Cinderella, Pretty Woman And Feminism Essay

1947 words - 8 pages

Pretty Woman is a modern take on the classic Cinderella story where a poor misguided girl meets her prince and her life is dramatically changed. This film has fairy tale elements, but the biggest element in the movie is the use of sex; Vivian, the main character, is a prostitute. She meets her “prince” and is swept off of her feet, but what this really means is that she is bought for an entire week by a handsome, wealthy business man. One would assume that he was buying her for sex, but this is not your average prostitute transaction. This movie has a lot of third wave feminism ideals. Third wave feminism deals with using the female gender and sexuality to further the cause and portray their views. The ultimate goal of this paper is to show that Vivian Ward (portrayed by Julia Roberts), is the poster girl for third wave feminism.
Twenty one minutes into the movie we see a slightly awkward scene where Vivian is talking to her “prince” and holds up a plethora of condoms; she states “I got red, I got yellow, I got green and blue, and for the special man Silver and Gold coins-- the condoms of champions.” He looks at her slightly dumbfounded, because he feels so strange that he has hired a hooker. They have a couple more exchanges and they get less awkward as the movie progresses. The attitude towards women has changed dramatically since 1990, the year that this film came out; you will however, find a few men who still have the attitude that women were put on this earth for their enjoyment.
In the early nineties, women were hyper-sexualized and viewed as pawns in a game. MTV showed music videos with scantily clad women which were seen as extremely scandalous at the time. The nineties was also an era of growth, liberalization and sexual discoveries that carried over from the eighties. Pretty Woman was a controversial movie for its time and depending on the viewer, is still seen as such today. Thirty minutes into the movie we see an exchange of oral sex, and Richard Gere’s character looks ashamed. This is a sign that he thinks he is treating her wrong, that maybe women are not sexual party favors after all.
This movie deals with inequalities in gender and social class which are basic facets of feminism. Third wave feminism seeks to use these inequalities to the advantage of women everywhere, and using the body as means to achieve this goal. Vivian Ward recognizes that she is not equal to a man and that she has something that men want-- her body, and she has found a way to use herself to change the inequality. By selling herself, she is proving that she is needed by a man and that she is important as a woman, this is a rather misguided notion, but is her intent. This may seem like regressing in terms of female liberation, but third wave feminism is very customizable and loose at its very core. There was a study that spanned twenty years and in that study it was stated “Once women decided to lose the Damsel in Distress mentality, we saw a rise in...

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