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Fried Green Tomatoes

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Sarah Rudd

on 24 May 2013

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Transcript of Fried Green Tomatoes

Lens: Feminist Fried Green Tomatoes Feminist Lens A Feminist lens is one that allows a reader or viewer to examine the portrayal and treatment of both men and women in a book or movie. It is important to look for a feminist lens in books and movies to determine if the author/producer is trying to criticize the gender roles within society through the relationships between characters, the portrayal of characters based on gender, and the language used within the text. Looking Through The Lens In Fannie Flagg's novel, "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe," she argues that the treatment of women in comparison to men is unequal and needs to change. This idea is also carried over into the movie, "Fried Green Tomatoes." Both the book and movie provide many examples of scenarios that deal with unequal gender stereotypes. The inclusion of these examples allows Fannie Flagg and Jon Avnet to successfully argue that the gender roles and expectations are unequal and unfair. Book Example #1 “She had no idea why she wanted to be with Idgie more than anybody else on this earth, but she did. She had prayed about it, she had cried about it; but there was no answer except go back home and marry Frank Bennett, the young man she was engaged to marry, and try to be a good wife and mother” (88). Book Example #2 Book Example #3 "She remembered how Ed had once complimented that same woman at the office when she had stood up to the boss. He had bragged about her, saying what a ballsy dame she was. But now that she thoughta bout it, she wondered: What did that woman's strength have to do with Ed's anatomy? He hadn't said, "boy, she's got some ovaries"; he had definitely said what balls she had. Ovaries have eggs in them, she thought: Shouldn't they be as important as sperm?" (276). By: Sarah Rudd Context Book Example 1 Ruth Jamison, a character in the past, is in love with Idgie Threadgoode, another female living in Whistle Stop, Alabama. Although she is in love with Idgie, she knows that they can never be together. Analysis Here, Fannie Flagg is criticizing the unfair
expectations of women. Ruth really loves
Idgie, but know that it can never be, so she
decides to fulfill her "duties" as a woman and marry Frank Bennett. This is an example of a feminist criticism because Flagg is giving an example of the unfair expectations of women and showing that these expectations deprive women of true happiness. Context Book Example 2 “Evelyn wondered; why always sexual names? And why, when men wanted to degrade other men, did they call them pussies? As if that was the worst thing in the world. What have we done to be thought of that way?...It’s not fair” (237). Evelyn Couch, from the present day, has been suffering from a failing relationship with her husband, as well as many menopausal symptoms. She has discovered she is afraid of letting down men and being called names, and starts to reexamine the treatment of women. Analysis Here, Evelyn is inquiring as to why women are seen as inferior to men. Flagg personally speaks through this scene because she herself is criticizing the role women are expected to play in society. She is asking the reader to look at the unjustness by forcing them to consider Evelyn's point of view. Context Book Example 3 As Evelyn Couch continues to reexamine
the role women play in society,
she inquires why men so often look down on females. Analysis Here, Evelyn wonders why the male anatomy is used to determine superiority instead of the anatomy of females. Why are strong and confident people associated with males and not females? Flagg is asking the readers this question and forcing them to reconsider the comparisons between the strength of men and women. Context Movie Example 1 Before he was killed in a train accident, Buddy Threadgoode, the brother of Idgie Threadgoode, was romantically involved with Ruth Jamison, an innocent church girl. Because Idgie and Buddy had been so close, Buddy's death really affected Idgie. Eventually, Momma Threadgoode invited Ruth Jamison to stay with them in hopes that she would be a positive influence on Idgie. Eventually, they become best friends and share many memories together. Movie Example #1 Start 1:10 Analysis This clip shows that Ruth is considered a "good girl" because she does everything asked of her, meaning that she fulfills her gender expectations. She even says that she is going to marry the man she's supposed to, even though she doesn't really love him. It is being shown here that the gender expectations of women are unfair and ask too much. Movie Example #2 alksdjfsdf Context Movie Example 2 Evelyn Couch is often made fun of her for her size and her age. Eventually, Evelyn has enough. After the parking spot she was waiting for was taken, she got so angry that she smashed the car who took her spot. She had had enough of being disrepected and has a sudden urge to take action against all forces restraining her. Analysis By including this scene in the movie, many flaws in today's society regarding the treatment of women and the physical expectations that they are expectated to live up to are presented in the minds of the viewers. Here is another place where a criticism of gender expectations is successful. Movie Example #3 When Idgie is visiting with Ruth, she notices that Ruth has a black eye. She asks Ruth what it was from, and Ruth was hesitant to tell her - it turns out that Frank had been beating her. Idgie got upset and wanted Ruth to leave with her. However, Ruth felt trapped and told Idgie that if she really loved her, she would turn around and leave. Idgie did. Context Movie Example 3 Because Ruth felt that it was the "right" thing to do to marry Frank Bennett, Ruth left Idgie's family and went of to Georgia to marry the man she was supposed to. A while later, Idgie decided to go and visit Ruth at her new house. Analysis This example is an examination of the power that men have over women and the powerlessness that women feel. The occurrence of a woman not leaving her abusive husband is not an uncommon circumstance in today's world, and the director included this in the movie to further examine gender roles and criticize them for causing women to feel so helpless. Start at 2:00 Success of Author Success of Director Overall, Fannie Flagg was successful in getting her points across regarding the inequality in gender stereotypes. She included many examples of women being treated unfairly, like the examples previously shown. These examples force the reader to view the current gender roles as unfair - the way in which she words the scenes make men appear as the perpetrators. Fannie Flagg was trying to argue that the treatment of women needs to be changed because women are given too high of expectations and are unable to get away with the same things that men are, and she was successful in her attempt. The director, Jon Avnet, was successful in his criticisms of gender roles in his film "Fried Green Tomatoes" because of the way he depicted gender roles. The inclusion of scenes that demonstrate the role of gender expectations put a negative light on the way that women are treated. The usage of close ups and high vs low angles allow the viewer to tune in to the character's emotions and examine how they are feeling as a result of the gender stereotypes, which made his criticisms of gender roles particularly effective. Limitations Because a book only offers a verbal discription of what is going on, there were limitations to the book because it's hard to envision someone's emotions through words. The feminist lens has a lot to do with how characters treat one another and how each gender feels as a result of gender roles and expectations, and the emotions regarding these gender stereotpyes were easier to see in the movie. Quick Summary "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" tells the story of two women, Evelyn Couch and "Ninny" Threadgoode, who frequently visit at Rose Hills Nursing home. Evelyn often goes with her husband, Ed, to visit one of his relatives, and during his visit, Evelyn goes to talk to Ninny to listen to the stories from her past. The other two main characters, Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison, are shown in the past stories that Ninny tells to Evelyn. Both the book and movie switch off between the present (at the nursing home) and the past (Ninny's younger years).
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