Friday, May 15, 2009

Damage Done by Women in Film

Chantal Castillo
Professor Wexler
English 436
13 May 2009

Damage Done by Women in Film

Movies are an integral part of our lives. Each week, millions of people go out to the movies to entertain themselves. Women in these movies are portrayed in a variety of ways. Due to the mass audience of moviegoers, film’s portrayal of women has an important and powerful effect in shaping people’s view of women.

The movies have a variety of ways that they portray women. The movie Obsessed starring Ali Larter is a very recent Hollywood blockbuster. It is so recent that it is still in theaters. The character that Ali Larter plays, Lisa, starts off as an overachieving temp in an office. She thinks her boss is cute and she starts to research him. That is when the obsession starts to form. She starts getting to know every aspect of his life. Her boss, Derek, is married with a wife and a young son. During the Christmas party, she locks herself in a bathroom stall with him and tries to get him to have sex with her. After her boss refuses, she quits her job and everything seems to quiet down. That is until she comes back months later at a retreat for Derek’s job and she tries to sleep with him in his hotel room. After Derek refuses again, she overdoses on pills in his hotel room and she is brought to the hospital. The police get involved; no one believes that he did not have an affair and that Lisa is crazy. Lisa disappears once again until she comes back on a night Derek and his wife are out and she goes in their house. After contacting the police, surveillance is put on the house, but Lisa ends up getting in anyway. Derek’s wife, Sharon fights with her to save her life and Lisa dies after falling two stories to the ground, all because she was obsessed.

In the movie, Lisa is portrayed in a very interesting light. She is a hardworking temp at first; she seems to be better than most people. She seems innocent and is very sweet and efficient. However, after she becomes obsessed, she turns into a monster. She researches every aspect of Derek’s life, follows him around, creates delusions of them being together and writes about it, and tries to commit suicide when he refuses to have sex with her. She is mentally unstable and is a danger to herself and others. Lisa comes back into Derek’s house and puts his son into Derek’s car so he and his wife think their son has been kidnapped. She comes into the house when the family is going away for a weekend to celebrate their anniversary and gets the bedroom ready for her and Derek. Lisa fight with Sharon and still tries to kill her even when Lisa is falling and Sharon tries to save her. Lisa’s character is a madwoman and insane.

According to Gilbert and Gubar in their piece “The Madwoman in the Attic,” there are several archetypes of women. Lisa seems to be two sided. At first, she falls into the category of an “angel” because she is a very efficient temp and a good employee (Gilbert and Gubar 813). She seems too good to be true, and she is. Another part of Lisa’s character is that she has a “charismatic beauty,” all of the men in the office think she is beautiful and all want her for themselves (Gilbert and Gubar 813). The other more evil part of Lisa is the part that fits into the category of “women [that] were inexorably and inescapably monstrous” (Gilbert and Gubar 821). Derek even refers to Lisa as a monster in the movie when she tries to have an affair with him and take his wife and son away from him. In an article by Fang-chih Irene Yang entitled “Beautiful-and-Bad Woman: Media Feminism and the Politics of Its Construction,” she talk about the modern attractive woman. According to Yang, “the image of a beautiful-and-bad woman … has been touted as the spokeswoman of the new feminism in [the] twenty-first century” (Yang 361). Lisa is a beautiful woman, but she has a dark and dangerous side. To all the men other than Derek, this makes her attractive. She falls into this category of new sex symbol for the twenty-first century.

Another movie that has an interesting and complex woman character is the movie Forrest Gump which stars Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump. In the movie, Forrest is in love with his childhood friend, Jenny. Jenny is abused as a child by her father. When she gets older, she goes and participates in risky behaviors. She ends up with men who are abusive like her father, or who do not truly care about her. Forrest loves her throughout all of this. In the end, after no one else wants her and Jenny becomes sick, Forrest finally gets to marry Jenny. They have a son from a previous time when they made love and they live together happily until Jenny dies from AIDS.

