Equality or Bust Entry: 9 to 5!

30 Sep

So much art/poetry/music has been created over lesser things than Dolly Parton. Where is her opera, her pieta, her great red dragon and the woman clothed with the sun?

It was another of those nights.

Spoiled for choice and paralyzed by indecision, I scrolled to the box for 9 to 5 and thought, ‘I remember liking this when I was 6, I’ll give it a try.’

I really, really wanted to like it, but alas.

There’s nothing overtly wrong with the movie, it’s just that the comedy is dated, Jane Fonda couldn’t make me laugh if she fed me Nitrous Oxide, and the movie’s feminist message depressed me by reminding me how little progress women have made since 1983.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s something that will blow your mind:

Many young women think that the PussyCat Dolls are about empowerment.

Taking off your clothes, writhing in your underwear, obsessing over weight and appearance and competing with each other for the attentions of men are just not what I think of when I think of female empowerment.

Photo from the historic 1918 Women's Right to Vote rally.

To be fair, I differentiate between bullshit teases like the VaginaCat Dolls (IT’S THEIR NAME!!) and sex workers. Sex workers and strippers perform an actual honest service, and they know it; their feminism is very 3rd wave, where sex is not a shameful thing, and a naked woman can be empowering. It’s complex though, you can’t just say ‘if you are a stripper you are a feminist’ because that’s faulty logic.

If the VaginaCat dolls were real whores they wouldn’t have shows on network television or sell tshirts to 12 year old girls. They’re about selling the image of sex instead of selling actual sex.

I hate that.

I hate Maxim magazine’s candy ass, giggling and sweating PG-13 version of sex. I hate that when a protagonist  has sex in a movie they put on a Serious Face and look like they’re doing anything but having fun. Other people have fun during sex, laughing during quickies or falling out of closets with their drawers around their ankles, but the hero/heroine looks like they’re having their taxes done because sex is a Serious Business and if you smile then you  might look stupid and SURPRISE! Sometimes people make stupid faces during sex. IT HAPPENS. Any virgins reading this will either be relieved or horrified to know that.

But back to objectifying Dolly Parton.

I’ve come to understand that I, as a straight woman, really dig curvy platinum blondes with great attitudes. Parton has bubbled in everything I’ve ever seen her in; maybe she doesn’t have the widest range and I’m not going to make that joke god it would be so easy but watching her in most anything is a treat. Maybe not 9 to 5, but there are other movies out there that make better use of her ASSETS! comedic timing and sparkling personality.

I liked the message of 9 to 5, but the comedy too often relied on ‘zany!’ setpieces and people having ‘wacky!’ reactions to things that just weren’t that worth getting excited about.

I kind of wouldn’t mind a remake with competent comedic actresses in the leads; Parker Posey, Amy Poehler, Mo’Nique, Tina Fey, Amy Sedaris, Christina Hendricks… couldn’t you see Ricky Gervais playing the Dabney Coleman role? Maybe too close to his old David Brent character, but maybe he could be a snide underling or something.

Note to self: Enjoying something in your childhood is not a guarantee you will enjoy it as an adult. You also used to eat flavored Chapsticks.

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2 Responses to “Equality or Bust Entry: 9 to 5!”

  1. mietwagen mallorca October 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    last week our class held a similar discussion on this subject and you point out something we have not covered yet, thanks.

    – Laura

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