Feminist Films We Love!
This month we're featuring some of the SBAI staff's favorite feminist films.
Tootsie is a comedy that follows Dorsey (Hoffman) through his acting career as he adopts a new identity as a woman to land a job. The film forces a man to experience the acting world as a woman, and for Hoffman, the role was eye-opening. Hoffman spoke during an interview on Good Morning America last summer about the nature of this role. He stated “that movie was never a comedy for me", after he made the realization that many women are treated based on their looks. "There's too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed." Hoffman shed tears sharing these thoughts with his interviewer, watch the interview here.
The film adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s story Yentl is a favorite of ours. Yentl was the first film to have an American woman serve as writer, director, producer, and star. The story is based on a lack of educational opportunity for women and follows Yentl, a young woman who wishes to study religious scripture, through a trying journey. When denied education, Yentl chooses to relocate and passing as male to attain this education. We thought that Helene Meyer’s “Yentl, Me and 1983” was an interesting discussion of the role of Yentl in her development as a Jewish feminist.
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
Fried Green Tomatoes tells the story of a Depression-era friendship between two women, Ruth and Idgie, and a 1980s friendship between a middle-aged housewife and an elderly woman who knew Ruth and Idgie. The centerpiece and parallel story concerns the murder of Ruth's abusive husband and the accusations that follow. As Livengood put cecinctly in her short essay on feminism in Fried Green Tomatoes, the film "represents interesting conflicts and negotiations between sentimentality, feminism, post feminism, and lesbian love.
Boys on the Side (1995)
Boys on the Side was chosen as a favorite of ours. It centers around the lives and worlds of three women who meet mostly by chance and form meaningful relationships as they embark on a road trip together.
9 to 5 (1980)
9 to 5 highlights some of the problems woman tend to face in professional environments by showing the lives of three working women living out their fantasies of getting even with, and their successful overthrow of, the company's autocratic, "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" boss.