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Capitalism and chick flicks

movie: Devil wears prada, Miranda Priestly(left) and Andy(right)

The rise of second –wave feminism coincided with a historical shift in character of capitalism, from the state — organized variant just discussed to neo- liberalism. Second- wave of feminism focused on issues of equality and discrimination. This wave criticized the idea that women find fulfillment only through childrearing and homemaking.

The world at work- in particular, women at work- is undeniably an important themes of chick flicks. In the early 2000s, the genre boomed as the perfect platform to tell the story of modern women having (or rather getting) it all, i.e. The dream job and the dream man. There is often an additional mitigating circumstances to overcome. What underline 1990s and 2000s romantic comedy is an urges to justify women’s multiplicity: it championed the once- quirky, clearly depiction of the sexy and smart modern women.

In chick flicks like ‘the Devil wears Prada’ , Anne Hathaway’s Andy attempts to win over the high — maintenance editor ‘Miranda Priestly ’ of ‘runway’ magazine despite having no fashion knowledge. In this movie, as the most typical role, Miranda presented as a women who think that the career is the most important thing for her. She is a perfect example of second wave feminism.

According to Negra, Miranda priestly is a representation of the older professional woman, a figure to whom chick flicks, have not been kind. Older career women in chick flicks are almost portrayed in a negative light, as they are in Hollywood film in general. Their career triumphs cover over wrong doing, intense personal loss , and extreme vulnerability, and their bitterness leads then to work against their younger counterparts’ career success. In the film Miranda is at certain position of power and has ability to manipulate or intimidate others. But she was not a sympathetic figure. Whereas, Ferris thought of Miranda as an unsuccessful wife and mother. Where she was accused of neglecting her family for her career choices.

In this chick flicks, career oriented women like Miranda, who put her career at first were represented as villain, and unsuccessful in her personal life. In these movies where women are expected to have a balance between her professional and personal or focus more on her personal life, are described as ideal women.

Chick flick is a slang term, sometimes used pejoratively, for the film genre catered specifically to women’s interests, and is marketed towards women demographics. They generally tends to appeal more to younger female audience and deals mainly with love romance. Whereas woman’s films is a film genre which includes woman- centered narratives, female audience. Woman’s film usually portray “women’s concerns”.

Negra outlines as the problematic characteristics of the chick flicks, it is unclear whether The Devil Wears Prada transcends these negative or adheres to theme. Looking at images of women presented in chick flicks, Negra argues that they presented single women as a ”solipsistic single girl”. She is young career oriented woman whose goals are presented as “misguided at best troubled at worst”. For her chick flicks heroine is a “girlie — girl”, behaving like a child and to make things even worse, her perpetual girlhood is celebrated rather than problematized.

According to Suzanne Ferriss, chick flicks are more about female makeover from funny face (Stanley Donen, 1957) through Moonstruck (Norman Jewish, 1987) to My Big fat wedding (Joel Zwick, 2002) and Crazy Rich Asian (Constance Wu, 2018). Many chick flicks protagonists undergo makeover to make themselves more attractive to men and after doing so, they are able to get attention from there lower who before neglected her. This transformation involve her self-reflection and that she need more love which only a heterosexual romance can provide. Most of these chick flicks are inspired from Cinderella fairy tale, the female protagonist’s struggle to become more beautiful is very male- focused. These films popularized the idea of that women need to go self-transformation trough makeup, hair styling and expensive clothing and once she has beautified herself, she can find true happiness with the man of her dreams.

Negra describes the turns that take ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ in a progressive direction. Andy, like the conventional chick flick protagonist, she has youthful energy and yet she does not act childish or inept in dealing with other. Her career ambitions are not presented as misguided or troubled. She never looked alike that she need to change at all and leave her makeover at the film’s end.

Although Nochimson points out that the film misses the point that Andy is beautiful before, during and after her transformation. Even after the Hollywood film, The Devil Wears Prada, cannot resist showing Andy as an object of the gaze of everyone, male or female, who encounters her madeover self. At the same time, however, it engages in the double- voiced discourse that Jeanine Basinger (1993) identified as characteristic of earlier women’s film by portraying Andy’s make over as unnecessary, yet showing it to have still made her more attractive.

As far as Miranda Priestley is consider, she is represented as the older professional woman. In chick flicks, the older professional woman are always portrayed in negative light. Their career triumphs cover over wrongdoing, intense personal loss and their bitterness leads them to work against their younger counterpart’s career success. She was presented more as an unsuccessful wife and mother to her children rather than a successful editor. Her representation seems to be more conventional Hollywood representation of attained professional success at the expense of her personal life.

Second wave of feminism was result of the capitalism. Women were career oriented in order to feel empowered during this period. They had a dissatisfaction from being thrown away from the public sphere, due to which they always had a rift between their public and private spheres. One of main reason behind this system was the patriarchal system.



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Priyanka Nadiya

Priyanka Nadiya


Philosopher in process || Aspiring Blogger|| Writer Instagram: @priyankanadiya_ . LinkedIn: .