So this weekend, I curled up in my bed with the remote and took in some quality television. Purple Rain, of all movies, came on while I luxuriated in the house.
Purple Rain is one of "those" collection movies! 1. the soundtrack is one of the best EVER, 2. you gotta love Prince, and 3. how could you forget such classic phrases like "I want to be a modernaire....modernaire, modernaire..." (I'm just going to assume that all of my readers have seen it. If not, put it on your Netflix!)
Anyhoo, in the midst of watching this movie, it got me to really think about what I was actually watching. This movie is unbelievably sexist and misogynistic. (I'll wait for some of you all to hit up dictionary.com, I know I broke out the $10 vocab words here....)
There are so many things inherently wrong with this movie that I never paid attention to before. Especially when it came to the women in this movie. All of them were subjected to powerlessness and victimization THROUGHOUT the entire movie. Where to be begin?
From the woman who gets suplexed into the trash dumpster by Jerome, on Morris Day's command, to Prince/"The Kid's" mother getting her ass whupped at the hands of Francis L all because she wanted to go out sometimes. Its gender violence....plain and simple.
The most evident abuse was shown with Appollonia's character. She wanted to sing and make a name for herself. She felt inspired by The Kid and bought into his dream while holding onto her own. Even giving up her chain to buy him the guitar that he salivated over in the store. She asked him to help her out, but he was too caught up with his own issues to help. So she went to Morris, rather she got caught up in his pimp game and decided Morris would help her. Well, the smack to the floor showed how much The Kid was feeling that decision.
The most egregious thing Appollonia is subjected to is jumping into the "purifying waters of Lake Minnetonka" on the belief that making this leap of faith would prove her worthiness and convince him to help her. Don't sleep y'all, there was a symbolic meaning behind her taking her clothes off and jumping into that dirty ass water. She had no other reason to believe him other than having faith he would do right by her. She got punk'd, seriously....can you imagine your wet body trapped in tight leather?
(T-gyrl, make your point.....you're losing them fast!!)
I was laying there thinking that these things are STILL happening to women today. How many of us have made the leap into the water only to be made fun of or embarrassed? Thrown in the dumpster because you were holding, what you believed to be your man, accountable for his actions?
This movie came out 26 years ago....26 years!! Yet, how many women are victims of domestic violence just because they want their men to show them more love or are punished because of unfulfilled dreams that their lover transfers onto them.
Recently, I had my 100th conversation with a female student of mine, trying to convince her that paying for her pregnancy termination is NO reason to remain in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship with her boyfriend. I try not to be judgmental of her during this time in her life, but I wonder how many friends and other media images she sees that convince her to stay.
I spent another afternoon talking to another female student about not getting caught up in the hype with a guy she's dating and protecting herself in all sexual encounters him. She told me that he never asked if she were using birth control nor did he make a big deal about using condoms. Now we can argue about the interpretation of violence here, but the sloppy behavior gets a vote from me on carelessness and flat out abuse.
(Okay, so how does Purple Rain fit in here?)
Now, I'm not going to start boycotting Prince over the movie or say that he is the cause of women being victimized. Nevertheless, what I am going to do is think about the messages that I take in everyday and work on making sure that I am not perpetuating stereotypes that could play out against myself and other women in another 26 years from now. Cuz it may be too late then....
'Til Next Time,