Dirty Dancing: Not Just a Love Story

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In the movie Dirty Dancing, the main characters are seventeen-year-old Frances Houseman, also known as ‘Baby,’ and Johnny Castle, who is a supposedly twenty-five-year-old dance instructor (Sylwester, 2008) This movie takes place in the summer of 1963 at Kellerman’s, a vacation resort (Ardolino & Gottileb, 1987). Throughout the beginning of the movie, the budding romance between Baby and Johnny becomes apparent; by the end of the movie, they have confirmed a relationship, but Johnny has been fired and must vacate the resort. Due to the setting of this movie, the gender construction and messages are a little more outward than they may be in a more recent movie. To start, Gender is constructed by society and therefore, it is constantly changing over time (Lorber, 2003). Gender is something that is acted out in each person’s everyday life or the routines of everyday activities. Gender is mostly carried out with simply thinking about the actions of specific genders. Gender roles are often expected soon after a child is born—a girl according to the gender roles, should wear pink and a baby boy should wear blue. Comments are often made before a child can even cognitively understand the idea of gender, such as, “he is going to be such a strong little boy,” or “she is going to be such a princess”. These ideas lead to socially-constructed gender and why men and women behave the way that they do. In the movie, there are many different ways that the concept of gender is carried out. For example, very early in the movie, Baby’s older sister Lisa is concerned with the fact that she did not bring enough shoes (Ardolino & Gottileb, 1987). This tells the audience very early on that Lisa is very self-absorbed and that she does not pay much atte... ... middle of paper ... ... explicit meaning it has many implicit meanings, because of this most of the meaning can be taken and changed between the viewers of the movie. The gender constructions and meaning throughout this movie are in line with the time period of the movie. This movie showcases rather typical gender construction and meaning for the 1960’s. Works Cited Ardolino, E., & Gottileb, L. (Directors). (1987). Dirty Dancing [Motion Picture]. Lorber, J. (2003). The social construction of difference and inequality . Boston : McGraw Hill. Phillips, W. (2002). Thinking about film . In Film an introduction (pp. 403-438). Boston : Bedford/St.Martin's . Sawhney, V. (n.d.). The Women's Liberation Movement of the 1960s. Retrieved from The CWLU herstory website : http://www.uic.edu/orgs/cwluherstory/_notes/GrrlSmarts/sawhney.html#Top Sylwester, M. (2008, December 08). Dirty Dancing Analysis.
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