Women's Real Life Problems in Thelma and Louise and Shirley Valentine
Throughout the history of film actresses have always received the
worst roles in which to portray women. Women are often featured as
lovers or prostitutes, backstage roles that support the power and
domination of men. Hollywood has always been dominated and ‘run’ by
the influence of male actors and directors. Statistics have shown that
71% of male actors are given major roles compared to women who receive
only 29% of centre stage roles.
Thelma and Louise and Shirley are two films, which change that. They
portray woman in a positive role, showing them in a positive light
against male oppression. Although Shirley Valentine is a British film
and Thelma and Louise is American, both films still show women facing
the prejudice of society in the 20th century. In this way women
viewers can relate to the films believing them to show the
difficulties women face in life, the loss of women’s individuality due
to the domination of their husbands and their experiences of sexism
and prejudice in modern day society.
There are many similarities as well as differences in both films and
the storylines are varied, yet both films still feature woman who
overcome the typical stereotype that they are nothing but sexual
objects for men to abuse.
Thelma and Louise a road film featuring two women who are trying to
run away from the law because Louise has shot a man who was trying to
rape Thelma. Throughout their journey they go on a quest of
self-discovery realising the mistakes they have made in life and
finding their true identity among the ravages their partners have made
of their character.
Shirley Valentine similarly features a woman who goes on holiday to
discover that she has lost herself, the person she once was ‘Shirley
Valentine’ and become a slave, a typical housewife that always fulfils
her husband’s wishes. She realises she has no importance in her
families life anymore and is no longer needed by her children. Her
whole life has been used up fulfilling the desires of her husband and
children and destroying her own. This is one way in which women
viewers can relate to the story she is telling. Many women find
themselves in the same position as Shirley; feeling that they are no
longer needed and have lost touch with who they once were. Yet this
film gives hope and the moral that life is worth living to fulfil your
Although each character is different in their own way in both films
they all go on a voyage of self-discovery and change significantly in
their outlook to life.
In Thelma and Louise, Thelma is a stereotypical housewife just like
Shirley dominated by her husband Daryl and treated badly. She has no
experience of the world and has quite a naive character. This leads
her to do stupid...