The miserable gender stereotypes of 'Les Miserables'

  • Article by: Stacy Wolf , Special to the Washington Post
  • Updated: December 31, 2012 - 5:12 PM

Women exist not to drive the plot but to sacrifice for the men, the real stars of the show.

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eman2001Dec. 31, 12 6:02 PM

Oh, poor me!

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hobie2Jan. 1, 13 1:35 AM

It's been the story for three thousand years - a tale of women carrying the emotion of the culture, and a tale of bad men working to their own ends at the expense of civility and of good men blunting the outside threats to the society at great personal risk and loss - and each supported for it by the other... It is the model which 100 generations across numerous cultures repeated, each feeling that women sacrificing to their task and men sacrificing to theirs gave a deeper meaning to the lives of women and men... Fortunately, in our American society in the last 30 years we have found that the previous 100 generations of all those societies were idiots and fools who knew nothing of how men and women actually work. We are so lucky to live in an enlightened era of social networking where keyboards speak for us, and of dates where we sit in the dark and stare in pairs at make believe. We know so much more of the other sex than those ignorant people of the 100 previous generations did of theirs - fewer divorces, tighter bonded families.. our list of greatness in matters of human relations compared to those generations just boggles the mind.

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rms316Jan. 1, 13 7:15 AM

I think the author is taking this a bit too seriously. I didn't like the movie at all anyway for various reasons. Showing poverty, slavery, tragedy and abuse of women is not my idea of entertainment. Plus given all of that and taking place 150 years ago, everybody had perfect white teeth!

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liora51Jan. 1, 13 7:57 AM

I am going to see it today, and I have been an unashamed feminist for over 40 years. This article struck me as picking at nits. It was an ugly period in history.

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w1walshJan. 1, 13 9:09 AM

Unfortunately, women in the 1800's were marginalized. They have been marginalized for centuries. Sugar coating history by depicting woman as equals during those times would only take away from the last 100 years of society making great strides in accepting and treating woman as equals. Being able to see the contrast between then and now shows the enlightenment that has been gained.

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makehareJan. 1, 1311:10 AM

Wow. Good thing you pointed out that a work of fiction that took place over 200 years ago wasn't P.C.

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kwindhauserJan. 1, 1312:32 PM

Those of you pointing out things like "a work of fiction that took place over 200 years ago wasn't P.C." are missing the point of the author's criticism (and likely haven't read Hugo's book or seen the French production). In those versions, women figure prominently. The author is pointing out that the American version has reduced the roles of women relative to the original book and the French production. This is her complaint. I'm sure that someone who studies this field is aware of the historical circumstances of 19th century France. As someone who has read the book and seen the American film (admittedly I haven't seen any French productions) I can tell you that the American film certainly does dumb down the female characters. Not to mention this: "In addition, the team rewrote her song "On My Own," originally about poverty and hunger, to express unrequited love." That just verges on ridiculous. Clearly the producers of the film felt American audiences couldn't handle or simply wouldn't like a film about serious issues. Better make it a love story!

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beebee82Jan. 1, 13 3:28 PM

I'm so glad my stepdaughter has Katniss Everdeen rather than Eponine to emulate in pop culture these days. I never did like "Les Miz." Jane Eyre was much more suited to this post 1980s feminist's tastes. Just because some business savvy playwright immortalized an old French book doesn't make it classic material in need of remaking every five years in my view.

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rafannonJan. 1, 13 5:17 PM

This is the way it was back when... learn from History and dont let it come back!!!... sometimes the story has to be told over and over again for people to remember

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