Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hookers, Victims and Doormats

In Pop and Circumstance, Andi Zeisler asks a hypothetical question: So what could a feminist reclmation of-- or just an improvement on-- pop culture look like?

"Perhaps the juiciest roles for women-- the ones that garner them attention, accolades, and little gold men-- would be something other than, as Shirley MacLaine famously put it, 'hookers, victims, and doormats.' "

Limiting roles of women in film is certainly a topic that has been around for many years. And although there are many that are opposed to them, they are ultimately the roles that garner that Oscar buzz and accolades. When it comes down to giving out awards, roles where women are victimized and where actresses have to transform drastically attract more attention and generate more controversy.

In the Best Actress category, the recent winners/ nominees have been roles where the actresses have had to uglify themselves, gain weight, and transform.

Charlize Theron in Monster and North Country
Nicole Kidman in The Hours
Felicity Huffman in Transamerica
Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones's Diary
Hilary Swank in Milllion Dollar Baby and Boys Don't Cry
Halle Berry in Monster's Ball

Perhaps this mindset in Hollywood plays on the idea that women are constantly trying to change themselves because of the influence of the media.

Meanwhile, in the Supporting Actress category, the winners/ nominees can be narrowed down to helpless mothers, victims, and hookers/ strippers.

In fact, eight women have won the award for playing prostitutes: Anne Baxter (1946), Claire Trevor (1948), Donna Reed (1953), Jo Van Fleet (1955), Dorothy Malone (1956), Shirley Jones (1960), Mira Sorvino (1995) and Kim Basinger (1997).

And there have been countless other roles of prostitutes/ hookers/ strippers that were nominated.

In the 2003 Oscars, 4 of the five nominees were helpless mothers:


  1. And that's why we have Saint Jodie Foster, Patron Saint of feminine heroics.

  2. I've just installed iStripper, and now I can watch the sexiest virtual strippers stripping on my desktop.