Friday, December 30, 2011

The Red Shoes

1948 was the year the movie "The Red Shoes" was made. Even though it took place over 60 years ago, modern women are still dealing with the same issues. Can women "have it all"? I decided to watch this movie after it was mentioned in the documentary "Searching for Debra Winger".

At the end of "The Red Shoes", the evil ballet owner pushes the leading actress to make a choice, "No one can have two lives - and yours is dancing". When it appears that she will choose being a wife over dancing, the ballet owner sneers at her, "Go, be a faithful housewife and be finished with dancing forever". In the end, she chooses dancing, her passion, and her husband leaves her. The ballet owner reassures her, "Sorrow will pass - life is so unimportant". The message is clear: women can't have it all. The ballerina chooses not to live in the end, and she dances in front of a train. I suppose she assumed it would be better to have nothing at all than to choose between her career (her passion) and her husband (the love of her life).

Modern women are still facing these same choices, but the decisions we need to make aren't as extreme as they were in 1948. I've been doing some light reading on the subject. Right now, I'm reading "Midlife Crisis at 30: How the Stakes Have Changed for a New Generation - and What to Do About It" by Lia Macko and Kerry Rubin. Mako and Rubin make an excellent point: "Thanks to women who came before us, Gen-X/Y women don't question whether they can become CEOs, neurosurgeons, or senators; the question confronting us is at what cost do women hold these positions?" Women no longer have to choose only one path. We can have satisfying careers and fulfilling family lives. Each woman gets to decide what is right for her.

It is clear the feminist movement has come a long way since 1948, and I want to say THANK YOU to the women who paved the way for us!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Searching for Debra Winger

I just finished watching "Searching for Debra Winger", which is a wonderful documentary directed by Rosanna Arquette focusing on actresses in Hollywood over the age of forty. Arquette interviewed more than a dozen successful actresses about working, having children, and aging in the spotlight. In the first scene of the documentary, Arquette talked about the first movie she ever saw called "The Red Shoes". She described it as, "a movie about a woman whose passion is dancing, and she falls in love with somebody who asks her to stop dancing and just be a wife; to give up her work and her art for him. She can't make that choice, so she dances herself in front of a train".

Well, I live right across the street from a metro station, a marc train station, and a bus stop, and I'm grateful to have a husband who wouldn't ask me to make a choice between my career and being a wife because I'm not going to be dancing in front of any trains! It seems that our husbands/boyfriends/partners are no longer asking us to make these difficult choices. Women are now asking themselves what they want to be. Should we focus on our careers? Should we focus on motherhood? These are the questions I am starting to ask myself. I'm determined to find a balance between my career and home life. Okay, so I don't have kids yet, but I'm about to turn thirty, and I know I'll be making these decisions in the next few years.

I think it is important for each woman to choose a path that she is passionate about. Debra Winger described what passion means to her: "I guess I've turned the word passion into whatever it is that melts your heart". I think pursuing your passion is vital to living a full and happy life. Passion time!