Wk6M1 Counterculture

Today’s discussion is brought to you by Group 9: Jennifer Machura & Shelby Brown

44 thoughts on “Wk6M1 Counterculture

  1. Jennifer Machura

    In the chapter, Belton writes about how women were portrayed in films throughout the 1960’s, mentioning that Hollywood tended to write stereotypical parts for women (madonnas and whores). In the 70’s and 80’s, roles were more white and blue-collar, and films featured the more independent woman.
    How do you think women are portrayed in film now? Do you think Hollywood has continued moving forward with lead female roles, or backwards? Has it stayed the same?

    1. Steven Colonero

      I think its kind of interesting to think how the media has played a part in the independent women movement. I also feel as though that television has played a bigger role then the cinema. While we do have films like The Devil Wears Prada which features women as very white collar while also addressing the issues of family and how working effects the family unit. I think that television has really played a part in the movement as well with the shows that are on right now. Back in the 60s women were seen at home with the family but now we have women doctors on television and women detectives right along side males. I also think with sex and the city it gave women more reassurance that it isnt all about getting married and having babies but following your own path and not necessarily the social norm.

      1. Jennifer Machura

        Yes, television does play a huge role in how women are portrayed, especially in the domestic sphere. When I was in junior high, two of my favorite shows were Roseanne and Grace Under Fire. I liked them because both centered around working class, strong-willed women who dealt with issues such as harassment in the workplace and single motherhood (Grace Under Fire). Both characters did this with humor and attitude. Although they didn’t work white collar jobs (or didn’t work at all), they still garnered respect from others by refusing to step down.

    2. Shenese Doll

      I think Hollywood is slowly still moving forward. Men still have better roles in films when it comes to the characters that are portrayed, but women have also had a more open market of roles. There are more leading roles for the ladies, but sometimes those leading roles are not the best representation of what is going on in our world now. I can say it is atleast not the same. I have seen movies and television series where women portray government jobs, the president, ruthless CEO’s,(in this aspect okay, because normally women are only portrayed as soft and domestic, and so if they have roles as ruthless..then it means that it has been recognized that women can get right in there with the men), and many various roles. I appreciate the traditional roles of women in films still as well, becuase it showcases the diverseness in what is really going on, that is, different family units of 2 and 1 parent homes, with homemaker women and women who are more career-oriented as well as women who do both. And also, thankfully, all the roles for women now that push the envelope are not just whores or madonnas, but even if they are, they are whore and madonnas with other things going such as another career or family.

      1. Steven Colonero

        I agree, I have seen very little shows that feature women in the government the only ones that come to mind is the West Wing, Allison Jenny plays the press secretary and there was a show that had Gena Davis as a female president but it was cancelled. I also think it is interesting that when films tend to show a women in power they are typically in some sort of women stereotype kind of role like in fashion or designer type of role.

    3. Nick Neal

      I would say there is more of a diversity of roles a woman can play, but there’s still some rigidity that need to be overcome. I hate giving such broad generalizations like that, but unfortunately it’s a very broad topic.

      1. Shelby Brown

        I really like the fact that you spoke about the roles being diverse. That was an idea that I wasn’t even thinking about. There is now a lot of ethnicities who are now or finally getting their chance on the big screen.

      2. Christophe Freeman

        I agree this is a broad topic but for the most part I don’t think the role of women has changed very much. Women are still seen as sexual objects in films but it has slightly changed. Throughout film history all types of men attractive and unattractive have been seen as main characters in popular films. Only attractive women have truly been successful in making a film popular. There are now comedies with overweight women as the main character but that is only recently.

        1. Christophe Freeman

          The role of women as the hero has not fully emerged yet. They are rarely seen in films rewarded for their skill solely. Even in the film The Devil Wears Prada both women are virtually unhappy with their success whereas a man would be ecstatic. Women are constantly being subjected to using their sexuality as part of their skill set. They can manipulate men because of it.

    4. Shelby Brown

      I actually love this question because its kind of looked over when speaking about Hollywood and women period. The way women is portrayed now in Hollywood is definitely a huge difference from the 60s, 70s and 80s. I believe that women may still hold on to certain stereotypes in films but thats only because Hollywood as changed but its still holding on to what really makes “money”. At this moment in film women are portrayed as leaders, their characters are more independent but yet still a mans weakness. Hollywood has definitely moved forward with female roles. A lot of roles that are played now, couldn’t possibly exist in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

      1. Levi Brown

        I wonder how actresses feel about the roles that are available to them. It seems to me like the roles for women are expanding, Joss Whedon’s TV projects are major proponents for strong female leads (Buffy, Dollhouse, the females of Firefly) but I think movies are lacking. There certainly are some diverse roles, I’m thinking of the female characters of Antichrist and Melancholia, but I’m not sure how much those character types deviate from standard cinema archetypes and create something new.