Jenny is an interesting character because she falls into a couple of categories of women. When Jenny is living her wild and crazy life, she seems to be a “penitent prostitute” (Gilbert and Gubar 815). Jenny always believes in God and has that to fall on and sometimes she uses her body to get men to like her. She even performs naked on stage once and uses a guitar to cover her body while she plays a folk song. She tries to get people to like her for being a singer, but in the end, men only care about her body. Jenny gets into drugs and eventually gets AIDS and becomes a woman who is undesirable after her youth. She becomes a woman who is “completely void of generative power” because after her youth, she lost what made men attracted to her and lost her only source of power (Gilbert and Gubar 815). After Jenny recovers from her wild and crazy party life, she settles down and becomes a mother and a housewife. To Forrest, she becomes “almost literally an angel on earth” (Gilbert and Gubar 815). After her wild and crazy days, Jenny becomes the perfect housewife until she gets too sick to care for her family anymore. Then Forrest takes over and helps his angel. Throughout her life, Jenny went from being a whore to becoming an angelic housewife. This shows change can occur in women.

Another set of movies that are very influential are the Disney princess movies. In movies such as Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Aladdin, women are portrayed similarly. The women have little to no power in the beginning. They are beautiful and innocent, but helpless. Then their prince comes along and he saves the day. Something must have been wrong with the woman before her prince charming comes along, she was not complete. After her prince charming comes, she is empowered and she becomes a princess.

These Disney princesses are “angelic virgins” whose “‘purity’ signifies that they are, of course, self-less” (Gilbert and Gubar 815). They also exemplify the role of “angel in the house” (Gilbert and Gubar 815). The Disney princesses are good at housekeeping, they know their place and they can cook and be the perfect hostess. They submit their will to their men and are in servitude to them. They are also the embodiment of perfection. They are innocent and without fault. They must meet this criteria in order to one day become a princess. According to an article by Amy M. Davis called “The ‘Dark Prince’ and Dream Women: Walt Disney and Mid-twentieth Century American Feminism,” it was believed that “a woman’s place is in the home” (Davis 216). Someone who worked with Walt Disney observed that “Walt was shy and uncomfortable around girls, but they loved him and he appreciated how they helped him” (Davis 215). This is evident in Disney’s films. Women are these figures that are so idealized that they are unreal. They help men and they are subservient to them. Walt Disney tried to be equal to men and women. In a statement he made, he said, “[t]he girl artists have the right to expect the same chances for advancement as men” (Davis 218). Even though Disney tried to be equal, he still believed in some of the stereotypes of women. It is stated that “[Walt] wanted a woman writer for the Beethoven story because he felt a woman would bring more heart to it” (Davis 218). He still believed that women were more sympathetic than men and that this story needed a woman’s touch. Disney still believed in the woman’s gentility and this shows through his portrayal of women in his movies.

Through these examples in the movies, different types of women are apparent in the media. In Obsessed, Lisa is seemingly good and perfect, but too good to be true. In the end, she become a crazy and demonic monster. In Forrest Gump, Jenny goes from being abused child to abused adult, she is flawed. She uses her body and becomes prostitute like, and then she gets into drugs and gets with men that she should not be with and eventually gets AIDS and dies from it. Even though in the end, Jenny changes to become a better person and a good wife and mother, she cannot escape her past and has to suffer from her mistakes. The Disney princesses are all the ideal forms of what a good woman should be. They all exemplify the housewife role and are all submissive to men. All of these films’s portrayal of women are different, but they are all potentially dangerous.

Several different types of people watch movies. Movies are something that play a large role in American culture. Due to this, several people’s ideas of women are shaped by watching these movies and through seeing how women are portrayed in those movies. All of these portrayals of women in these three movies are unrealistic. Women should not aspire to be any of these women that are portrayed in the film. According to Judith Fetterley in her piece “On the Politics of Literature,” “[w]hen only one reality is encouraged, legitimized, and transmitted and when that limited vision endlessly insist on its comprehensiveness, then we have the conditions necessary for that confusion of consciousness in which impalpability flourishes” (Fetterley). This means that the movies have a harmful effect on people. Whatever is seen in the movies becomes acceptable in society. These forms of women that are unrealistic become the goal, just because they were in the movies. The effect that this has on society is that people see these portrayals of women, and these become the norm. Also, if there is a portrayal of women that is unacceptable, it may not become the norm, but it may become acceptable. After these portrayals of women become acceptable, the damage is done. Women want to try to emulate what they see in the movies. Unhealthy images of self can emerge from this because women who do not fit into these roles feel inferior. They feel that they must change themselves in order to be accepted and acceptable. Women that may have been perfectly fine before feel that they need to change themselves just to fit into society. This is unhealthy and should be avoided.

