An Analysis of Feminism in Mona Lisa Smile Movie Script

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A. Background of the Study

    Feminism is the belief in the right of women to have political, social and economic equality with men based on (Jane Pilcher and Imelda Imelda 2004). The word feminism originated from the French word feminism in the nineteenth century, either as a medical term to describe the feminization of male body, or to describe women with masculine traits. It is a discourse that involves various movements, theories and philosophies which are concerned with the issue of gender difference, advocate equality for women and campaign for woman’s right and interests.

    Women have been uniquely viewed as a creative source of human life in the early times. Historically, however they have been considered not only intellectually inferior to men but also a major source of temptation and evil. The resulting stereotype that “a woman’s place is in the home” has largely determined the ways in which women have expressed themselves. Although some developments have freed women for roles other than motherhood, the cultural pressure for women to become wives and mothers still prevents many talented woman from finishing college or pursuing careers.

    Traditionally a middle class girl in West culture tended to learn from her mother’s example such as cooking, cleaning and caring for children, were the behavior expected from her when she grew up. Based on Betty Friedan (2003:893) who explore the idea of women finding fulfillment beyond traditional roles. Tests made in the 1960s showed that the scholastic achievement of girls was higher in the early grades than in high school. The major reason given was that girls own expectations declined because neither their families nor their teachers expected them to prepare for a future rather than that of marriage and mother.

    This condition often inspires the film industry to produce film which is related to women culture especially in 1950s. That is what Mike Newell wants to describe throughout the film of Mona Lisa Smile. It is a film about women’s awareness of education. It is a 2003 American film that was produced by Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures, directed by Mike Newell, and starring Julia Roberts, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kirsten Dunst and Julia Stiles. Mona Lisa Smile is a story of a woman, who happened to be living in the early 1950s. Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts) is a Berkeley graduate who arrives at Wellesley College, a conservative women’s private liberal arts college in Massachusetts, United States, to teach Art History . Initially her students try outsmart their teacher, which is a little surprising for her, however she does not let them know about it. But she is very surprised when she knows the knowledge that most of her students get at Wellesley and they aspire for is a wonderful husband and they do not care of pursuing any kind of professions. She wants to make difference to women at Wellesley College.

   Katherine Watson is the main character in Mona Lisa Smile. Katherine Watson also in her character shows feminism in herself in Mona lisa Smile movie script. Katherine as a teacher and a woman , she tries to open her students’ minds through her teaching as a teacher and a woman. She always makes a difference and gives something new in her syllabus. She uses her art teachings to tell her opinion to her students at Wellesley College that they needs, not to conform to stereotypes of women become housewives and mothers. She gives suggest to her students that they can do two things at the same time, like having higher education and a family. She feels that young women at Wellesley College have the right to pursue higher education and career. She believes that women need to be changed if they want to achieve better future.

 The movie shows Katherine’s persistence and fighting in making changes at Wellesley, although she has to face many intimidations that come from people around her there who dislike what she does. Katherine’s ideas of feminism interests the researcher to analyze them and this is also the reason to do the research with the title An Analysis of Feminism in Mona Lisa Smile movie script.

B. The identification of the Problems

The problem of this research identified as follow :

1. The use of feminism(feminist ideas) in the movie script Mona Lisa Smile

2. The main character, Katherine Watson shows feminism in the movie script Mona Lisa Smile in the era of 1950’s.

3. The woman at that time did not care of persuing any kind of professions.

4. Katherine tries to open her stedents’ mind through her teaching as a teacher and a woman.

5. Katherine believes that women used to be changed if they want to achieve better future.  Klik to Download



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