The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Does lipstick feminism join ‘Sex’ with ‘Angels’?

High time for prime time
 Does lipstick feminism join Sex with Angels?
Does lipstick feminism join ‘Sex’ with ‘Angels’?

Does lipstick feminism join ‘Sex’ with ‘Angels’?

It’s not every day you get to see the history of modernfeminism negotiated in prime time TV. But between the end ofHBO’s original series “Sex in the City” and itsnewest made-for-television offering, “Iron JawedAngels,” the cable network has proclaimed the ascendancy ofthe lipstick feminist.

Throughout its six-season run, critics have hailed Sarah JessicaParker and her gang of shopalong Susies as postmodern feministicons. And certainly, if nothing else, they gave us financiallystable women creating a world where men were merely accessories,sometimes as tacky as Parker’s heinous hats.

But in the show’s final episode, Carrie, Samantha,Charlotte and Miranda sold out.

After breaking it off with Aleksandr (Mikhail Barishnikov),Carrie runs back into the arms of Big (Chris Noth) — the manthat done her wrong so many times before. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon)finally acquiesces to her role as a suburban mother, allowingherself to become caretaker to her mother-in-law. Charlotte(Kristin Davis), always the most traditional of the bunch butalways thwarted in her dreams of motherhood in the most appealinglyrealistic ways, finally gets her baby. And Samantha (Kim Cattrall),the resident sex kitten, finally finds happiness in a loving andmonogamous relationship.

Did the gals flame out, finally finding relationships with menthat were as rewarding as those within their community of women?Judging from reaction from the show’s fans, they could nothave asked for a better finish.

Still, there’s something inherently patriarchal in thegeneric happy ending. Surely the suffragettes of”Angels” would agree.

Starring Hillary Swank, Julia Ormond, Anjelica Huston andFrances O’Connor, the film revisits the early 20th centurywomen’s suffrage movement from the perspective of the early21st.

The film itself tells a very engaging story about the suffragemovement that has largely been glossed over in our rose-coloredviews of the period. These women were attacked by mobs of angrymen, accused of being traitors, thrown in jail on trumped upcharges and tortured by their fellow Americans. The solidarity thatthey show throughout is thoroughly engaging.

And even though director Katja von Garnier wants to make thishistory more accessible to today’s younger feminists, shestill manages to make a film that has a lot to say about ourcontemporary social situation.

Watching Alice Paul (Hillary Swank) and Lucy Burns (FrancesO’Connor) get thrown in jail as political prisoners and beingtortured for standing up for their rights during war time, onecan’t help but reflect on our own fights for freedom in thisage of extreme patriotism.

But the force of lipstick feminism is strong with this one. Fromthe girl rock anthems that dominate the soundtrack to the creepy”Red Shoe Diaries”-esque bathtub masturbation scene,the film tries to paint the period as a rockin’ time whenriot grrrrls reigned supreme.

I spent parts of the film peeping through my fingers in horrorjust waiting for the women to rip off their dresses to reveal”Girl Power!” T-shirts underneath.

As the suffragettes prepare to march on President Wilson’sinauguration speech, Lauryn Hill’s “Everything isEverything” blares in the background and then slowly meldsinto a Sousa-esque version of the tune with Hill’s base beatsstill thumping in the background. At least there were no cameoappearances by the Spice Girls.

But what would women like Paul and Burns think of women likeCarrie Bradshaw? Is lipstick feminism really what they wanted, whatthey really, really wanted for their great-granddaughters? Wouldwomen dipping into boutiques, jumping from one man to another andcalling themselves “feminists” really fly with theserockin’ chicks of the 1910s?

Like the relationship between the radical suffragettes andCarrie Chapman Catt, the relationship between”Angels'” audience and subject seems to be one ofguarded distance. But in the case of the latter, today’swomen can rewrite their elders in their own image.

Or at least give them some groovy Pat Benatar tunes to jamto.

More to Discover