Women in American culture have always been subordinate to men or considered less than men. With the feminist movement, women gained power and were able to be seen as equal to men. However, men still make more money than women in most professions and injustices still occur. Luce Irigaray states in her piece “The Power of Discourse and the Subordination of the Feminine” that “[o]ne must assume the feminine role deliberately” (Irigaray 795). Women have been conforming to men’s desires for so long, that is all they have ever known. Men have ideals that they want women to follow. Men imagine women being the angelic housewife who succumbs to the will and caters to their every desire. Irigaray also talks about how “[t]o play with mimesis is thus, for a woman, to try to recover the place of her exploitation by discourse, without allowing herself to be simply reduced to it” (Irigaray 795). Women try to imitate what they see. Men have created the world that women are supposed to fit into. By women trying to act like what they see, they are only fitting into what roles men what them to fit into.

Mimesis is a form of imitation. The film is a powerful form of media. People want to be like what they see in the movies. Several of the people in charge of movies are men, more so than women. Men have the power in this situation. Men get to choose what they want to see in the movies, how the characters will act, and several other aspects of films that have to get their seal of approval before films hit the big screen. The women that are portrayed in these movies are approved by men. The movies are not real, but are idealized forms of the world. People make movies about how they would like the world to be. Men have created these women characters so that they fit into the roles that they believe women should fit in. Men have these power relationships that they have created. By doing this, when women see movies, they want to be like the women that they see in the movies. The women do their best to emulate what they see, and thus fall into the roles that men want them to fit into.

In movies, there are a variety of roles that are portrayed. Sometimes, there are roles that are good to follow. Sometimes, women that are portrayed in the movies are roles that are good to follow and are good role models. However, other times women are not good role models to follow in films. From the prostitute to the subservient housewife, anything that is unrealistic or immoral should not be followed. Women who use their body to get power over men only end up degrading themselves. However, many women in the American culture see this and try to follow these examples. Also, the idealized roles of women that are unattainable are not good to follow either. No one is perfect, but sometimes characters in movies are almost perfect. When women try to follow these idealized roles, it only creates stress because they can never fit into that role. This can be just as harmful as women trying to follow bad role models. All these movies that have been previously discussed have roles that women play that should not be followed. All of the articles show that men have created roles for women that they like women to fall into. Women should resist and be who they are. Women need to learn to love and accept themselves and be happy with who they are. They do not need to imitate what they see in the movies to become good people. More realistic roles of women should be portrayed in the movies. Ultimately, movies are something that greatly influence women, but women can learn to overcome the power that movies have and not fit into their unrealistic roles. Only doing so leads to harm. Women should be happy just the way they are, after all, it is only the movies.



Works Cited

Davis, Amy M. “The ‘Dark Prince’ and Dream Women: Walt Disney and Mid-twentieth Century
American Feminism.” Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television 25:2 (2005). 213-230. 13 May 2009 Academic Search Elite (EbscoHost).

Fetterley, Judith. “On the Politics of Literature.” Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Eds.
Rivkin & Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Gilbert, Sandra and Susan Gubar. “The Madwoman in the Attic.” Literary Theory: An
Anthology. 2nd ed. Eds. Rivkin & Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 812-
825.

Irigaray, Luce. “The Power of Discourse and the Subordination of the Feminine” Literary
Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Eds. Rivkin & Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 795-798.

Yang, Fang-chih Irene. “Beautiful-and-Bad Woman: Media Feminism and the Politics of Its
Construction.” Feminist Studies. 33:2 (2007). 361-383. 13 May 2009 Academic Search Elite (Ebsco Host).





Thursday, May 7, 2009

Favorite Blog Posts

This contains the list of my favorite blog posts that I made over the course of the semester. I don't know if I gave anyone any insight, I felt more like I gained insight from others! Thanks to everyone, you made this semester fun and insightful!



