Area:    Feminism
  Msg:    #430
 Date:    12-21-94 18:31 (Public) 
 From:    Randy Edwards            
 To:      All                      
 Subject: Fearless Hollywood Battle
From: Workers World Service 
Reply-To: ww@wwp.blythe.org
Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit

FILM REVIEW: "Diclosure"

Fearless Hollywood Battles the Battering Woman

By Shelley Ettinger

For the second time in a month, Hollywood has released a movie
that portrays a man as the victim of sexual harassment.

The movie is "Disclosure." It's based on the best-seller by
Michael Crichton.

The film's male lead is--who else?--Michael Douglas. He says he's
proud that the movie has the courage to look at the issue of
sexual harassment from an unusual angle.

Douglas is best known for the last time a rotten, misbegotten
female tormented him, in "Fatal Attraction."

He also recently starred in "Falling Down" as a vigilante whose
trek through Los Angeles gunning down oppressed youths and
terrorizing his family is portrayed as the understandable
reaction of a patriotic white man who's been driven to the
breaking point.

Demi Moore plays "Disclosure's" nasty, backbiting female
executive who steps over men more worthy than she in her climb up
the corporate ladder and sexually harasses Douglas. Viewers will
remember Moore for her last big role, in "Indecent Exposure."

In that film she lets handsome, kind, lonely billionaire Robert
Redford buy her sexual favors--and a really pretty dress--for $1
million, then nearly falls in love with him. That followed the
popular "Pretty Woman" with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, in
which another nice rich guy buys a woman's body--though for a lot
lower price--and she falls in love with him and they live happily
ever after.

These are the kinds of roles Hollywood offers women actors.

As for writer Crichton, he last displayed what he sees as his
gutsy streak with his racist anti-Japanese novel and movie
"Rising Sun" a few years ago.

But he's not alone. "Oleanna," written and directed by David
Mamet based on his off-Broadway play of the same name, was also
recently released. What's Mamet's spin on the
man-as-sexual-harassment-victim-of-evil-scheming-woman theme?

In "Oleanna," a crazy, vicious female student falsely accuses her
mild-mannered male professor of sexually harassing her. This
leads to an ugly downward spiral that ultimately destroys both
characters, morally if not physically.


None of these plot lines bears any relation to reality. Of
course, Hollywood has never been big on reflecting real life. And
the movies are generally guilty of shallow, demeaning portrayals
of women.

Hollywood has never made a major motion picture that focuses on
the sexual harassment of a woman worker. Yet the studios are
trying to proclaim these films as somehow maverick.

Depicting women as evil, conniving and duplicitous is hardly
maverick. Actually, it's par for the course, along with showing
women as empty, stupid sexual objects or bloodied, screaming,
helpless butts of violence.

But presenting women as the purveyors and not the victims of
sexual harassment is a particularly disgusting twist on
Hollywood's long-established misogyny.

In real life, sexual harassment is a concrete aspect of women's
oppression that has only recently been taken seriously. Laws
against it have only just been enacted.

These laws are still rarely enforced. Women who work--the vast
majority in hotels, restaurants, hospitals, mills, sweatshops,
schools and offices, not in a corner office as a high-paid
business executive--usually face the nightmare of sexual
harassment alone.

Most see very little recourse when a supervisor or boss touches
them or demands sexual attention. When every paycheck is
stretched to make ends meet for herself, and usually for her
family, the alternative of being fired is just too awful.

Many women find themselves forced to suffer in silence. The boss,
not the worker, has the power. This is often even true for women
in "professional" jobs, as the Anita Hill case showed.

Sexism is inherent in this capitalist society, and any woman who
tries individually to buck it is up against the full weight of
the system. The mass struggle is the only way to defeat sexual
harassment, sexist violence, discrimination, lesbian oppression.

A movie about that struggle would be worth seeing. Wonder why the
industry that coined the phrase "casting couch" won't make it?


(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted
if source is cited. For more information contact Workers World,
55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail: ww@wwp.blythe.org.)

--- Msgedsq/2 2.2e
 * Origin: Socialism OnLine! * Workers of all countries, unite! (1:325/805)