Onscreen, Women Are Giving Patriarchy the Pink Slip 女權對抗父權 正在「上演」
When the #MeToo movement catapulted into the mainstream more than a year ago, survivors around the globe felt more emboldened than ever before to break their silence about sexual abuse at the hands of men. Their stories not only censured the much-deserving perpetrators, but led to a reckoning about gender inequality and misogyny that continues to galvanize society.
So much so that we have embraced a new phase of the movement that is redirecting the focus to the women — like Mira Sorvino, Gabrielle Union and Padma Lakshmi — who have stepped out of the shadows of problematic men and reclaimed control of their narratives in fascinating new ways. And now, film and TV have begun to reflect that same shift toward radical female entitlement.
Take "House of Cards." You may recall that the Netflix series' sixth and final season, now streaming, was at first thrown into turmoil after its male lead, Kevin Spacey, was accused of making an unwanted sexual advance in 1986 toward actor Anthony Rapp, who was only 14 at the time. As a result, Spacey was fired from the show and his character, the ruthless President Frank Underwood, was killed off. These events took place after Season 5, when Underwood had resigned to take a more behind-the-scenes role.
His wife, Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), cunning and manipulative in her own right yet long suffering under her husband's oppressive ego, found herself in position to seize the presidency. Even though Claire's master plan had always been to become president, the fact that she continues on this path in Season 6 — without a man trying to pull the strings — is considered an intolerable act of defiance to Frank's staff, which remains in place even though Claire is in charge. And like life imitating art, "House of Cards" fans and critics alike voiced concerns about how the show would go on without Spacey — and whether it should. The series' bold final season has obliterated all those doubts.
How women's competence has been categorically underestimated and undermined by toxic men, including their own spouses, is also a major impetus for the action in "Widows." The Steve McQueen-directed crime drama follows three women — Veronica, Linda and Alice — whose lives are upended after their husbands die robbing the nefarious Manning brothers . The Mannings want their money back and, armed with the knowledge that these widows had nothing to do with their husbands' blood business, come barreling into their lives, confident that they can threaten them into accommodating their demands.
For generations, taverns and saloons were largely places for men to gather, drink, gamble and chew tobacco. Those places could be discerning, as with Fraunces Tavern, a still-existent bar patronized in the 18th century by the likes of George Washington and his soldiers, or more suited to the average Joe, like McSorley's Old Ale House, which opened in the mid-19th century and, until 1970, admitted only men.
With the advent of speak-easies, owners and bartenders suddenly had a new clientele: women. The social appeal of speak-easies pulled them into new and vibrant communal spaces. Alongside the new customers came bar stools, live jazz and a new breed of cocktails.
Despite the end of Prohibition in 1933, these changes to New York's drinking culture endured, opening up the cocktail scene to a broader audience.
By the 1960s and into the '80s and '90s, bar culture in New York had become as varied and textured as the city itself. Cocktail bars got yet another revival at the Rainbow Room, where Dale DeGroff took over the drinks program. In the Village, the Stonewall Inn and others became centers for gay culture, while uptown venues like the Shark Bar attracted a mostly African-American clientele.
Today, despite an unfortunate turnover rate, modern New York cocktail bars are doing their best to foster a sense of community and hospitality.
It's this spirit that an editorial writer for The Brooklyn Eagle captured in an 1885 column (quoted by David Wondrich in his book "Imbibe"). "The modern American," the paper observed, "looks for civility and he declines to go where rowdy instincts are rampant."