Sunday, October 26, 2014

9 to 5: Comedy With a Burst of Feminism

"I got a gun out there in my purse and up to now I've been forgivin' and forgettin' because of the way I was brought up, but I'll tell you one thing, if you ever say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I'm gonna get that gun of mine and change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot."

I first learned of this movie whilst watching Makers: Women in Hollywood. Actually my mother says we watched it when I was kid, but I don't remember. In the doc, Jane Fonda grows quite emotional as she talks about this film, the third made by her own production company. Believe it or not, this was one of the first movies that made really "made it" aka grossed a LOT of money that was geared toward women. As a matter of fact, Ms. Fonda said something about going around asking women office workers, "If you could do anything to your boss, what would it be?" and getting some amazing answers! It was also revealed that the theme song became the Women Office Workers' anthem.

So now you have some background. I suggest watching Makers to get the real accurate 411 though. Ms. Fonda's passion and love for this one movie really resonates.

Though a comedy, the movie shows us the plight of women office workers--how their ideas are stolen by the higher ups, how they're passed over for promotions they deserve in favor of men with less experience, how they're relegated to serving coffee whether they're secretaries or not, how they're sexually harassed. And at first, these women seem to be "taking it". They need the job to support their four kids, to help them after a divorce, etc. But everyone has their limits.

And though this film was made in 1980, that crap still happens today. We may have more laws in place, but many women live in fear of actually utilizing those laws. There's the still the issue of workplace hostility...but I digress.

The beginning shows us their plight, how horrid their boss is. The middle shows them sharing a joint and their fantasies as to what they'd do to him. The end shows them standing up for themselves--with guns, S&M (or m&m, as Jane's character calls it)-like devices, rat poison, and of course words. And it's not all about bosses either. There's a philandering husband who thinks he can just walk back into his ex-wife's life after his mistress dumps him... Will the woman fall into his lecherous clutches again? Or stand up for herself against her ex as well as her boss?

They become feminists! Feminists who steal dead bodies, tie men up, send busybodies on language-learning trips, and who also renovate the workplace for women.

And while my summary may come across as crude or vulgar, I assure you the movie is absolutely NOT. I feel everything was done tastefully and that the folks who created this one--from the writer to the director to producer to actors--did a superb balancing act. The comedy never overshadows the seriousness of the women's plight, the plight never overshadows the comedy. As soon as you grow angry, the movie throws in a laugh, keeping the viewer in a good mood while still making them aware that being a woman in a 9 to 5 job has its frustrations.

Have you seen it already? Watch it again! Born after 1980 and never heard of it? Watch it now!

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