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Film

Hidden Figures, Hidden Stories

There is a repeated scene throughout Hidden Figures in which Katherine Goble Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) types her name into the bylines of her reports only to be told that “computers” (most of whom are women) don’t author papers; she must erase her identity from her work. This scene helps explain why the contributions of Johnson and other women were forgotten for so long, but it also says something important about which stories, and whose contributions, we validate as part of our culture.

Jewish Intergalatic Princess

I was five when I saw Star Wars for the first time at my friend Danny’s house. We loved it so much that we spent the next two years playing games where we clambered up on rocks and swung down on tree branches like we were maneuvering through the Death Star together.

India’s Jewish Silent Film Stars and the Power of the Outsider

When one exists in opposition to the status quo because of her ethnicity, it feels more natural to also begin to question the significance of gender and other means of social stratification. I am not an average Jew or an average Indian. Why would I try to be an “average” woman, to conform to archaic rules and norms that have nothing to do with me?

Who Ya Gonna Call? Feminism and Race in This Summer's Ghostbusters Reboot

This summer, paranormal activity gets a new set of adversaries as four awkward and highly intelligent women come together to prove not only that ghosts are real, but that women are capable of rebooting a previously all-male franchise.

Is Grease Sexist?

I once told a friend of mine that I think Grease is horribly sexist because the plot is basically: girl changes herself to get the guy. He responded, “I always thought it was her throwing off negative social norms. It’s not like the whole goody two shoes thing was good.” His sentiments versus my own are the crux of the argument about whether Grease is a sexist movie, or one that supports feminist ideals. 

The Princess Tried

My favorite movie [The Princess Bride], though strikingly Jewish, is not particularly feminist. It’s not just that it doesn’t pass the Bechdel test (because let’s be real how many movies do?), it’s because the female protagonist, Buttercup, is seemingly incapable of doing anything on her own. 

Letting go of Woody Allen with the help of Claudia Weill

Woody Allen’s name is synonymous with New York City Jewry and avant-garde art; he is the poster boy for the guilt ridden, philosophically burdened, emotionally stunted kvetcher that we are all familiar with. Allen’s characters are recognizable—carrying pieces of our relatives, our community members, and ourselves. Annie Hall, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Manhattan, and Fading Gigolo, to name a few, place a strong emphasis on Jewish culture and idiosyncrasies, connecting to both a broad, general audience, that responds to the novelty, and to the specific tastes of Jews.

Elizabeth Bennet, Feminist Killjoy

I became a full-blooded Janeite when I read Emma as a twelve year old, shortly followed by Austen’s classic, Pride and Prejudice, a few months later. I was captivated by a world of lavish parties, grand estates, and husband-material men who make five thousand a year

The ‘Miracle Mop’ Can’t Wring Out Dated Stereotypes

Joy is a cute movie, to say the most. Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Joy Mangano, is a housewife who strives to become a businesswoman despite the men in her life advising her against it. On the surface, this is a powerful story about  a woman coming into her own; a working class woman in the late 80s who moves beyond her meager station in life to make a name for herself. 

Hail Caesar! - A Movie (Obviously) by White Men

I wrote my most important college admissions essay about The Big Lebowski. This is probably less indicative of my commitment to higher education, and more indicative of my unabashed love of the unstoppable film duo that is The Coen Brothers. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Film." (Viewed on January 19, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/film>.

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