Friday, April 7, 2017

The Arrival of Women as Real People in Movies

In the movie “Arrival” gender is not the obvious main focus but there are some gender roles that are not typical for a 21st century movie. In "Arrival", the world tries to figure out why aliens dropped twelve spaceships on earth. One landed in the U.S. and a team was put together to communicate with them and try to figure out why they were there. The main character, Louise (Amy Adams), is portrayed as a strong, intelligent and independent woman. In a lot of movies, the main character is not a woman and if there is a women in the movie her role is usually related to sex and how she portrays herself to a man. However, in this movie the focus is on Louise’s talent and skills. Even though at the end of the movie Louise and the other main character, Ian (Jeremy Renner), fall in love, Louise is not objectified.

Louise is a quiet woman who lives alone and focuses on her work as a professor in language after losing her daughter. When the aliens land, Louise is called by the U.S. government to try to communicate with them. “You’re at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to translations,” says the Colonel from Army intelligence. Louise is looked at as a smart women instead of an object that is only good for sex. A way in which Louise shows her strength and confidence is when she is on the spaceship and is trying to communicate with them, she takes of her suit that protects her from any unearthly substances and says “they need to see me.” Adams is dedicated, fearless, and professional and is trying to get her job done. She is in control of herself and her job and shows her strength instead of being the “damsel in distress.” This is contrasting to most action films like the James Bond and the Mission Impossible movies which portray women as sex objects.

Towards the end of the movie after the aliens are all figured out, Louise and Ian fall in love and the attention is off of her work and onto them as a couple for a brief time. Ian asks Louise “Do you want to make a baby?” this obviously implies that he wants to have sex with her, but I still do not think she is objectified at all in this movie. Also, most of the clothes she wore in the movie are not objectifying; she wore professional clothes, however, she was also not portraying the “ugly woman” stereotype. Louise is not shown as a sex object but is also not shown as “unfeminine” either.

This movie breaks the typical female character stereotype and focuses on a real person with real characteristics, instead of just her appearance. This is not the only work in culture that portrays a truly powerful female character. The Movie “Courage Under Fire” and T.V. shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” are all examples of works of culture that show strong, independent women.

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