28 February 2014

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Gone with the Wind (1939)


"Why does a girl have to be so silly to catch a husband?"

OK, this one is a challenge, because you can interpret it both ways. You could argue that - as in the case of Dirty Dancing, for example - there's not much empowerment or feminism to be found in Gone with the Wind (1939). It's racist. It's androcentric. It's about a privileged girlie facing the world and looking for a man to shelter her from the reality.

But here comes the trick: she ends up having to do stuff for herself. On her own. And that is revolutionary. Well, especially for a Hollywood studio superproduction of 1939 and a novel (written by a woman, take note) describing realities of a Southern-belle suddenly thrown into a turmoil.

Our impulse for including Gone with the Wind among our suggestions come from this article in Spanish critical feminist magazine (google translate should be able to help you!). They ask the following question: how come that even people aware of all those shortcomings (when it comes to aspiring towards empowering feminist fiction) do find it inspirational and somehow - backwardly - groundbreaking?

Their answer goes along the lines of recognizing the qualities of the heroine. Because beyond the superficial persona that Scarlett puts up in order to - very strategically! - try to attract a good match for marriage there is strong person able to grow and overcome the loss of privilege and vanity. An additional credit has to be given for the courage to admit - although through pain and not by choice - that there is life beyond romance and coupledom. And to the conviction that "tomorrow is another day". Resilience, therefore.

By the way, reading the book is always a good idea, too.

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