      2. Parrish Colbert

        Totally agreed, if you look back at the different generations of film there are a lot of roles women have been involved in that would have never existed in the 60’s or 70’s.

    5. Alex Wilson

      I defiantly think that both the rolls available to women and the amount of films featuring a woman or women has risen and continues to rise as time passes. Up until, lets just say 2000, I believe that the rolls and positions in films were slowly increasing and getting better for women, but since then I believe the number of movies either featuring, co-staring, or heavily influenced by women has greatly risen. I think the problem was that leading rolls or certain positions with women in films were not fully embraced up until recent, since it has been widely accepted there have been a lot of great movies/television shows with lead/leading female characters.

  2. Kendrick Branch

    WIth few exceptions, no countercultre movements found adequate representation in American Cinema. Decisions were made on an economic basis, turning nation-wide controversy into a series of stereotypes and dramatic absurdities.

    Do you think Hollywood has a responsibility to be politically correct, or to represent social issues more honestly with their films? Did you find examples of misrepresentation in the films screened?

    1. Shenese Doll

      I haven’t watched the films yet, but I can say so far, on one hand I do think that there is a responsibility to represent social issues honestly, but I also think that any creativity is free of responsibility to filmmakers.. It is a hard topic to just be one-sided. Also there are so many different interpretations of art, that to one person a film may be honest in social issues and politically correct while to another it may not be. It also depends on the time the film was made.

      1. Kendrick Branch

        In the late 50’s and early 60’s, most Hollywood films were depoliticized and “disguised in such a way that they no longer possessed any confrontational power.”

        What are some more recent examples of this? Do you think there is a place for forthright confrontation in Hollywood? Why or Why not?

    2. Nick Neal

      I’m not a big fan of social issue films, since they tend to use strawmen for characters that come from an opposing perspective. An example would be Marianne Bryant (Amanda Bynes) in Easy A, who’s an almost cartoonish version of traditionalist Christians (seriously the protest scene?)

      1. Levi Brown

        I know what you mean, Nick. It’s easier for writers to fall back on stereotypes rather than develop something stronger and more interesting.

    3. Renee Schuyten

      I don’t think Hollywood has a responsibility to be politically correct. Society has a responsibility to show, with their pocketbooks, what they will tolerate and accept and Hollywood will follow. Part of the power of a film is going to be its bold honest look at a social issue that society may not quite be ready to look at.

    4. Allison Hudson

      I would agree with others that a lot of Hollywood films are made in relation to societal happenings of the time. Some do ignore social norms, however, and make up their own world. In Three Days of the Condor, Redford starts out with an Asian “friend” at his work place. This is seen as taboo at the time in America, except in the counterculture where freedom of love could be expressed. However, the Asian woman is killed off within the first 10 minutes, and Redford is forced to go back into a monoracial relationship. I think this is an example of how Hollywood fights against huge cultural and social changes in America. However, I think people are more free with voicing their opinions these days and the way we relate to our culture and society has changed drastically. There will continue to be more films about minorities and injustice in our country, instead of films that support our government and oppression.

    5. Shelby Brown

      I do believe Hollywood has the responsibility to be politically correct, especially when it comes to social issues. Yes, people may have their own opinions on certain situations but right is right. It’s really how the film makers portray their ideas or thoughts. Certain situations in films can come off kind of wrong or extremely violent like the film The Spook Who Sat By the Door but it was a way for social issues to not be ignored.

    6. Alex Wilson

      Half of me says yes and half of me says no in response to representing social issues honestly in films, it is a very hard question to answer. While I think it is the right thing to do, the great thing about making movies is the freedom to do whatever you want and to make the viewers feel and become absorbed with your piece. There are many documentaries out there that may use facts from real studies but only put in select information, this in turn can be considered “the truth” but with information put in to certain contexts completely change the meaning of something. In the end, while I do appreciate complete honesty, I think that the information placed into a film should be completely up to the creator. I personally do not believe everything that I see in a film even if it is said to be true, and think that the viewer shouldn’t just accept for truth everything that is said.

