One example of a film having direct impact on any aspect of society could be found in the recent cinematic adaptation of the 70s
television program Charlie's Angels
. Via the vehicle of mass media
exposure, this movie helped to shape social consciousness with the provision of woman role models to the world at large and the depiction of female empowerment
on the screen.
Charlie's Angels provides strong female role models. The women featured in the film are not only physically beautiful, but demonstrate talent, keen intelligence, and formidable combat ability. The classic depiction of women being secondary to or often outright defined by a man finds no place in this movie. Though employed and supervised by men, the Angels are clearly what make up the detective agency. They provide the brains and the brawns behind the entire operation and use their feminine advantages to get things done when they need to be done in that fashion.
The strength and capability of these women even show up with their personal relationships, demonstrating how that these romantic endeavors were made possible by their active involvement. This is in contrast to other movies where romantic entanglements existed simply because some man willed the whole thing together. With such songs as "Independent Woman" sung by all-girl group Destiny's Child stirring in the background, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore's characters do well to resonate with the lyric "...'cause I depend on me..."
Charlie's Angels challenges the age-old adage that all women are damsels in distress waiting for a man to come and provide them a dashing and perilous rescue from whatever harrowing predicament ailed them. In this movie, the women saved the men. Bosley, portrayed by Bill Murray, was captured and inevitably rescued by Cameron Diaz's character, Natalie. When Dylan, Drew Barrymore's character, was captured and was in the position to be rescued, herself, she managed to break free from her captors without the aid of anyone else...and with her hands tied behind her back! These women are not to be messed with.
One curious thing to mention is that a controversial song by the group Prodigy made it into the score. When "Smack My Bitch Up" was first released, there was much turmoil produced as it was believed that it engendered spousal abuse, enforcing the notion that "women should know and stay in their place". When it was used in the scene where the Angels launched into their first combat scene with Crispin Glover, however, it served to empower the women even more. Exactly who was giving the smackdown to what bitch, eh?
Charlie's Angels does well to shatter the convention that women could be nothing but victims and that, empowered, they are capable beings in their own right. Having the benefit of a mass medium as film to disseminate this message, the world can finally realize its veracity for themselves.