Friday, 30 November 2012

Analyze the portrayal of the main female character in Real Women Have Curves (2002) with America Ferrera. How is this film progressive in its portrayal of the female counter-stereotype? Discuss the female point of view (this film was also directed by a woman, Patricia Cardoso) and its importance to the representation of women in film. Use 6 scenes to support your argument within the framework of feminist analysis (the female gaze). See article in course reader called “Where are the Female Directors?” by Michelle Goldberg for citation purposes

In the 2002 film “Real Women Have Curves” portrays a young woman named Ana Garcia (American Ferrera), who comes from a tight-knit, family that values tradition. Ana is very outspoken and opinionated with dreams of wanting more out of life than what has been given to her, but isn’t sure how or where to get it due to the lack of support from her family. With the help and encouragement from high school her teacher Mr. Guzman, Ana applies to Columbia University without telling her family knowing that they will instantly disapprove of her decision to further her education because they feel that her place is not to be in university after high school but to find a job, so that she can start her contribution to the family.

Ferrera’s character portrays a female counter-stereotype by not being afraid to speak her mind regardless of what others think especially her mother Carmen Garcia. She doesn’t want to end up being a housewife, she wants to further her education but Ana’s mother has other plans for her. Carmen feels that school is useless and that she can teach her things that school can’t like being a mother, raise children etc. Ana’s mother constantly attacks her by making comments about her weight. Ana doesn’t care, she knows within herself that she is fine and that women have more to offer than just their physical appearance, she won’t let the pressures of society or her mother tell her otherwise. For example: when Ana was working at her sisters factory she started to take her clothes off leaving on only her under garments due to the heat, because of her bold move the other women working at the factory then followed her lead and they too started taking off their clothes not caring what others may think and started to celebrate their curves. Carmen was shocked and appalled that they would do such a thing and left the factory.

Ana isn’t one to sit around and let others take advantage of her. During one scene Ana’s sister Estela Garcia was struggling with her dress factory. Ana convinced her to go speak with the buyer so that she can get an advance payment so that she would be to pay her employees and the rent for the factory. Although her planned backfired Ana wanted to show her sister that it is ok to stand up for yourself.

Ana eventually receives a full scholarship to Columbia University although her mother doesn’t approve of her going Ana takes the offer, not to be defiant but to put herself first and start doing things that she wants to do.

This film was directed by a female named Patricia Cardoso which is very rare as stated in the article by Michelle Goldberg she states that there aren’t many female directors out there due to it being a male dominated profession. Goldberg states “famed screenwriter and director Nora Ephron, whose movies include “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail” adds, ““I always think every should being with a logo that says, for example, Warner Bros, did everything in its power to keep from making this movie.”” So in order for a film especially one that has been directed by a female needs a strong name behind it in order for it to be a success.   

Resources: Goldberg, M. Where are the female directors?.