Week 5: Linguistics

Hey Marina, I liked your analysis of lingusitics and language! It really helped me to understand the concept better! I know, when you were talking about the part how language is just a bunch of words that humans came up with to attach words to meanings and objects, it got me thinking. I was wondering about how when people try to translate words from one language to another, how things sometimes get lost in translation. Sometimes, there is no word in another language for a word in the one that it is being translated from. Or sometimes when people who speak another language say the word in their language and go, I don't know how to translate that, or it's hard to give meaning to that word. I wonder how some languages can better express some things better than others. Each language seems to have a personality then. The words can confer an idea, a object, an emotion, a variety of things. What makes one language better at being able to communicate something than another? Just some thoughts, thanks for your post!



Week 6: Writing is Therapy

Alright, I have heard this before from one of my other professors, but after having read the readings for this week, I believe it more and more. Freud would say that writing is a form of therapy. He believes that writers have issues. They have problems with their ego and they like to be in control, they want to be the masters of their work. He might also believe that they have some issues that they need to deal with, so they do so when they write. Writing helps writers because they can release whatever problems they have and do so by creating their own worlds, or having their characters deal with whatever situations they would want them to have to deal with. In a sense, they can play God. This only goes to reinforce their egos. So, Freud would say that writers are crazy people who are control freaks and their form of therapy is writing. I am an English - Creative Writing major, and one day I plan on being an author, so I don't know how true that is, but I have heard that is what Freud believes. According to Freud, I am an insane egomaniac, how interesting! :P



Week 11: Foucault's Theory on Knowledge and Power

I love what you have to say about knowledge Marina! It's very insightful! That's pretty cool when you think about it, all of us have knowledge, just different kinds of it. Going off on that tangent, when we think about society, the most successful careers and most looked up to careers are the ones that require the most knowledge. Doctors and lawyers are two groups of people that are looked upon very highly, given much respect, and supposedly (but not necessarily true) are successful and make good amounts of money. However, both these professions require years of schooling, more than most. Then, after all the years of schooling, it typically takes time for them to establish themselves in order to have the highly sought after careers. Anyway, the American society seems to respect people who gain the most amount of knowledge. The more knowledge one attains, the more respect and presitige one has. That is why schooling has such a big emphasis in America. Now, the bachelor's degree is the new high school degree. It is not just enough for someone to just graduate high school, in order to make it in this world, someone has to have at least a basic college degree. A master's degree is not that unusual to have anymore, people hear that the higher a degree they have, the more money they will make over a lifetime, so more people are going higher and achieving more. This has had a great effect on American society. Right now, the way the economy is going, taxes are going up and minimum wage is going down. This encourages people to stay in school longer and gain more knowledge. The pressure that people have to complete higher levels of education is immense. I wonder how that will affect people's stress levels. All because of the concept that knowledge is power!



Week 12: Feminism...finally something I understand!

Alright, I'm definitely not the brightest person in this class, I'm probably the youngest person in the class, but I have had a hard time getting a grasp on most of these theories. The only one that I had a pretty good grasp on was psychoanalysis. Finally, now that we're doing feminism, it is another topic that I understand. I really liked the Gilbert and Gubar reading, "Madwoman in the Attic," as did most people who have posted so far. I thought it was quite interesting how the two main types of women that appeared in stories were either angelic figures or witch-like figures. Women could only be saintly or evil. Men were also the main writers of published works, so I thought it was interesting how they only wrote about the two extremes. Women were only put on a pedestal or completely demeaned. I believe that with feminism, we have come a long way. Not only are there more women writers now so that women do not only have to read from the view of men, but now women appear as women and not one of the two extremes. Women are now real people in literature. Of course, this whole idea of women as either an angel or a devil still exists today, but at least progress has been made.



Week 13: Miss America debate

I'm not going to post anything from the Miss America debates from Week 13, but I must say, that was the most engaging posting I've done over the semester. I think everyone got offended and lost sight of the original argument, but it was quite interesting to see everyone's views. To anyone who participated in the debate, I want to say I did not mean to offend anyone, and thanks for such an interesting debate, even though I am completely sick of it right now! One thing I learned, I should not preface things with the phrase "no offense" because it seems to offend people more. People should not be ashamed of their beliefs, no matter what they are or what side they are on. They are their personal opinions and no one should have to apologize for them, so that is one thing that I learned from the debates and I appreciate that.



