Women in the film industry have usually being sexualized and ignored especially when it comes to playing the roles that are supposed to elevate the men. This is because society has always been inclined towards the male version of doing things and when there is an imbalance in the social order women are usually portrayed as weak. However, in Joy, the role of the lead character who is a woman downplays all those notions and creates a woman who is able to defy odds and becomes successful.
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The success that she acquires in her mop business comes from sacrifice and help from all the family members, colleagues and even her ex-husband who still has respect and admiration for her. But in the same manner that Hollywood is elevating the women characters in the films it portrays the intricate role played by men in society and how they sometimes derail the progress of women. Through the use of other scholarly articles, the role of women and the men in creating a just society are used to showcase how those roles sometimes compare and contradict each other.
Jennifer Lawrence in the movie Joy came out at a time when Hollywood was under the scrutiny of ignoring women and giving them meager roles in films especially where there were A-list male celebrities. However, in Joy, the film changed that narrative and instead gave Jennifer Lawrence the lead role in a film where Robert de Nero and Bradley Cooper would play the second fiddle to her lead character. But on closer scrutiny, the film is not about the contrasting or opposing roles of males and females; the film is about the emergence of a woman who had almost despaired in life. Jennifer Lawrence role in the film shows a strong transformation and character that propels her to be a matriarch and an inventor in a world where she was almost swindled by men. This shows the cruelty and hardship that business women and innovators have to go through because these fields are male-dominated. Throughout the interaction period that Jennifer Lawrence engages her male counterparts, there is no time that she goes off the track and belittles them even where they seem to be taking advantage of her goodwill to let their mistakes and imposing traits slide. Therefore, the representation of the gender role in the film comes on as a well-crafted and integrated part that was made to fit the protagonist and represents the woman as a free thinker, go-getter, hardworking and innovative.
According to the film, the depiction of a woman who has been divorced and who results to go back to her matrimonial home is not something new, but the idea that the film tries to create is the struggle of the woman in a family setting. While divorce continues to take center stage in many homes, Jennifer Lawrence proves that she is ready to go the extra mile in ensuring that her kids get the best out of the world they live in. In doing that, the first steps that Jennifer has created as a form of accepting her fate is by making the kids connect with their father even if they live apart. Joy’s ex-husband helps her in the new role of being an inventor and a businesswoman.while acknowledging that films sometimes portray strong, competent women, she presents that women presented as strong are often simply protecting their young or are dealt with negatively (Stanley et al., (65). While this pronunciation may be true in relation to many Hollywood films, the role that Jennifer Lawrence plays in Joy is based on having a wholesome character who balance all the roles that she has to play in business and family. There is no time in the film that Jennifer fails to acknowledge the existence of her family, but in the same breath, she realizes that she has a business that she needs to run. These are the complications and challenges that are faced by modern day women who sit on corporate boards or run their businesses.
Hollywood in the 90’s was made to create the role of the women as condensing and where they were made to play sexually oriented roles in a male-dominated stage. The explanation which I offered by Stanley et al. (68),was that most female characters were young, attractive and motivated by romance. However, as the time went by, the roles that women played began to take shape according to the happenings of the society which had started to integrate traditional roles of the men to those of the women in the society. This is the aspect that the movie Joy shapes its main character and the supporting characters on, that women can be able to help other women fulfill their destiny. When Jennifer discovers that she can be able to make a mop that will revolutionize the cleaning industry, the person who agrees to invest in her business is Trudy who is her stepmother. Their relationship is based on understanding the need of elevating the woman as long as she has the right mindset and she can work hard and beat the competition of the male counterparts.In fact, for the last decade or so, positive businesswomen outnumber businessmen by a ratio of more than two to one: 73 percent of women are rated positively in business, while only 30 percent of the businessmen are positive characters (Stanley et al., 71). This change in how Hollywood portrays women proves that there has been a revolution and a transformation in how women and men roles in films are being made in the current millennium as it is portrayed by the strong female characters in joy.
Wollstonecraft offers a different approach on how men should treat women regardless of their social standings or whatever the contemporary world dictates. The first scathing remark that Wollstonecraft makes is by bringing the theme of feminism and masculinity dominance where men make women feel like inferior creatures and objects that are supposed to be desired and used sexually. However, she also retaliates that the strength of a woman can only be realized if she is given the right environment to thrive and it starts with having a basic education.The education of women has, of late, been more attended to than formerly; yet they have still reckoned a frivolous sex, and ridiculed or pitied by the writers who endeavor by satire or instruction to improve them (Wollstonecraft, 12). This observation is used in the Joy movie by making Jennifer Lawrence understand the need of creating a brand and finding the right procedures and laws that are supposed to ensure that she has a patent. This is the use of knowledge that Wollstonecraft insists on rather than relying on sweet words that come from the male counterparts which end up being false. True to the observation of Wollstonecraft about the male dominance and ignorance, Jennifer is almost swindled and bankrupted by Derek Markham who has constantly been defrauding her. In realizing her dream, Jennifer has to go the extra mile of knowing the cause and the root of her problems without relying on emotions. In doing this, it continues to prove the suitability and adaptability of her leading role in the film.
In this world, the recurring role of the women is usually running parallel, or it is entwined with that of the males due to their existence in the society. While it is commendable to elevate both genders so that equality can be achieved on all levels, society usually installs in the males a sense of entitlement and privilege. These privileges are brought by the way men are usually made to adapt and grow into manhood without fully understanding how they should be able to do that. From the physical exercises to psychological warfare, the males are made to ignore their feminine side as they are encouraged to be brave and masculine irrespective of whether it by false or default. Chip Brown goes through various traditional and modern-day world versions of making the boy child appear male, and the results that he comes up with are clear indication that there is no any guideline for being a man.
While in the developed world boys are taught how to hunt and take the life of the game which they have acquired, there are others who have to endure the traditional form of circumcision.Both were in the midst of a momentous transition, morphing under a fresh influx of the powerful hormone into physically mature men: body hair, defined muscles, bigger shoulders, burgeoning sexuality, an appetite for risk, and potentially elevated levels of aggression (Chip, 4). The sense of manhood and entitlement is also portrayed in the movie Joy where Bradley Cooper agrees to advertise the mops that Jennifer Lawrence makes in his infomercial, but he fails to deliver. This is because he felt that anything to do with mobs was potentially easy to sell to an audience without doing a background check on what it entails. This is the same manner in which Derek Markham devises to run Jennifer out of business because she is a woman. However, in the end, Jennifer can confront all the adversity that is facing her, and she emerges as a successful woman who is out to inspire other women to pursue their dreams.
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
Being a Man- The Many Ways Society Makes a Man- How does a 21st- century boy reach manhood? In some cultures the rite of passage is clear. In others, not so much by Chip Brown Photographs by Pete Muller
Feminism in Films by Stanley Rothman, Stephen Powers, and David Rothman
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