  3. Renee Schuyten

    I think that art, and thus cinema as an art form, reflects issues in society – if it lags behind a bit. The 60’s and 70’s were full of some awful roles for women. I think this was in reaction to the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960’s. The white male power structure was feeling emasculated and were searching to put women back into this box that women in real life were blowing apart.

    Yes, I think that women’s roles have changed since then. There will always be a share of sexploitation films, teen films with the oh so typical popular dumb cheerleader types, etc. but even those characters are getting more complex as society is willing to look at the layers that make up a real person. The roles will continue to change as women’s place in society evolve and change, and men’s views with it.

    1. Benjamin Romang

      I like the point about men trying to put women back into a box. At first I would think that Hollywood tries to match current society, like making women centered films during the Women’s Liberation Movement. Instead, by making films to put women back in a box, it leaves you wondering if If society influences Hollywood or the other way around.

  4. Landon Getz

    American films have come a long way in the portrayal of women. Going even back to the 1950s, women, especially married women, were viewed as homemakers that don’t have jobs and are primarily in change of the children. Now, more than six decades later, women are landing leading roles. They are being transformed from weak, stereotypical characters to strong independent ones. A great example of this would be in The Hunger Games. The lead character is a strong female who dominates the entire film. To me, this alone shows just how far the portrayal of women in American cinema has come in the past sixty years. I feel like it has been a slow progression across the decades.

    1. Renee Schuyten

      The 50’s actually marked a backward step in how women were portrayed in the cinema. In the 30’s and 40’s female characters held jobs, were allowed sexual desire, thoughts. It was in the post WWII 50’s that puritanical do gooders wanted women back in the home.

  5. Benjamin Romang

    I would say there is a direct connection between the portrayal of women in Hollywood and social standards of the time. The way in which women were portrayed during the 50’s was related to that era. As women became more independent in society, Hollywood adapted to the new roles. I believe Hollywood will continue moving forward with female roles because the female demographic for audiences is so large. They must appeal to their audience’s expectations, which means creating characters that females can support and relate to.

  6. Allison Hudson

    I do think things are moving forward (slowly) as far as gender roles. Women are getting more prominent roles and are becoming more numerous behind the camera. I think Hollywood does still have an obsession with the damsel in distress. Even most romantic comedies are still about a sad, lonely woman trying to find the love of her life. Women are still seen as objects or things for men to “win.” Even when women are behind the camera, the stories can still be predominantly male-oriented. It takes a new way of thinking about narrative and character in order to change this. I think The Heat is a good example of a modern film with strong female characters. However, they still aren’t listened to by authority (male) figures. They do come out on top in the end and they provide 99% of the comedy in the film. I think this film is at least a step toward a more equal portrayal of women in the industry.

    1. Parrish Colbert

      I agree with your statement on stories still being a little male-oriented. Also I think it’s slow rate of change is due to the misconceptions still in the industry and society of women which loses a lot of prospective viewers.

  7. Angelo Lima

    Even though the films Three Days of the Condor and The Spook Who Sat by the Door were both made in the 70’s they still show totally different aspects towards counterculture with the style of a political thriller in Three Days of the Condor evokes and then the way the film, The Spook Who Sat by the Door shows symbolism of slavery throughout the film.

  8. Angelo Lima

    Who’s Afraid of Virgina Wolf shows a very different mood towards the strike back on counterculture with the calm and settling drama that is shown in the film. In my opinion many old movies do not have that that drastic measure of interest to wow the viewers, maybe for that time period, but especially not now.

  9. Evan Halleck

    I think that it all depends on the genre being discussed and if it is an independent movie or a hollywood block buster and the film it self.
    Obviously women are portrayed very poorly in college/raunchy comedies. They are portrayed as things to look at. But other genres of film portray women as strong and smart independent women. Most Hellen Mirren movies are a really strong example of this. Another aspect is that today a lot more directors are women and not only are they just directors there are very serious and praised women directors today. The director of Hurt Locker and 0dark30 is a perfect example. Also in those movies a lot of time like Zero Dark Thirty a female role is the main character. She is very strong smart and the opposite of how women were portrayed back in the 60’s. I do think that some films out there though still may show women the same as they did back in the day but for the most part I think they are very different and for the better.

    1. Chris O'Malley

      I agree that the genre of a film has a huge influence on the depiction of women. Although most films nowadays have more three-dimensional female characters, there are some that exploit women even more than in the past. As nudity has become less taboo, more filmmakers require female actors to perform nude scenes. In horror films and raunchy comedies these nude scenes are often gratuitous and exploitative.

