Rosemary’s Baby Feminist Essay
Rosemary’s Baby Feminist Essay
Rosemary’s Baby is a film written and directed by Roman Polanski based on Rosemary’s baby, a novel by Ira Levin. The film is indisputably feminist. It tells the story of Rosemary whom and the audience is expected to have compassion on her. She is portrayed as a kind and generous woman to her neighbors who would later betray her trust. She is so devoted to her husband who dictates everything around her. Feminism is portrayed deeply in the film, as every thing seems to be controlled by the men. Nothing has been left to the care of women.
In the film, it is evident that Rosemary, the stay-at-home wife confides and looks for approval from her husband Guy in everything. She is completely dependent on him for the provision of the household and for everything in their life. She looks up to Guy for everything as well as all decision making. In the whole film, Guy treats Rosemary almost like a child who has to seek permission from a higher authority. We see Guy refusing her to read the book left by Hutch, we see him confronting her about her haircut, he lies to her that he had sex with her while in real sense it was not him but could have been Roman or Satan himself.
Guy has sold his wife to Satan so that he could succeed in his career. This is evident since his main competitor suddenly becomes blind and Guy takes all his roles thus building up a good career for himself. He is wiling to do so at his wife’s expense. He is definitely in charge because he allows his wife to carry the pregnancy, bear the devil’s child and even raise it. He does all this do he can continue getting the acting roles and so that his career can advance. The film displays Guy’s character as that of a chauvinist, selfish and full of male domination. He is a typical ambassador of the patriarchal community that was in existence then and still is today in some cultures.
The doctors in the film also have their equal share of anti-feminist characters. They are the only people that Rosemary can trust but they end up spoiling that form of trust. Doctor Sapirstein even suggests that Minnie will make a daily drink for the pain, which he says, is better than the drugs that are supposed to be given at hospitals. Dr Hill on the other side refuses to believe Rosemary when she confides in him, calls her a psycho, and calls the other doctor and her husband to come get her. Male dominance is clearly seen here and the doctor patient confidentiality is overridden by the male authority. All these examples from the film show of how the male dominated society works and thereby suppressing feminism.
Male dominance has been richly glorified in the film thereby leaving no room for feminism. Many illustration of patriarchal domination have been drawn as seen in the marriage and medical institutions. Gender roles as seen in the film have it that men are solely the decision makers in their households and in their careers too. Women on the other hand are to stay at home and depend totally on the men while looking after the children in the horrific status of patriarchal power (Berenstein 55). They are reduced to doing what the men tell them, and cannot do anything on their own accord. Rosemary’s rape by the devil gives the example of how her body is held captive in a world that her husband and the demonic neighbors make for her. After getting the baby, her house becomes her prison and everything she does is managed for her including her hairstyle and health. Her role is to stay and look after the devil’s offspring and every attempt she makes of escaping is futile. Her husband is reflected in all the bad and negative ways like using her body at his own discretion, taking her for granted a much as she is faithful and obedient to him, he has the last say in everything, he neglects her and dismisses her when she gets emotional. He I also seen as a bully, self-centered and is always objectifying Rosemary.
In conclusion, despite all the male domination, there still is some feminism like in an instance when Rosemary becomes friends with Terry the woman who lived with the Castevets. They become friend and Rosemary even starts admiring her necklace with the smelly pendant. Rosemary would eventually inherit it after Terry’s suicidal death. Another instance of feminist is seen when Rosemary turns to her lady friends for advice after she had been languishing in the abdominal pain for some time. The women go into private with her and advise her that she needs to listen to her body. What follows is that she goes against Guy’s wishes (Sullivan, Greenberg, and Landau 192). Negative feminist is observed in Minnie, Rosemary’s neighbor who is the female mastermind in all the tribulations that Rosemary is going through. Her evil scheme can go along with the evil of the male dominance.
Berenstein, Rhona. “Mommies Dearest: Aliens, Rosemary’s Baby and Mothering”. Journal of Popular Culture. 5 March. 2004:55-73. Print.
Sullivan, Daniel, Jeff Greenberg and Mark J. Landau. “Toward a New Understanding of Two Films from the Dark Side: Utilizing Terror Management Theory to Analyze Rosemary’s Baby and Straw Dogs”. Journal of Popular Film and Television. 8 August, 2009: 189-198. Print.
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