Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Movie Time ~ Mona Lisa Smile and Feminism

            Last night, amid the misery of dealing with allergies and being unable to sleep, I passed the time watching Netflix. After watching a fantastic independent film about a Muslim woman and a Jewish man who fell in love, and revisiting my childhood with Honey We Shrunk Ourselves, I was browsing the categories and came across Mona Lisa Smile. This is a ten year old movie starring Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, and Julia Stiles. It takes place in the early 50’s, at an all female college in New England. Here’s a link to the IMBd page:
            This was my first time watching the movie and it quickly became a favorite, because it was dealing with my absolute favorite (or second favorite, who’s keeping track) f word. Feminism in the 50’s, when WWII was over and many women were expected to quietly leave the workforce and return to their place in the home. Except the new art professor, Katherine Watson, doesn’t see it that way. She wants her students to make the choice, to have a career and a family if that is what they want. To me watching this, it seemed like the fledgling spirit of the feminist movement.
Katherine echoed my sentiments at one point in the movie. People say we’ve made progress in the last one hundred years, that before then it was unfathomable for a woman to attend college at all. Basically, she was told that we should just shut up and be happy with the progress we’ve made. But to women like Katherine, and myself, that’s not good enough. It’s like when Fox News asserted that because Pagans are allowed to worship without legal repercussions, they should shut up and be happy, and not demand full equal treatment under the law.
That’s not good enough. It won’t be good enough until I have the same opportunities as a Pagan that a Christian does to express my faith in public. It won’t be good enough until as a woman that I don’t have to fear favoritism for Joe Blow over me just because he has a penis. It won’t be good enough.
As a society, we have so much to work towards. As humans, we make so many mistakes. Part of life is changing things for the better, both in society and within ourselves. The day we stop trying is the day we become lost.

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