Mama Mia

Curious about the lack of older female characters in fiction and literature or indeed in the culture at all. Where are they? Even when they exist, they may not be so flattering. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice features Elizabeth’s mom as being over the top, desperate to get her daughters married into a good situation. Yet who can blame her? Because the alternative for being a poor spinster in England at that time was dismal at best. She has 5 daughters and no sons who will take care of an unmarried sister. The young women have only their looks and charm and intelligence to help, no fortune.

In fairy tales the mother is just part of the parentage or worse, such as Disney’s version of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. There are older women in the Greek tales and plays: Penelope has alot of action and story given to her in the Odyssey, which is quite beautiful to consider how a wife copes when her husband goes off to war for 15 years or so. When is enough enough?

We saw some really good movies come out of the 1960s and the 1970s that featured real women’s stories, not just “who will I marry” or such. Hollywood has had some good gems despite all the bad examples. Norma Rae is about a woman who helps unionize millworkers and has to cope with raising her children on her own.

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