Friday, May 21, 2010

"Just Wright" About What?

It's rare that I will pass up a sports movie. With the NBA playoffs in full swing and after listening to NPR pump up the film "Just Wright" ('Just Wright' And The Rhythm of Romance; Common, Sanaa Hamri Get It 'Just Wright'), I decided to check out Queen Latifah and Common's latest cinematic endeavor.

Okay, so the film is cute, extremely cliche and predictable. What else would one expect from an American romance? It's interesting, however, how much the film is being cast as a progressively feminist flick simply becuase it tells the story of a hunky pro basketball player and his choice to marry a "plus sized woman," rather than the stereotypically slender basketball wife.

Ultimately the film is not about breaking gender lines. Instead, in typical American fashion, it is just another rendition of how women define their worth through their relationship with men. In "Just Wright," Queen Latifah plays a talented, successful physical therapist who just can't land a man.

Despite all her occupational talents, humorous traits, commitment to family, and other likeable characteristics, it's Scott McKnight (Common), the NBA All-Star, who completes her life.

It's interesting, "Just Wright" comes out during a time when "plus sized women" are making the headlines as supposedly overly sexual, as discussed in this NPR podcast: "Plus-Sized Models An Increasing Presence In Ads." But again, this trend in trying to make "plus-sized" women acceptably feminine is hardly progressive. Fundamentally, femininity is not changing. It's simply including more women in its current cultural framework.

The feminine dogma that calls for women to be physically attractive for men now includes a new set of women. Thus, the central narrative really hasn't changed at all. Bottom line, women need to look pretty for men, because it's through their connection to men that they enhance their status.

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