. This ultimately aids in their demise, as Jimmy and J.D. both give information to the police about their whereabouts, and J.D. forces Thelma to steal to regain their depleted funds, which also gives the police more information on their whereabouts and a crime to charge them with.

Men as Perpetrator/Solution

Thelma and Louise betrays feminism through the actions of Thelma. She is nearly raped by a man outside of a bar. The next day is begging Louise to let J.D. ride along with them, because she likes the way his butt looks. I find it very hard to believe that a woman who is violated, as Thelma was by Harlan, would be actively seeking another man so shortly after the incident. The fact that she sleeps with J.D. after Harlan's rape attempt and murder betrays feminism. Cooper says that Thelma's actions send a message that "the only thing an unhappy woman needs is good sex to make everything all right." Feminism is a concept which is supposed to unite and liberate women. Thelma's actions show that women are weak by themselves and dependent on men.

March 8, 2008

betrayal of feminism

When I think of feminism the first thing that comes to mind is female empowerment; the advocacy of women's rights and equality with men in social, political, and economic arenas. Although Thelma and Louise do embody characteristics of feminism throughout the film, one specific scene stands out as a betrayal to feminism. Thelma has just been almost brutally raped and has witnessed a murder, however she wants to pick up J.D., a strange man who appeals to her because of his nice rear end. The specific scene I'm speaking of is the hotel scene in which she invites J.D. in to spend the night and without a second thought, even after he tells her he is a bank robber, has sex with him. Thelma has just been the victim of sexual objectification and brutality, yet trusts a man she knows nothing about to come into her hotel room when she is completely alone. It is not only unrealistic, but a betrayal to feminism. Rape victims are often emotionally and physically scarred, certainly not willing to sleep with a stranger. It also puts into perspective ones perogative as a woman and the injustice of the legal system in such cases. Like Louise said, they couldn't go to the police because no one would believe them. Since Thelma was dancing with Harlan "cheek to cheek" that must have indicated that she somehow wanted or deserved it. Instead of standing up for her rights as a woman she turns to a man for pleasure and assurance. She even shows Louise a hickie on her neck the next morning at breakfast, a symbol of male dominance, as if she's proud of it. While it may have been a freeing moment for her character, one could most definitely view it as a betrayal of feminism.