  10. Alexandra Freda

    In regards to roles for women then and now, I would say that certainly there has been a large change and opening up of possibilities for roles for women, but that at the same time just as many stereotypical overtly sexualized roles exist and will continue to exist. For every The Hours there are six new Fast and Furious. In regards to the films for this particular section however I was particularly fascinated in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf as an example of counterculture films and of women’s roles in cinema. Elizabeth Taylor was regarded as one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood at the time of this performance, and gained thirty pounds, cursed, and did not fall into all the stereotypes of the “liberated” sexual woman (IE Barbarella, the Bond ladies) of the time. I found her performance to be very funny and fascinating in the independence and attitude evoked in her performance. Martha is brutal, witty, and biting in her dialogue and interactions with the other characters, and not just arm candy for the main male protagonists as seen in a lot of films of this time period.

    Though this doesn’t necessarily relate to a lot of the questions being asked thus far as a lot of them focused around women’s portrayal in counterculture film, I would like to briefly discuss The Spook Who Sat By The Door. This is a great example of a film that discusses black politics and black unity within the civil rights movement. At the time that the novel was written in 1969 black Americans were furious at the deaths of MLK, Malcom X, and Kennedy, and there was social and political unrest regarding civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights. America was in turmoil, and material such as this was not well received initially to it’s delivery to film. The facilitation of FBI suppression and controversy resulted in this particular film being censored and pulled from theaters. I think it is interesting that as far as critical reception the film was criticized for stereotyping both whites and blacks, however the anger and power of the initial message makes it still very historically significant.
    I personally really enjoyed this film and found it to be compelling, well directed and acted overall, and I had never heard of it before viewing it and researching it for the class.

  11. Clark Faust

    I think that will films such as Bridesmaids (2011) and The Heat (2012) that women are shown in positive roles that carry the films that feature women as the lead. Women are not only shown as whores or madonnas as was the case in the 1960’s, but rather as strong independents going through the trials of life as we all do. So I would have to disagree with Mr. Halleck when he says that women are not depicted well in comedies. As I mentioned earlier, Bridesmaids is a film that definitely depicts women as women and not anything more or less. That film is a comedy and it is written by two women and (I’m assuming) is intended for a female audience. That film is not a huge blockbuster, but it was produced by Judd Apatow, a major male producer. I think that there are many films like Bridesmaids out today that depict women as real people and not as archetypes created by men.

  12. Chris O'Malley

    I think that women are drastically underrepresented in blockbuster films. If you look at the top grossing films in the past year nearly all of them are action/adventure films or children’s films. These nearly always feature men as the central characters while women are relegated to smaller roles. The Twilight films are one of the few exceptions to this. Unfortunately there are many problematic elements in the films and in my opinion she is not an empowered female character.

    1. Jennifer Machura

      To add to your post, Chris…it seems like when women are represented in blockbuster films (especially action/adventure) they are highly sexualized. Movies like Tomb Raider and the Resident Evil franchise seem to focus more on the female lead’s body than their butt-kicking. The Hunger Games was refreshing because it featured a strong female lead who kicked ass and was not put on a pedestal for her looks (except during the talk show scene, if you are familiar with the movie).

  13. Parrish Colbert

    I think the constant trend of women being inferior to mend is still prevalant in today’s film. At the same time films that are more post modern and pushing the boundaries are more focused on character origins which changes the focus of the female character at times, perfect example The Hunger Games.

  14. Steven Colonero

    I can see where your coming from with the whole post modern female driven character film. I would put even the Matrix in that same category as Carrie ann moss character is one of the main three in the film. However, I do feel that there have been more female driven films in recent years and I feel as though its the changing culture that has made this happen.

  15. Savannah Steiner

    How do you think women are portrayed in film now? Do you think Hollywood has continued moving forward with lead female roles, or backwards? Has it stayed the same?

    Answer: The presentation of women in film has improved over time, with a rise of strong female performances, but there is still a double standard. As much as The Oscars love actresses like Meryl Streep, there will still always be objectification/misrepresentation of women. For every serious female actress out there there is a group of actresses being sold for their sex appeal. Some prestigious actresses have arguably even tainted their image with an excess of sex scenes in their work.

    Although it’s gotten much better for women there will always be sexual depictions of women to sell to the male audiences, which play a large role in sales.

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