And so she’ll work until infinity… Three cheers for femininity…

I adore a good classic Hollywood film but one can only endure so many hours of TCM before any self-respecting woman finds herself tired of the misogyny.

Am I the only woman (or man) who is put off when there’s blatant sexism and misogyny in a film?  It leaves a rather bad taste in my mouth.

Current blockbusters certainly aren’t free from misogyny but we live in a more liberated time for women and the sexist aspects of films are not usually so overt; or they are at least cast in a negative light rather than an accepted way of life.

I’ve been working from home all day and that means having TCM playing in the background (okay, perhaps I’ve done more viewing than working).  To a certain degree, if you’re going to watch classic films, you simply have to put up with the outdated portrayals of gender and race.  A film is often going to be a reflection of the society which produced it.  I have to remind myself not to expect more than what a particular film’s society had achieved up until it’s creation.

There is also the argument that we have become overly self conscious about how we depict people in music, art, and films and that that has been to the detriment of the art itself.  This sort of whitewashing of life is certainly not ideal.  Given the option I will always prefer the gritty portrayal of reality to a rose-colored misrepresentation.

Films needn’t always be politically correct but I am certainly more drawn to those which take a provocative and rebellious stand against our more questionable norms.  It is my hope though that life does not come to imitate art and as a consequence perpetuate the objectification and abuse of women in our society.

I enjoy romance as much as the next woman but I could use a good Katharine Hepburn film right about now.  Where’s an airing of  Adam’s Rib or Sylvia Scarlett when you need it?

Hepburn was a trouser-wearing, strong-willed, anti-damsel in distress and daughter of a real-life suffragist.  She was proof that you may not always be popular with the “good ol’ boys” but you could certainly make it in Hollywood as a strong-spirited woman.  She even portrayed a literary feminist icon, Jo March, in an adaptation of one of my absolute favorite books, “Little Women”

What finally tipped me over the proverbial edge, today?  A song from Hello, Dolly. It’s not a great musical but don’t fret, Dolly (Barbara Streisand) gets a few licks in.  Of course they’re usually in the form of too-few lines following chauvinistic outbursts from her love-interest, Horace (why a supposedly independent character is so in love with him is beyond me).  here is one of Horace’s songs:

“It Takes A Woman”

Vandergelder:
It takes a woman all powdered and pink
To joyously clean out the drain in the sink
And it takes an angel with long golden lashes
And soft dresden fingers
For dumping the ashes
Yes it takes a woman
A dainty woman
A sweetheart, a mistress, a wife

Cornelius, Barnaby, & 2 customers:
O yes it takes a woman
A fragile woman
To bring you the sweet things in life

Vandergelder:
The frail young maiden who’s constantly there
For washing and blueing and shoeing the mare
And it takes a female for setting the table
And weaving the Guernsey
And cleaning the stable

All:
O yes it takes a woman
A dainty woman
A sweetheart, a mistress, a wife
O yes it takes a woman
A fragile woman
To bring you the sweet things in life

And so she’ll work until infinity
Three cheers for femininity
God bless femininity

Vandergelder:
And in the winter she’ll shovel the ice
And lovingly set out the traps for the mice
She’s a joy and treasure for practically speaking
To whom can you turn when the plumbing is leaking?

Vandergelder, Cornelius, & Barnaby:
To That dainty woman
That fragile woman
That sweetheart, that mistress, that wife
That womanly wife

O yes it takes a woman

Vandergelder:
A husky woman

Vandergelder, Cornelius, & Barnaby:
To bring you the sweet things in life!

All:
O Yes it takes a woman
A dainty woman
A sweetheart, a mistress, a wife
O yes it takes a woman, a fragile woman
To bring you the sweet things in life.

nauseating.

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