WesAnderson`s movie world and influence in the modern film
Literary works have always played a crucial role in the growth anddevelopment of societies across varied spheres. Indeed, it is wellacknowledged that a large proportion of social changes that societieshave, since time immemorial, underwent have been primarily influencedby the ideas obtained from varied literary works. This should not besurprising given that literary works are usually based on or informedby ideas obtained from the day to day life of the societies withinwhich they live. Scholars have acknowledged that most of these worksare aimed at highlighting varied issues that hold back the progressof the society and, essentially, influence a paradigm shift from thecommon way of doing things (Artz and Murphy 97). This means thatthere are certain themes that are common across literary works andcould include the gender dynamics, romance, greed, corruption,jealousy among others. However, perhaps the most common theme acrossmost literary works is gender dynamics and particularly the positionand role of males and females in the society. It should be noted,that in most societies, there has been the tendency to have womentaking the second position in comparison to their male counterparts.Indeed, it was often the case that women’s roles andresponsibilities were restricted to the kitchen and child-bearing andrearing. However, recent times have seen a considerable modificationof the situation with a large number of cultural tendencies beingeliminated. This is particularly the case for male domination andpatriarchy, with the American society seeing a change in the role ofmen as protectors and providers for their families. Needless to say,these modifications have been predicated and even captured inliterary works as is the case for “Royal Tennenbaums” whichdemonstrates the impact that industrialization had on families andgender roles in the societies within which the creators lived. Thispaper explores the reduced conventional element of patriarchy andmasculinity, as well as the actions of modern males in their effortto enhance their power and identity in the modern times. Whilethere may be varying opinions, it is evident from the movie that themodern society has seen a significant modification in the genderroles, with patriarchal power and masculinity undergoing considerablemodification while some elements are still remaining the same.
First, it should be noted that the capacity of a man to keep hisfamily together is primarily determined by his capacity to providefor them. Indeed, scholars have acknowledged that it is no longerenough for an individual to simply be seen as the man of the houserather, his authority and work would only be respected in instanceswhere he provides for them (Xiaonquan and Gantz 353). This comes tothe fore in the case of Royal, the financially bankrupt individualwho is incapable of taking care of his family and particularlyprovide for his wife. Eventually, the estranged wife is won over byHenry Sherman, an element which is seen as a threat to hismasculinity since it is a depiction of his incapacity to protect hishome and provide for his family. Of course, it should be evident thatas much as the society has undergone fundamental changes, there stillremains some expectations pertaining to the roles that particulargenders should fulfill, which is why Royal seems to be having asuccessful and happy family when he flashes back to the times when hewas financially stable, but easily loses his wife and fails to keephis family together when he becomes financially challenged (Benynon47).
On the same note, the episode and the conflict between the two menshould highlight the position of women in the society. The modernsociety has ushered in an era in which women are deemed to have moreor less the same intellectual capabilities as their malecounterparts, in which case they would not be expected to seek anyperson’s approval with regard to the decisions that they make inlife (Batchelor 67). Of course, this is bound to eliminate theobjectification of women and raise them up to the level of humanbeings rather than items that are created for the sole aggrandizementof their male counterparts (Xiaonquan and Gantz 353). As much as thisseems to be the overall picture that is created by the movie, it isalso evident that the Royal’s wife Etheline is commoditized anddepicted as a trophy or item that goes to the highest bidder. This isexactly why the two men are engaged in brows as they deem themselvesand their masculinity as the sole determinants of the destiny of thelady. On the other hand, the lady is not deemed as having theintellectual aptitude to determine where she wants to go. It is quitetelling that the lady is eventually taken by Henry after her ownhusband falls from financial grace to the ashes of poverty.
Nevertheless, the modifications that the modern man has undergonehave stretched well into the areas thought unreachable and which wereidentified with weakness. This comes out clearly in the form ofemotional ineptness, identity crisis and the insecurity pertaining tothe modern men in “Royal Tenenbaums”. At a certain point, Royal’sson Ritchie is depicted crying in the tennis court and declining tocontinue with the game. The audience is informed that the player isactually crying behind his glasses, which should be testament to thefact that this is not supposed to be happening in the first place.Further, Ritchie is shown trying to end his life. These aredepictions of the inability of modern men to handle the pressuresthat come with the contemporary ways of life (Roberts and Gettyman23). In the earlier times, masculinity was primarily demonstrated bythe capacity of individuals to hold it together and not demonstrateany sensitivity, in which case the film could be highlighting orsatirizing the insecurities and weaknesses that the modern mandemonstrates. The male characters are depicted with off-beat and tickbehaviors and this helps show the vulnerabilities that postindustrialmales wears in their sleeves rather than covering it as was the casewith traditional masculinity (Ahmed154).
In conclusion, modernity has brought into play numerousmodifications in the roles and place of the varied genders. Indeed,it should be noted that a large proportion of the things that weredetermined as the hallmarks of being a male have been overridden andeliminated with time. Nevertheless, while there may be varyingopinions, it is evident from the movie that the modern society hasseen a significant modification in the gender roles, with patriarchalpower and masculinity undergoing considerable modification while someelements are still remaining the same. This is demonstrated bythe expectations of the society with regard to men such as Ritchieand Royal, as well as the actions of the characters such as Ethelineeven on matters that should primarily be personal and solelydetermined by the likes and preferences of individuals.
Ahmed, Sara. “A Phenomenology of Whiteness” Feminist TheoryAugust 2007 vol. 8 no. 2 .149-168
Artz, Lee and Murphy, Bren Ortega. Cultural Hegemony in the UnitedStates. ThousandOaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2000. Print.
Batchelor, David. “Chromophobia.” In Color: The Film Reader,edited by Angela Dalle Vacche and Brian Price, 63–75. New York:Routledge, 2006. Print
Benynon, John. Masculinities and Culture. Celtic Court: OpenUniversity Press, 2001. Print.
Roberts, T.A and Gettman, J.Y. Mere exposure: Gender differences inthe negative effects of priming a state of self‐objectification.Sex Roles, 2004: 51 (1/2), 17‐27.
Robinson, Sally. Marked Men: White Masculinity in Crisis. NewYork: Columbia: University Press, 2000. Print.
Xiaonquan, Z. and Gantz, W. Disruptive and cooperative interruptionsin prime-time television fiction: The role of gender, status, andtopic. Journal of Communication, 2003, 53: 347-362.