Week 14: Identity Crisis

Michelle, I like the point that you make about how everyone has a search to find themself. Language is a huge part of a cultural identity. I don't really believe English has the same effect because it's the universal language. However, for me, Spanish is something that I want to learn more because I want to get closer to my hispanic roots. I'm 1/4 Mexican, 1/4 Guatemalan, and 1/2 white (a bunch of European stuff I don't even know) but I look white. My father was in medical school when I was a child, so he was never home enough to teach me Spanish. In high school, I took four years of Spanish because I wanted to learn the language that my father never taught me. I wanted to actually feel like I was connected to hispanic culture because without my last name, no one would know I was half-hispanic. I still don't know nearly as much Spanish as I wish I did, I can get by, I understand more than I can speak. However, I believe that it has helped me to get in touch with my latina roots. I feel mostly white, but I also feel slightly more hispanic now. I understand why Anzaldua makes such a big deal about language, and the 7 types of languages that she knows, because it helps to shape her identity.



~Chantal

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Misty, the Tomboyish Mermaid

Chantal Castillo
Professor Wexler
English 436
22 April 2009

Misty, the Tomboyish Mermaid

Throughout the ages, women have had to conform to men’s expectations. In the anime Pok√©mon, one of the main characters is female. Her name is Misty, she is the youngest of four sisters and is sometimes referred to as “the runt” by them. Her three older sisters are the equivalent to beauty pageant queens. Knowing that she can never compete with her sisters, Misty goes into the opposite direction by turning into a tomboy. Misty travels with two other guys, Ash and Brock, and no girls. She fits in perfectly until instances occur when Misty turns to her girly side. No one thinks that Misty is pretty until she has to fill in for her sisters at a water show and she dresses as a beautiful mermaid and stuns the crowd with her beauty.

According to Judith Fetterly, “American literature is male” and therefore “the experience of being American is equated with the experience of being male” (Fetterly). This is problematic for women because they are then “excluded from a literature that claims to define one’s identity” and by thus being excluded they “experience a peculiar form of powerlessness” (Fetterly). Men wrote most of literature, so women have to read it from a male perspective. Misty is surrounded by males and has been rejected by her sisters, and has become a tomboy. Misty has fallen into this trap because she now lives in a man’s world. She cannot show any signs of femininity or she is excluded or looked down upon. She must become one of the guys in order to fit in. If she mentions anything about shopping or trying to look pretty, she is instantly made fun of because she does not fit into the men’s role for her. However, once she has the chance to become the beauty queen like her sisters, she goes from one of the guys to object of male attention. She is then appreciated for her beauty and not for anything that she was before. In a way, after the transformation, Misty goes on to become “a living memento of the otherness of the divine” (Gilbert and Gubar, 816). She become the “Victorian angel-woman” during the water show because of her grace and beauty, she becomes every man’s dream (Gilbert and Gubar, 816).

Misty may be a tomboy, but she has the potential to become a beauty queen like her sisters. While she is a tomboy, she represses her beauty by wearing boyish clothes and tying her hair back. When she is in her mermaid costume, she wears clothes that accentuate her figure and her hair is long and flows. Then men in her life have a perceived image of her and the two cannot mix, these two different forms must stay different. Misty is ruled by men and has to choose one or the other. She is a girl in a man’s world.



Works Cited

Fetterly, Judith. “On the Politics of Lierature.” Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Eds.
Rivkin & Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Gilbert, Sandra and Susan Gubar. “The Madwoman in the Attic.” Literary Theory: An
Anthology. 2nd ed. Eds. Rivkin & Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 812-
825.



Thursday, April 2, 2009

Harry Potter and the Knowledge that Changed Everything

Chantal Castillo
Professor Wexler
English 436
1 April 2009

Harry Potter and the Knowledge that Changed Everything

Knowledge is power. That saying can be heard on children’s television programs, which sends a message to the children that knowledge is not only important, but it can bring someone power if they posses it. Early on, children are taught the value of education. That is why college is so important, a bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma, it is not enough to just graduate high school, now someone must graduate college in order to make a decent amount of money. A master’s degree is a must for anyone who wants a chance at making large sums of money. The more knowledge someone has, the more power they have. In this world, money equals power. There are other forms of power as well that knowledge can bring.

