30 May 2010

The Devil Wears Prada | Confessions of a Shopaholic

Look closely and you'll start to see a lot of similarities between these two recent films, The Devil Wears Prada and Confessions of a Shopaholic. Needless to say, both are based on the novels of the same names and both feature a central female character who has problems with her lifestyle. In The Devil Wears Prada, we see Andrea Sachs or Andy having problems with choice, whether to be a successful fashion columnist in a top fashion magazine or to have a lovely relationship with her boyfriend. On the other hand, Rebecca Bloomwood in Confessions of a Shopaholic, also chooses to decline a once-in-a-lifetime offer to work in a fashion magazine in order to stop living a lie.

Both films see the whole fashion industry as an arena full of heartless struggles and competitions, where the winners are left soulless and the losers nothing but ... losers. Here, we can't help but aligning this world with working women, a rather new generation of women who need to prove that they can work as effectively as (or even better than) men, women who have been under enormous pressure to prove themselves that they can survive in this dog-eat-dog world of consumerist capitalism. One can't help but wonder how in this day and age of affirmative right and political correctness can women be stereotyped in such a cruel way, especially when one takes into consideration that these negative images are created by female novelists. Of course, I don't mean that they misrepresent women, but they are rather too heavy-handed in painting this rather cold image of women, whose personal lives suffer at the expense of their career success. A good example would naturally be the character of Miranda Priestley, whose ice-queen looks are just a external layer that conceals her vulnerability.

It comes as no surprise to learn that both Andrea and Rebecca at the end decline these lucrative offers but prefer to take low-profile jobs. But the reason actually varies: while Andrea chooses to quit her job because she doesn't want to be cold-hearted as Miranda, Rebecca just refuses to take the job at Alette because she thinks the job just keeps her in a web of lies in the world where she needs to entice people to spend more money in retail therapy. However, despite this difference, what is similar between the two films is that their decision not to enter the fashion world is related to their discovery of the truth of life -- that the meaning of life lies not in jobs or shopping but in ... men. Now, call me sarcastic if you may, but I do believe that in this day and age of postfeminism, we could have done better, to see that perhaps women don't EVEN need a boyfriend or a relationship, but a belief in their true self, the self that they can rely on and be contented with. What I see in these films, however, is that women choose not to depend on a job or shopping, but to depend on men instead.

1 comment:

shameekaa... said...

they dont depend on the men in any case...the end is only their realization of what they need...Andrea picks up a job as a journalist, but what she always wanted to be is a journalist..if am not wrong, time n again she says, working with Miranda is only so she could get ahead in journalism....she kind of lost the track in between while working with Miranda, but as soon as she realizes what she is doing and what her aim is, she quits runaway.....a successful love story often completes any story......as in 'confessions..', its a story of how she improves..she refuses Elite is due to her realization of right and wrong, not so she gets back her man...a successful love story completes a movie...if inspite of doing the right, the men in both the movies had decided to stay single, we would again blame the story....anyway the point to remember is ..its not because of men, but how certain people in your life introduce you to yourself, so another lesson you could learn is...never let them go....quite a long one..lol..cheers....shamika:)