Two other presentations stood out to me as both creative and higher in level of difficulty, and those presentation included Stacy’s presentation on the many roles of Reese Witherspoon and Mylan’s presentation surrounding gender identity. I would like to comment on both of these presentations as the relate to the overarching themes of our class.
In her presentation on Reese Witherspoon, Stacy identified several films in which Reese served as a strong female lead. These films includes Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions, Sweet Home Alabama, and Election. Stacy pointed out how Reese’s role onscreen seems to correlate with her personal life, as she was both a mother and a busy and successful actress. One of her coworkers in Sweet Home Alabama commented on the “rarity” of this type of woman. Is he correct in saying this is a rarity or is it merely that society has mapped out the image of women and anyone who disturbs this image is a rarity. Another movie Stacy is considering in addition to or alternatively to her chosen movies, it the movie Freeway. In the movie, Reese plays the character Vanessa a teenage girl growing up in the ghetto with a sexually abusive step father and a mother of who is a prostitute. At the beginning of the movie, Vanessa’s boyfriend is murdered in a gang shootout and her mother and step father are arrested. Although the movie is a comedy, it addresses many important and serious issues. As a parody of the Little Red Riding Hood story, Vanessa attempts to go visit her grandmother only to encounter several unique characters along the way. One important character in the seemingly charming but serial rapist and killer who is stalking Vanessa. In the end, Vanessa overcomes both Child Protective Services and this sadistic man. Stacy presented the question: Does it undervalue the strength of these roles that a man is almost always involved in her journey to finding power? I think that having a male present only strengthens her role as the male is typically the one being over powered.
In his presentation on the complicated issues of gender identity, Mylan offered the class two movies to consider along with this topic, Brokeback Mountain and To Wung Fu. These films present two polar opposite views of male homosexuality, one of stereotypical masculine tough homosexual cowboys and alternatively, hyper-feminine drag queens. Mylan expressed his desire and struggle to understand this topic and how to answer a few questions which have no definite answers. As I suggested in class, I believe a journey paper would be the best choice for Mylan on this topic and for his to utilize these movies as a way to understand how heterosexual males can reconcile being accepting of male homosexuality without jeopardizing their masculinity or reputations. I applaud Mylan for his courage attempt to differentiate the causes and ways to better deal with these hard issue. I feel that while our class has presented hard topic, unsolvable issues such as how to reconcile new and different thoughts and lifestyles with your own beliefs and lifestyle.
Thank you to both Stacy and Mylan for these very interesting and insightful presentations!