Monday, August 30, 2010

A woman to come home to

Just finished watching Anchors Aweigh (Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Kathryn Grayson) and I can't help admiring the outfits of the leading lady Aunt Susie (Grayson), but this won't be a fashion post. (Note to self: scarf/ribbon headbands look great with curly hair!)

At the beginning of the movie, you see Joe (Kelly) and Clarence (Sinatra)--navy men--getting off the ship so they can enjoy a few day's leave in Hollywood. Joe is the type to easily charm the ladies, while Clarence is the shy guy who always doesn't know what to say. Anyway, because they're together on leave, Clarence sticks to Joe like a barnacle, asking for help to, er, charm the ladies.

You can see it's all about flirting and charming to them... and from here you get the picture of what a navy man is like: there are pin-up pictures of women in their locker, they gather around telling stories of how well they scored (not in today's sense of the word, though), and they rejoice over meeting a lady who "lives alone." To top it off, this funny song (link below) shows exactly what kind of woman a lady is believed to be if she hangs out with too many navy men:

[I can't embed it so you'll have to go to YouTube.]

(Of course, Joe and Clarence were only lying to the poor man here. Clarence had a crush on Susie and, wanting to get rid of her date, he and Joe smudged her reputation, haha!)

During their leave (and in the process of getting to know Susie more), the two navy men learn that women are not prizes you catch for being "charming"; they aren't marks on a tally board to boast of. By some amusing turn of events involving a lost kid who wants to join the navy, the men making up one lie after another, dinner-and-dance dates at a Mexican restaurant, and having to run after a famous musician to make up for the lies, both men learn that, more than having a lady to be with during a leave, what's more important was to have "somebody to come home to"--a lady for keeps!

I think their meeting a woman of substance (Susie) helped Joe and Clarence "grow up"--not only in their regard for women, but also in their realizing the consequences of their actions (they kept seeing Susie with the excuse that they knew somebody in Hollywood who would give her an audition--a lie that progressively got worse as the plot unfolded). The guys had a lucky break that Jose Iturbi (as himself) was kind enough to give Susie her audition even if the whole thing was all made up!

What I like about this film (besides the music and the dancing!) is the way it portrays women as people men must take the time to get to know--women have dreams, too, and they need to be respected... and they're definitely not people to be lied to or simply taken in by some guy's "charms." Today, this still rings true, but it's harder to see that it's wanting because popular media has clouded the view by insisting women are more liberated if they be more naughty like Megan Fox, eccentric/wild like Lady Gaga or super tough like Salt. I'm not sure how "liberation" can ever happen when women are objectified (which all three are).

What do you think?

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