Intertextuality and Women

Focusing on Women in the Media

Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll April 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paige @ 5:09 pm

We’ve caught up with ourselves and viewed two episodes from our present. Sex and the City and Weeds, two shows that reveal a more realistic version of our multi-faceted present-day woman. The women on TV in the 50s would have shielded their eyes after viewing episodes of these two shows. Although, Miranda, Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Nancy are all extremely different women, they represent just how complex the female is. Women are constantly defined by stereotypes and generalizations, but it isn’t that easy. Women are a complex breed and cannot be easily defined. We see that in these five women.

The episode of Sex and the City we watched was titled The Power of Female Sex. This theme reverberates in several shows we’ve watched before like Alice, Charlie’s Angels, Police Woman and so on and so forth. However, not all the woman in this episode feel that using sex for power is ethical like Miranda, the lawyer. It seems fitting that Miranda is the lawyer, she’s always the one second guessing everyone’s morals and would stereotypically be called the frigid bitch (Even though it seems Miranda has a sure hold on her sexuality, and seems to be using the man in her life in this episode.) Carrie, the journalist, is like Miranda in the fact that she also seems to be in control of her  morals and personal values. When Carrie is paid $1000 for a one night stand she questions whether to send the money back to the man who left it for her.  Samantha, the owner of her own Public Relations firm, immediately chips in and says something along the lines of why should you? If Samantha were a man we could liken her to Charlie Sheen, she is a full fledged sex addict, and she isn’t afraid to shout it out loud. She is proud of her sexuality. Samantha believes whole heartedly that money is power, and sex is power. Most importantly that sex is power. Then there is Charlotte, she wears pearls and is the closest we will get to June Cleaver. Charlotte works at an art gallery. She has the chance to meet one of the most famous artists of her time, and when she does her values are put to a test. The artist, a male version of Georgia O’Keefe, only painted cunts. Cunt was the word he used several times and he had no problems saying it. He believed that the cunt was the most powerful source in the universe, and that truth can only be found in the cunt. Then he asked Charlotte if he would like to model for him. Charlotte seemed extremely nervous but realized if she modeled for him she would have the opportunity to have him in her gallery. To Charlotte, the ends justified the means, and she modeled for him. So the artist was right, the cunt is the most powerful source in the universe. Later in the episode another frigid bitch appears in the form of a female maitre d’. Carrie calls her the most powerful woman in the city because she has the power to turn people away at the door, or seat them if she deems them worthy. Carrie meets this woman in the bathroom and the maitre d’ asks Carrie for a tampon. Honestly, if it were me I would probably have said no. Carrie, however, said yes and handed her the tampon. That tampon gave Carrie a table at that restaurant whenever she needed. Sex is power. The question is how do we use it?

Weeds is a different show, but we get the same message. Nancy Botwin is a widow, a mother, and a drug dealer. She lives in a suburban neighborhood, in a big house, and drives a big nice car. When she had a husband there was no need for Nancy to work, she was a stay at home mom. However, there are bills to pay and children to feed so Nancy needs to find a way to provide for her family. In the pilot episode titled, You Can’t Miss the Bear, we are introduced into the world that is Nancy’s. The show opens with Nancy at a PTA meeting discussing a possible ban on all sugary drinks. My mother never went to those PTA meetings. So far Nancy is shown as a caring and present mother. Then we see her at a soccer game! So Nancy is a soccer mom, but she is also a drug dealer. At the soccer games, she sits under a tent and waits for the other parents to come up to her and right in front of everyone, a transaction takes place. However, Nancy has her morals, she won’t deal to children. Nancy is a woman working in a man’s world. Not only is she a woman, she is a pretty woman working in a man’s world. In the episode we saw it wasn’t clear whether or not she actually used her sexuality as an advantage, but it seems clear that her sexuality must be an advantage. However, her sexuality could also be a disadvantage. Nevertheless, Nancy is a devoted mom who will go to any length to put food on her children’s table.

I plan on using Weeds in my final screening blog post. She is a widow who brings her work into the home, and later brings her children into her work as well.  Is she a good mother, or is she a horrendous mother? Will her parenting scar her children forever? Or are they already scarred because their father died, and they only have one parent? These are the questions that interest me, and I would like to use Weeds to help me answer these questions.

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