In the last century alone, the United States of America has witnessed dozens of equal rights movements. Some of the most significant rights Americans currently enjoy have come out of great struggle and controversy. Whenever a group of citizens protest the way their society views them, whenever they demand change, there is always an external, contradictory force trying to hold them back. Often times, however, there is also controversy within a rights movement; it is not unlikely for ideologies within a movement to clash. The feminist movement(s) of the past thirty years has been considered to be both largely successful, and somewhat of a failure; depending on who one asks.
[...] However, feminist media critics often use these films as examples of a fundamental slip within post-feminism. While these post-feminist films are widely considered “empowering” to women, Pretty Woman and Working Girl, are, as Charlotte Brunsdon puts it; “still white girls' stories focused on an individual's search for what turns out to be a (Brunsdon 289). It could be argued that post-feminism has been successful in achieving some of the goals created by the 1970's feminist movement; if only by buying in to the stereotypes which feminism is opposed to. [...]
[...] Expensive make-up, jewelry, and dresses are seen to extenuate her femininity, and to a point, make her happy. The post-feminist woman, as Brunsdon puts it, neither trapped in femininity, nor rejecting of it. She can use (Brunsdon 292). While feminist media critics may disapprove of the emphasis post-feminist films put on consumerism and unashamed femininity, these aspects do not hurt the cause. In fact, as Brunsdon points out, this can be seen as a step in the right direction. The embracing of femininity is a declaration that there is nothing wrong with it. [...]
[...] Media, and films in particular, have become an extremely vital part of American culture; the way Americans see, act, and even think, are undeniably linked to the films they view. 1970's feminism interpreted the way women were represented in the microcosmic world of film as both a catalyst and a reflection of the way they were viewed in American society. Feminist screen theory maintains that the patriarchal film industry has created negative depictions of women; Laura Mulvey believes that women are displayed as “(passive) raw material for the (active) gaze of (Mulvey 247). [...]
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