English Sexism and Misogyny Term Paper

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¶ … Love Got to Do With it?

I'd like to start this essay out by saying that I agree with Bell Hook's critical examination of the Piano. I agree that misogyny and sexism are the central themes in the movie, although I have to say that the movie relies on these ideas to keep it alive and of interest to women because it's the very most thing they are familiar with. The movie has received rave reviews because of its sexuality and expression, although I do not think the average person sees the misogyny present. I believe this is because it has become so mainstream and accepted that it's hardly recognizable anymore. The following paragraphs will detail the film's themes and the advantages and disadvantages it portrays for women.

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Without a doubt, the Piano has some very powerful emotional themes to it. While I'm writing to agree or disagree with the thoughts of Bell Hook's, I cannot help but be compelled to mention the films most poignant theme -- passion. I say this because the passion the film depicts isn't illustrated just in Ada but instead it appears in all of the film's characters. Although it's obviously most apparent in Ada, who through her role expresses many other themes as well. Instances of passion include, Baines, who no longer abides by the values of British society and who has became embraced by the Maori methods of living. Although, the Stewart clings to the only English ways he knows, he is still very passionate about them. He refuses to allow himself to feel until one violent when he becomes completely out of control. Ada, hampered as much by her lack of voice as by social pressures, is yearning to break free, and only through Baines does she find the courage to do so.

Term Paper on English Sexism and Misogyny Assignment

The story of the piano is gut-wrenching throughout the whole thing. There is symbolism everywhere; a point not lost on Bell Hook, but a point I'm sure is missed by the average movie goer because the symbolism extends further than the lands of New Zealand portrayed in the film. I see the symbolism in these men, in their domination, but mostly in Ada and her means of expressing herself. The Maori society that she lives in also represents the release of inhibitions.

It turns out, Ada doesn't love the men nearly as much as she loves her piano. While she cannot talk, she is able to communicate with music which makes her seem like a vulnerable character. Her great love for her piano is shown when her new husband won't arrange for safe passage for the piano to her home, and Ada becomes furious with him, but finds another way to make it work. Ultimately, Baines ends up with the piano, while ultimately keeping the affections of Ada in the same way. He also arranges for Ada to give him lessons. It all seems so easy and innocent -- he does her a favor, she should do him one in return. But this is where Bell Hook's point because painstakingly clear.

In this example, I see that Ada is being manipulated in a way that she ultimately ends up being at Baines arm, needing him for reasons that he is most certainly aware of. He seduces Ada and they participate in passionate sex, which clearly demonstrates the exchange, the passion. He has something she wants, he wants her, she become supplicating, albeit out of choice. The idea is that Ada loves and wants the piano so much that she is willing to sell herself to Baines for payment of one day at a time. She loves the piano, not Baines. So, it also appears that she is being quite manipulative herself.

But love is mysterious in these ways, always. Love is often an exchange of things. An exchange of power, a woman giving a man herself because he has something she wants. It happens even in our culture today. I believe this is Ms. Hook's contention with her essay. She is saying that women are used in exchanges, as in the rap videos; they are being used to make men look bigger, stronger, and more powerful. Although there is always a choice. Ada is willing to throw away her marriage to a man she doesn't love to be with one she does, but she has her reasons beyond those… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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