I’m not generally a big fan of musicals – which is good as a lot of them – especially the older ones of course – tend to be pretty anti-feminist and anti-progressive in general. However, a few musicals from my childhood have slipped through the cracks and remained good memories for me – Grease 2, A Chorus Line, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, West Side Story – I know it’s an unusual group – but gimme a break. Anyway, The Sound of Music has always been one of those fairly pristine happy musical memories.
And man do I wish I could go back in time and NOT catch it again on television this past weekend. Ignorance is bliss and all that.
I mean, we all know those ‘I Am Sixteen Going On Seventeen‘ lyrics are a feminist nightmare, but the choreography in that scene has always belied the true nature of Liesel and Rolfe’s relationship – a far more interesting and intelligent girl hoping to seduce a rather dense and shy boy. And so I was always able to pretty well rationalize away the ramifications of that song – in my own mind at least.
However, I had completely forgotten (or deliberately blocked out?) the fact that ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria‘ – a somewhat lighthearted and silly song sung by the nuns early on, is also played while Maria walks down the aisle dressed in shockingly virginal white.
Really movie people? REALLY?!
So I mean, I’m not exactly making a big leap here when I say you’re suggesting that you solve a problem like Maria by marrying her off? Considering this movie was made in 1965…ugh. The insult is then further exasperated by including a shot of the nuns looking on almost hungrily from behind the gates (bars?) of the abbey as Maria gets married. SO, not ONLY do you solve a problem like Maria by marrying her off – but we want to make sure to further reinforce that women are nothing if not married – either to a man or to God (and by the wistful looks on the nuns faces – preferably a man) by showing seemingly desperate nuns looking longingly into the ceremony?
As if that was not enough, one of the only scenes with Maria (that isn’t singing) post wedding, is when she tentatively tries to advocate for the children singing in the Salzburg Music Festival – at which time she is immediately shut down by her husband. And unlike the brash outspoken ‘fight the good fight’ woman she was as a single governess – a woman who would never step down from what she believes in – as a “happily” married wife she literally steps back, puts her hands behind her back, and lightly bows her head in acquiescence to Captain VonTrapp’s orders. Shortly thereafter she sings a bit of ‘Sixteen Going On Seventeen‘ with Liesel in which they both longingly sing about ‘belonging to a man’ – good role modeling Maria, good role modeling.
All this to say DAMN YOU FEMINISM FOR RUINING THE SOUND OF MUSIC FOR ME! Damnit! I’m never going to be able to watch this shit with a clear conscience again.
And here’s the real question – if I have kids someday – do I put them in front of it? I mean, certainly once they’re old enough they can choose what they want to watch – but when they’re young enough that I’m choosing for them – do I want to corrupt their little minds with these antiquated ideas – that they may not even realize are ridiculous and antiquated until far too late? Damnit I say again.
Completely Unrelated Sidenote: I cannot believe how gorgeous Austria is and it has now shot up to the top of my travel wish list.
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