Our team chose to focus on representations of women in Spike Lees latest joint,Bamboozled. This theme was attractive to us because we felt the filmmakerhad a powerful message to send his audience after viewing the trailer in class. Despite the fact that there is only one woman in a starring role, a multitude ofspecific and acute ideas are presented by Spike Lee through the film. We werealso eager to take advantage of the opportunity to apply what we have learnedin class to the thought-provoking and controversial nature of his work.
When reflecting upon representations of women, we felt that a continuousmotif of women as puppets is present. The lead female character, SloanHopkins, is played by Jada Pinkett Smith. She comes across as being underPierre Delacroix, or his puppet, from her first appearance in the film. Theopening scene of the movie emphasizes this as he is yelling at her for notinforming him of a staff meeting. Sloan continually apologizes but, not knowingabout the meeting, has no reason to do so. Regardless of this fact, she is putdown and silenced by Delacroix. He dismisses everything she says and acts asthe voice of authority with no consideration of the actual circumstances. She ismerely his puppet who has failed. When Delacroix comes up with the MantanShow idea, Sloan feels strongly against it. However, she is the one who has toresearch and come up with historical portfolios for the show. She tries toeducate everyone about what they are getting into by doing such a blatantlywrong show, but her voice is not heard and her arguments are brushed aside. She remains a puppet controlled by Delacroix. It seems the only way she has toget any attention is to agree and go along with the horrible concept. These arejust a few examples of how Sloan acts as a puppet. We would like to move on tosome other representations of women that continue this motif.
Women in the film were also portrayed as puppets for society. This isdemonstrated through the stereotypical roles the characters fulfilled. They wereused as a tool for advertising, in this case clothing and an alcoholic beverage. Scantily clad and engaging in sexual behavior, the women are used as objects inadvertising to sell products. Another character that is highly sexualized is theonly female member of the rap group, Mau Mau. Her official name in the creditsis Smooth Black, but we will refer to her simply as Lollipop Girl. She plays therole of group slut and comes across as sexually promiscuous. There is alwaysa lollipop present with her and its obviously meant to be a phallic symbol. Hermain response is agreeing with all the men in her music group. This makes hersubmissive in the same vein that Sloan bows down to the wishes of her malecounterparts. While these are two completely different characters both visuallyand mentally, they are portrayed in a similar manner of disrespect. Both play therole of a yes woman despite their attempts to assert themselves.
Throughout the film, women in high levels of education or authority wereviewed to be just as ignorant as Lollipop Girl or the women in the commercials. In the eyes of the male characters, women with PhDs as well as professionalwriters could just as easily have been the booty bitches from the TimmiHillnigger commercial. All the women are tied down by the strings ofsexualization no matter what they try to do. A college degree, intelligence, anddetermination makes them no different in the eyes of men. No matter what awoman does to try and prove herself in the film, she gets nowhere. Sloan iseven accused of sleeping with Delacroix to get her position. She feels the needto prove herself to Manray and other characters by explaining her ascent to thetop, an internship. This is further illustration of the idea that women have to usetheir sexuality to get somewhere in life, despite intelligence or determination. Ifa woman does use her sexuality for personally beneficial reasons she musteither defend or hide it.
We feel the portrayal of women in Bamboozled says a lot about the waythey are represented not only in the media, but in capitalistic society. Womenare underrepresented in the media, like this film, and the few depictions aregenerally negative. They are the slut, yes woman, or sexual object. There areinfrequent representations of women in positions of authority or in assertiveroles. We wonder if its possible for females to overcome these stereotypes inactual society when they are constantly tied down by the strings of theirpuppeteers. But the question remains, who are the puppeteers?Words/ Pages : 785 / 24