A Queer, a Lesbian, and a left-wing political Activist walk into a bar.

No matter how many times I watch “9 to 5” I never tire of it. It’s sharp social commentary with just enough slapstick to make it easily accessible. And funnily enough each time I watch it I feel like I walk away with something new. This time it made me realise the importance of role models.

Like I said, the movie is both a realistic contemporary snapshot (surreal revenge fantasies included) and deal rather magnificently with patriarchal oppression and even make subtle points about racism. It doesn’t only show what patriarchy does to keep women at their feet, the constant exclusion (you wouldn’t know what it’s like) and the faked empathy (I know what you feel, I know what you deal with), all those seemingly innocent epithet and adjectives only meant to belittle, the backwards compliments (you’re not just a dumb blonde secretary to me), but the movie also deals with how women interact with other women. Sadly commenting on how much easier an internal fight within the (very blurry) boundaries of our own gender is, than to face facts and engage in what feels like a hopeless struggle against very strict societal norms rigid in their continuous oppression of anyone who doesn’t have a pink penis. All of that have been more than enough to entertain me and keep my childish love of the movie alive even after I started getting body hair and moved beyond laughing hysterically at Violet panicking. My childhood love has only matured. But last night I realised there was yet another very obvious facet of my love, one that went beyond a general sense of empowering of women and a celebration of their strengths. Because damnit the movie actually stars three to me perfectly tailored role models.

With the witty lesbian comedian, the “fuck y’all’s expectations” gender fucker, and the passionate left-wing feminist; this movie takes on a whole nother level of duh. Of course I love this shit. Say what you will about all of them, and I don’t think either one of them should be put on any kind of pedestal (I like them too much to want to see them fall off and hurt themselves), but I still think of them as role models. Lily Tomlin’s social comedy is sharper than a porcelain knife, Dolly Parton’s seemingly natural ability to play with and rework gender expectations to become her bitch is almost frightening in its hypnotising force and Jane Fonda’s political passion and almost naive idealism is strangely inspiring and very uplifting. Sure there’s more to all of them, but what makes this movie so great to me are those specifics in context and combination with each other. It’s the awesomesauce that floods my keyboard, causing it to short-circuit and execute a complete “pushing of all buttons simultaneously”.

So not only is “9 to 5” an entertaining comedy that tells a nuanced tale of oppression, but its also partly crafted out of the essence of three very different but equally bright role models. Maybe not for you, but definitely for me.

In other words, yet another facet found, documented and heartily appreciated. And I can therefore sleep well in the knowledge that once again “9 to 5” has delivered.

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~ by Ape on September 15, 2012.

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