Saturday, May 26, 2007
Have you watched the movie entitled “The Hours”? It was starred by three actresses: Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep. Each of them represented a character from three different eras. Nicole Kidman starred as Virginia Woolf, a feminist writer from England who lived from 1882 until 1941. The scene illustrated here was 1921 Richmond, England. Julianne Moore starred as Laura Brown, an ordinary housewife living in Los Angeles around 1950s. Meryl Streep starred as Clarissa Vaughn who lived in New York City around 2000s.
I want to talk about Laura Brown, the ordinary housewife who lived around 1950s America. Around that time, many American women thought that they were the happiest women in the world. The most coveted and adorable “profession” for women at that time was to be a housewife. A married woman, with good-looking, understanding, loving and rich husband, a luxurious house and car, modern household equipment, and happy and good children è those were the reasons why “housewife” became the most respectable “profession” for women in 1950s America. Many women from other countries didn’t have what American married women had, not many women had modern household equipment, a luxurious house and car because other countries were not as rich as America at that time.
Laura had those “things”, a husband, house, car, modern household equipment, a kid, and she was expecting her second baby. People must think that she was happy. However, who can guarantee of someone’s happiness (readàa woman) only coz of those “things”? Was it as simple as that?
Friends, if you watch that movie, you can conclude that Laura was not happy with what she had. In one scene, her husband said, “Life is in a marriage. To be happy is to be in a marriage too.” Laura—who was in the restroom—was crying when she heard her husband say so, but she didn’t say a word. Why? It was because she was not happy in the marriage. She didn’t feel alive in her marriage. She felt dying instead. “There was a time when you don’t belong, and you wanna kill yourself,” that’s what she said to Clarissa at the end of the movie. She felt that she didn’t belong to the community where the people thought that the ultimate goal in this life was being married. That’s why in one scene in the movie, we can see Laura who was about to commit suicide. Laura felt that she didn’t belong to the community of America at that time coz other women thought that “American women were the happiest women in the world, with a husband, luxurious car and house, modern household equipment and happy children.”
Laura didn’t commit suicide, she left her children and husband instead. She moved to Canada, got a profession as a librarian and survived alone. Why did she do that? She felt more alive when she lived alone, not committed in a marriage. By the end of the movie, we can see she survived while the other members of the family had died. She chose life, that’s why she abandoned the family. If she chose death, she would go on living with the family, and died little by little.
Friends, why do you think I talk about all this? I just wanna show you that in this patriarchal society, women also have their own way of thinking—not to get married, for example. Getting married or not is only a matter of making a choice. Get married if you are sure that it will give you happiness. Don’t get married if it is only to conform with the society while you are not sure with that. Be confident with your choice.
Not all women are happy to live in a marriage. Appreciate them who think that way. Respect their choice.