Thelma & Louise Girls and Term Paper

Total Length: 1977 words ( 7 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 6

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And as with male road pictures, it is sex that threatens to divide the two women. Not when they unite to blow up the truck of a leering, misogynistic truck driver, but when the drifter they pick up tires to exploit them and Thelma's attraction towards him. Thelma is more flighty and sexual, and her youthful, sexual drive, unfulfilled in her relationship with her husband, causes the events that propel the narrative of the road picture, and perpetually frustrates Louise. The film does seem to imply that women cannot have sex, love, freedom, and power but then again most road pictures suggest that men cannot settle down into marriage with women and still glory in the freedom of the road. Like the women's relationships, the male relationships of road pictures often seem homoerotic in their intensity and disdain of the opposite gender's compassion. However, when transposed onto a feminine narrative, the scenes between the woman and J.D. could be 'read' as suggesting that female autonomy and going from partner to partner, is dangerous to female friendship as well as individual female freedom and escape. After all, Louise's lover does not want to settle down, and is not punished for his freedom in the film.

The end of the picture depicts the two women going down in a blaze of glory, sacrificing themselves together, rather than fall into the hands of men once again.
The law finds them by exploiting Louise's vulnerability, as the cop in search of the two women makes a careful, tactical reference to Louise's rape, to lure her to stay on the phone line just a little bit longer than she should, enabling him to tap their conversation. It is the law that uses words skillfully in a feminine trap of verbal seduction, rather than the women.

The ending 'feels' triumphant, like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" going out in a blaze of glory, rather than being confined and apprehended by the law. Women, who often are used to represent home and a life-giving force, are celebrated for their careening drive to death in "Thelma and Louise." But the question remains if this is in fact a feminist film -- is merely assuming the role of men in a traditional, patriarchal American 'road picture' an act of liberation? Is taking on the language, posture, and violent implements of males, and merely inverting male/female binaries a unique reading and reconfiguration of gender roles? Although the atmosphere and emotional tone of the film is feminist, the structure of the film is really more of a recapitulation, a pastiche, and homage to earlier films than a truly innovative statement about violence and gender relations.

Works Cited

Thelma and Louise." Directed by Ridley Scott. 1991......

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