20 March 2007 | alexandra-25
She knows her place!
The made for TV film; Moms on Strike was rather a let down in that the mother easily gave in at the end, turning down a lucrative career opportunity. Note that this occurred immediately following her guest appearance on a TV chat show where the chauvinistic host, who of course is a man endeavoured to subordinate this Mother via misogynistic verbal abuse. This is what allot of women who dare to step out of line must put up with from men and a patriarchal society. A patriarchal society where men rule want women to be at their mercy to buttress their dominant position! This is why men - the prominent majority in world governments - would never consider empowering women via making the stay at home mother a salaried position.
Moreover, what the film didn't illustrate was the broader affect of strike action in the home has. To explain further, if women didn't take care of the domestic side to family life their spouses would not work as affectively in their jobs and as such company profits would suffer and society would fall apart.
Meanwhile the idea of the First Lady taking on the cause of mothers on strike had more to do with her own political agenda. In other words the mother's strike was used by the First Lady to promote her profile and further her own career as opposed to address the needs of ordinary domestic women.
The concept of the 'ordinary woman' applies here to those the politicians endeavour to reach, such as the Mother featured in; Moms on Strike, who is archetypal middle class. A job or career is not a choice for many working-class mothers who have to work to contribute to low family incomes. Often such women work in low-skilled poorly-paid repetitive or mundane jobs. They will arrive home to the burden of the domestic chores and often a male spouse who negates to contribute financially let alone to the household duties.
It is often the case that women's lack of opportunities culminates not from class position alone, but from gender classification. Originally classified via dubious Victorian sciences originated in the 19th Century, the stereotyping of women mean that they - as well as men - become conditioned into gender roles from birth. For example girls will be conditioned to focus on physical appearance and boyfriends. Likewise boys will be conditioned to focus on sports as this film illustrates. As such the Mother featured in Moms on Strike perpetuated her situation by classifying her own children into stereotypical gender roles.
Meanwhile,another aspect of the domestic life of a mother and wife that the film did not address is the isolation of women when home-making. If the primary care giver was waged and less isolated then this would have the potential to resolve some of the problems of domestic life. Moreover if society sees care giving as cohesive as opposed to one person's primary duty then domestic issues could potentially be further resolved.
The resolving of the issues featured in; Moms on Strke will only be addressed - not necessarily resolved - when the film is reached by both men and women. But to permit such a film aimed primarily at women and womens issues to gain democratic appeal then they must be contextualised within a format which appeals to both genders. A good example of such a film is Rio Grande (1950), directed by John Ford. On the surface this film, a western, is one which is aimed at men; but Ford cleverly addresses women's issues within its context!
Where Ford romanticises the issues pertaining to Maureen O'Hara's character in Rio Grande, John Boutling, director of the film; I'm Alright Jack (1959), has a more down to Earth approach when addressing womens situations. Simarlrly to Moms on Strike, in; I'm Alright Jack, the wife of the trade union leader - who is himself striking from his paid employment - downs all domestic tools in protest of her undervalued contribution to the household and society.
As to the acting in; Moms on Strike, it was good, particularly from Sarah Gadon, playing the role of the daughter. She convinced as a daughter who was disrespectful of a mother who permitted herself to submit to subordination!
In sum this is a good message film, which could have went further and endeavoured to reach a wider audience by appealing to both sexes!