Les Miserables

5 Oct

This Christmas, the critically- acclaimed musical, Les Miserables, is coming to the big screen! This is a film that I am really looking forward to, having seen it performed on stage; I think it will be interesting to see how it translates as a film. Setting aside the artistic genius displayed on stage, the story provides several complex issues involving women, one of which I thought related to the recent topics in class.

A female in the musical, Fantine, bares an illegitimate child. Upon discovering this, the women of the town shun her and they band together in hope of having her removed. The men begin thinking of her as a whore.

It is with this mindset that the foreman makes an advance, which Fantine blatantly rejects. Fantine is thrown out because of this.

I find this interesting for multiple reasons:

  1. The women are coming together to tear another woman  apart. It is amazing that they can be so cold to one of their own; however, it is common in so many scenarios. We have seen this in Women and Politics. It occurred during the Women’s Movement and during the introduction of contraceptives. Women will react to the situation without placing them in the other female’s shoes. They don’t think: What if this happened to me?
  2. Although it is frowned upon that Fantine has an illegitimate child, the men encourage it by making advances on her.
  3. The reason she is thrown out is opposing the advance. I think it is the idea of expectation. Society expects you to fit into the mold it creates for you, or else. Women shunned her because she did not fit the mold of a wholesome woman. Men shunned her because she did not fit the stereotype of a slut.I have included the trailer for the movie. It’s EPIC. Check it out.

What do you think the mold for women in society looks like today?

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2 Responses to “Les Miserables”

  1. brittanyposey22 October 7, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    I am so excited to see this movie! It is one of my favorite musicals!!! As for what I think is the mold a woman is supposed to fit into today, I believe it varies from place to place. In America, I would generally say that a woman is expected to juggle working, motherhood, and remain feminine. There is a pressure to be superwoman in a sense I think. I think that women who are not feminine are ridiculed in our society. There is still some stigma about women doing some traditionally male dominated jobs. For example, female police officers are often made fun of and called butch. I also think that in some aspects, women are seen as really strong individuals. This is especially true of single mothers. They have to be the mother and the father in many cases. Single parent households are a growing trend in this country. However, there are still parts of the country that expect women to stay in the traditional roles of wife and mother. I’m not sure that there really is a single mold that women fit in to today. It is all a matter of opinion. Some people have very modern thoughts about women while some still have traditional beliefs.

  2. jcjohnson3 October 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    I’m so excited for this movie!!! You can’t help but wonder how Fatine’s life would have turned out if her community were more supportive of her. It makes me wonder how many women throughout history, who faced the oppression of having illegitimate children, would have led happy lives if they weren’t shunned from their communities.

    As women, shouldn’t we inherently sympathize with our fellow women? Like you said, what if it had happened to them?

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