In the book Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling, the main character, Harry Potter gains the knowledge that he needs in order to defeat his arch nemesis, Lord Voldemort. Throughout the whole book, Harry’s mentor, Albus Dumbledore shows Harry memories that Dumbledore has collected throughout the years. These memories help Harry to understand who Lord Voldemort was, how he became so evil, what he wanted, and what his weaknesses were. The most important thing that Harry learned was that Voldemort made Horcruxes, objects that contained parts of his soul, and Harry learned that he had to destroy all of them in order to defeat him and make the wizarding world a better place. After learning this knowledge, Harry had the power that he needed in order to destroy the darkest wizard of all time and fulfill the prophecy made about him.

Lyotard talks about knowledge in his work “The Postmodern Condition” and states that there is a “critical function of knowledge” (358). This critical function proves itself in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Harry has to retrieve one of the most critical memories from Professor Slughorn. After getting the real memory from Professor Slughorn, Harry can finally put all the pieces together with Dumbledore and figure out the critical information Harry needs to know in order to destroy the Horcruxes, which will help to destroy Voldemort and give Harry power. Foucault also talks about knowledge and power in his work “Discipline and Punish” where he says, “power and knowledge directly imply one another” (550). The knowledge that Harry gains gives him power to defeat someone who is purely evil and thus, once again, good triumphs over evil. Good is always more powerful than evil. Knowledge is power in the Harry Potter series, not only in Harry’s life, but by also helping to encourage children to read, which helps bring knowledge to them as well.



Works Cited

Foucault, Michel. “Discipline and Punish.” Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Eds. Rivkin
& Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 549-566.

Lyotard, Jean-Francois. “The Postmodern Condition.” Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed.
Eds. Rivkin & Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 355-364.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Marxism and Coca Cola

Chantal Castillo
Professor Wexler
English 436
16 March 2009

Marxism and Coca Cola

Karl Marx believed that in order to full understand a piece of literature, one must know what happened during the historical time period in which it was written in. The same applies to other forms of entertainment and recreation. Commercials, for example, play on an understanding of pop culture sometimes. This is true in the case of an ad for Super Bowl LXIII. There was an ad for Coca Cola that starred a young man in his early twenties. He is an average, but good looking young man who is in a world full of other people, but seems to be alone. The people around him are taking form in avatars. In order for someone to understand this ad, one must understand what avatars are. Avatars are the online representations of someone that people create.

In “Marxism and the Philosophy of Language,” V. N. Volosinov talks about signs. In order for someone to understand signs, they must be “socially meaningful” (Volosinov). The signs will “shape the forms of semiotic expression” (Volosinov). This means that signs are only meaningful if someone understands them. Once someone understands them, they will be able to make a semiotic interpretation of them. So, in order for one to full appreciate and understand the Coca Cola ad, one must full understand the context of the commercial. Someone would have to understand the concept of an avatar, and then the rest of the commercial would make sense. If someone did not understand what an avatar was, they might be confused, or think that people just randomly turned into little computer generated looking creatures. According to Marx, they might find the commercial entertaining, but they would not fully understand it. In order for one to fully understand the commercial, they would have to understand the time period that the commercial took place in. Someone of the younger more computer savvy generation would be able to understand and appreciate this ad. However, someone from an older generation would not be able to fully comprehend the ad. That is why Marx believed that understanding the historical period is so important.



Work Cited

Volosinov, V.N. “Marxism and the Philosophy of Language.” Literary Theory: An Anthology.
2nd ed. Eds. Rivkin & Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.



