Thelma and Louise is a 1990’s film which has many themes and messages which still apply to women and men today. The first relevant issue that this movie addresses is obviously, how men rape women, yet the woman still gets blamed. In the movie, Thelma had no choice but to hide the murder, because she knew no one would believe that he actually forced himself on her. This still holds true today. Girls who get raped while they are drunk at parties are scolded for being a “floozy”. It is a horrible stereotype that girls (self-aware or not) who flirt with guys are asking for sex. In Thelma’s case, and many cases with drunk women, no actually means no, but the guy doesn’t want to hear it.
The second major issue that this movie addresses is the lack of women exploring their own sexuality. After Thelma has sex with JD, she comes to breakfast with a big grin, and acts like Louise has never seen. Louise jokes and says Thelma’s finally been “properly laid”; but in reality it’s the truth. Many women then, and now, never truly have a full sexual experience. Men have men things to accommodate their shortcomings (Viagra, ribbed condoms, porn), yet girls don’t really have any “socially acceptable” ways of pleasing theirselves. I believe this film is very relevant to us today because the women’s issues which it addresses still are an issue in today’s society.
Thelma and Louise were both oppressed in the movie. Personally, Thelma did not have the freedom to do what she wanted, because she had “settled” for a marriage with a man she didn’t have passionate feelings for. Her husband would not let her do anything outside of expected women’s roles, and the only way for her to be free of that was to completely go behind his back.
Institutionally, there was oppression on the entire gender of women. Thelma was legitimately raped, but she could not tell anyone because no one would believe her. This is a problem in society that oppresses all women. Women cannot confess to being raped, because they will just be blamed for being a slut.
Most of the male characters in the film were not admirable. As for Harlan, he was a player. He acted cool around a crowd of people, however in private all he wanted was sex. Similarly, JD and Thelma’s husband both used her for sex. They appealed to her emotions, but ended up taking advantage of her. The only male with good intentions was a police officer, who seemed to know about Louise’s past, and tried his best to help the girls. However, when push came to shove, the girls had had such bad experiences with men, that they couldn’t let themselves put their trust in them and ended up killing themselves instead of relying on a man.
In my opinion, the portrayal of men is somewhat dramatized. I do believe, however, that many men have negative motives in the way that they use women for sex. But there is a rare breed of men who truly root for women, and want the best for them. For the messages that movie aimed to illustrate, I believe that the male characters acted reasonably. However, in a real life situation, the men should have been more considerate towards the women’s wishes. In this article, men are quoted saying that “a woman should be beautiful, and a man should be rich”. I believe this is unfair to both parties. While many women would probably argue that women are the most suppressed by men’s issues, men could also argue the unfair standards that women project onto them. While Thelma did have a passionless marriage, there is part of the issue that is her fault for giving up on it. In order to change the behavior of one gender or sex, you must change it in both genders. A men’s behavior depends on the women’s, and the women’s depends on the men. In the movie, the men reacted negatively to the women, in response to their killing a man, and committing various other crimes. However, the only reason the women committed this crime was in response to a man raping Thelma.
I enjoyed this film a lot. This film was very empowering for me as a woman, because it showed the development of two women from oppressed to free. The most moving transformation for me, was Thelma’s. It was so inspiring to see a woman bound by a domestic lifestyle break free from that bondage and pursue all of her fantasies. The ending was particularly interesting because it showed that the women were so liberated after upstaging the men,that they could never go back to oppression. In short, the message of the movie was very moving, and each detail of the movie was perfectly placed.