The Feminism of “Thelma and Louise”

Free «The Feminism of Thelma and Louise» Essay Sample

The movie by Ridley Scott was a controversial movie in the 1991 as it has raised a huge debate across the board because of the inflammatory statement about a case where two women murder a rapist. The behavior of the women leads to a number of activities that include robbery, holding a law enforcement officer at gunpoint and, finally, a tanker exploding. All the activities lead to Thelma and Louise being plunged to the Grand Canyon. Some of the questions that are raised about the movie are whether the movie leads to men running amok and be a nightmare to people, also another issue raised is whether women are finally able to break the cycle of being under men. The movie has feminist elements, although it is not truly feminist. Feminist can be defined as a woman who can survive on her own without the help of men.

The main two female characters are feminist, this is demonstrated in the range of episodes. For instance, Thelma, after being raped by a redneck Harlan, sees agitated Louise pointing a gun at Harlan and informing him that when a woman is crying it means she is not having fun and it is not okay to go about it. After Harlan’s insulting respond she shoots him in the heart as a punishment for attempting to rape her friend. In addition, the shooting was to ensure that Harlan never hurts another woman in the future and she acts to revenge for all the women who have been raped. She is also revenging as she had been sexually assaulted when she lived in Texas a while ago. It is then that Thelma and Louise decided to castrate a driver of a truck who attempted to send lewd sexually affiliated signals while they were in a trip. They lured the driver from his truck and went ahead to blow his truck for no reason. It is clear that the women were out to degrade any man who came by their way. They spend every time of their day plotting for ways to harass and degrade men. Women have been victimized for a long time and it was celebrated when women spoke up on the issues that affected them. In this case, however, the two women seemingly held a grudge against men in general.

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Thelma and Louis went out of their way to rebel against all laws set and also against patriarchal controls commonly placed in the society. A good example is when they go brandishing guns when committing robberies and forcing a police officer into the trunk of a car. These were actions considered to be too masculine for women to attempt. Thelma goes ahead to have an affair with an attractive young man played by Brad Pitt. She entices him into falling in love with her while all along she wanted a sexual toy to play around with and demoralize. Some critics have, however, criticized this film by insinuating that it is too inclined to feminism. This is because battered women and those who have been psychologically affected in their relationships with men are often scared for life. In the movie, however, Thelma goes ahead to leap through her problems and engages in a passionate and sexually explosive one night stand with a total stranger. This is not a realistic scenario in the real life of any battered and shattered woman’s life. In this case, however, the movie is meant to counterpoint the rape ordeal to show that the woman had gained control of her life and was living her life freely.

The prevailing patriarchal prejudice against women is evident in the film. Thelma flees the scene of the rape in fear that the police would not believe her when she said Harlan had raped her. This is because men often looked down upon women, thus the fear of the male policemen dismissing her claims. This is the same boundary that keeps the women’s rebellion in check. Kamins and Lucia have it right when they say that women have no rights even under the law. Thelma is tied by the fear of the patriarchal prejudice against women, thus she and her friends ran. They should have never run in the first place since the cops followed their trail and one of the cops on their trail, Hal, is actually sympathetic. Louise’s life savings were robbed by J.D and this is the basis that Thelma based her attempt at robbing the store to regain the money stolen. To the women there seems to be no justifiable robbery since the police not only seek them out for the robbery case but also for the murder case. Locking the police officer in the trunk of the car is an impulsive attempt to try to delay the inevitable fact that they were cornered. It even adds to the cases that the police would later charge them. Death or imprisonment are the only options left for the women, but they choose to do it their way as they had lived their last days. They clasp their hands and drive their vehicle over the hedge of the Grand Canyon.

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The end of the women confirms that they had realized their fate lays in their own hands in spite of the fact that they would have in one way or the other paid for their crimes. The movie portrays the real actions of the society and the prejudice that accompanies it. Prejudice is a vice that has condemned women to a lower level than men for the long time. It is clear that something has to be done to protect the rights of women as portrayed in the movie Thelma and Louise. These women were pushed by circumstances to lead their lives the way they did, thanks to a prejudging and prejudice stained society.


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