Monday, March 2, 2009

Contributions to Psychoanalysis Group

Chantal Castillo
Professor Wexler
English 436
2 March 2009

Contributions to Psychoanalysis Group

For my group project, I was in the psychoanalysis group. The members in my group were Marina, Anoush, Eric, Alina, Kira, and Maria. I made several contributions to my group. Most of the members met together at the Freudian Sip in the Sierra Center twice. I attended both times. I was the member that started the file for the members’ contact information on WebCT. I started the emails going so we could all communicate. Whenever members sent emails, I responded as quickly as I could and tried to help out as much as I could. Whenever members needed ideas, I tried to come up with as many as I could. Since we had seven group members, we split the group into two main parts. Alina, Kira, and Maria all did their part with the dating game. Marina, Anoush, Eric, and I all worked on a sort of Dr. Phil like presentation where we have three girls each representing the superego, ego, and id. Then we have a host, Dr. Eric in our case, and we tried to talk about questions and how they related to what we were. I was the superego and tried to come up with how the superego would respond based on the questions. I also brought my laptop and a DVD for our group to show a clip of how the superego and the id battle with each other from The Emperor’s New Groove. I feel that I contributed a good amount to my group and was an active and helpful member of my group.

Stacy’s Mom and the Oedipus Complex

Chantal Castillo
Professor Wexler
English 436
2 March 2009

Stacy’s Mom and the Oedipus Complex

The song that I chose for this assignment is “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne. This song does not exactly follow the Oedipus complex, but it follows the main idea of it. There is a young adolescent boy who has a friend named Stacy. She is very pretty and would be desirable to any young boy. However, the boy does not have an interest in Stacy; he has an interest in Stacy’s mom. Even in the song, he says, “but since your dad walked out, your mom could use a guy like me.” This implies that the boy does wants to fill the spot of the empty father figure in the “daddy-mommy-me triangle” (Deleuze and Guattari). Even though the boy is not the woman’s child, he is still a child and is the same age as his friend Stacy, whose mom is the object of the song.

Freud talks about how once he observed a boy who liked to make things disappear and make them reappear. When his father went off to war, he would play with toys and say, “Go to the front!” (Freud 432). Freud went on to say that the boy “was far from regretting [his father’s] absence; on the contrary he made it quite clear that he had no desire to be disturbed in his sole possession of his mother (Freud 432). This situation is similar to that of the boy from the song, the father left his wife and his daughter, Stacy, so now the boy has an opportunity to fill that void the father left behind. The boy admits, “I know it might be wrong, but I'm in love with Stacy's mom.” This states that he knows it is wrong to get with the mother-like figure, but he knows that deep down, he still wants to be with her. The mother is basically a stripper, so she is a sex symbol for the young boys who are Stacy’s friends. Nothing is known about the boy’s home situation with his mother and father, but perhaps maybe he has issues with his own mother and is going to Stacy’s mom and trying to get her attention. The boy is not a perfect example, but he falls into the Oedipus complex.



Work Cited

Deleuze and Guattari. “The Anti-Oedipus.” Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed.
Eds. Rivkin & Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
Freud, Sigmund. “Beyond the Pleasure Principle.” Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed.
Eds. Rivkin & Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. 431-437.


Fountains of Wayne - "Stacy's Mom"

Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
Stacy's mom has got it goin' on

Stacy, can I come over after school? (after school)
We can hang around by the pool (hang by the pool)
Did your mom get back from her business trip? (business trip)
Is she there, or is she trying to give me the slip? (give me the slip)

You know, I'm not the little boy that I used to be
I'm all grown up now, baby can't you see

Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
She's all I want and I've waited for so long
Stacy, can't you see you're just not the girl for me
I know it might be wrong but I'm in love with Stacy's mom

Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
Stacy's mom has got it goin' on

Stacy, do you remember when I mowed your lawn? (mowed your lawn)
Your mom came out with just a towel on (towel on)
I could tell she liked me from the way she stared (the way she stared)
And the way she said, "You missed a spot over there" (a spot over there)

And I know that you think it's just a fantasy
But since your dad walked out, your mom could use a guy like me

Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
She's all I want, and I've waited so long
Stacy, can't you see you're just not the girl for me
I know it might be wrong,
but I'm in love with Stacy's mom

Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
She's all I want and I've waited for so long,
Stacy can't you see your just not the girl for me,
I know it might be wrong but oh oh
(I know it might be wrong)
I'm in love with (Stacy's mom oh oh)
(Stacys mom oh oh)
I'm in love with Stacy's mom