The Help - American Drama Film by Tate Taylor

Published: 2021-06-29 07:02:13
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Category: English

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Zedekiah DiazDr. Vanessa CorrederaEnglish Composition IIRace and Stereotypes The HelpThe Help is an American drama film directed and written by Tate Taylor. The film is telling a story of a young white woman, Skeeter Phelan, and her interesting relationship with two black maids, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson, during the Civil Rights era in 1963. Skeeter is expected by her mother to have kids and start a family, but her dreams has always been to be a journalist, and later on she decides to write a book from the point of view of the black maids, exposing the racism they are faced with daily basis while they are working for white families. This movie is popular to many viewers, not just because the acting talents performed, but the message this film brings about race and stereotypes. There are many films out there that have the potential to divide audiences and one of them is The Help. Some viewers like it, and some would hate it. The people who respond to the movie are likely to feel challenged or emotionally activated, like myself. Many viewers were challenged emotionally by this film, because some say this film portrayed the stereotypes of black women, but my thoughts are not exactly the same, I’m sure there are complexity that are waiting to be opened from each characters, that will help us to understand that this movie does not focus on portraying the stereotypes of black women. When in fact, this film shows what women have to go through in the 70s.In The Power of Black Magic by Cerise L. Glenn & Landra J. Cunningham, they said that “Although audience members watch movies for entertainment, the images and relationships between characters impact the manner in which they perceive themselves and others.” (Cunningham 136) In other words, the way we see this film can affect our judgement towards other people in our life. Which being said, it is important to us to open our mind and be more complex in reviewing this film. Let us not too quick to say that all black women characters in The Help portray black women stereotypes. Because Media images can shape our view of the world and our deepest values what we consider good or bad.For instance, Critics reviewed Aibileen Clark as the Mammy, because she fits into the requirement as the mammy stereotype. Melissa Harris-Perry defines the mammy stereotype as “…docile and maternal…big, fat, soft, dark-skinned and unfeminine. Her love, doting advice, correction and supervision were reserved exclusively for white women and children.” (Perry) The Mammy role was domestic service, characterized by long hours of work with little or no compensation. Subordination, nurturance, and constant self-sacrifice were expected from them. But in the film, Tate Taylor the director of this film, portrayed Aibileen not entirely fit to the qualification of the mammy. The book she writes with Skeeter and the other maids is an example that she is not truly a mammy. A mammy is someone who give constant self-sacrifice, but in the film, the book she made with Skeeter is evidence that she stand up for injustices, she stand up for herself. She teaches the children she raises that the color of skin does not matter but love and kindness do. Even when she often feels that the message is countered by the racism in the area. Aibileen realizes she has more to offer in life than being a maid and finds the courage to be something else than just a maid. If the mammy is someone who devoted to their employers why Aibileen would denounces Hilly as a godless, vindictive woman? In the last part of the film we can see Hilly breaks down in tears, defeated and humiliated after what Aibileen said. With this case I believe Aibileen character does not fit the Mammy character.

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