2 thoughts on “Week 2 Day 2 Discussion Question 3

  • February 21, 2022 at 8:44 am

    Imitation of Life revolves around the lives of two women, Annie and Lora. Lora, whose husband passed away, tries to make a name for herself in acting while Annie works for Lora as a live in maid. However, the men in the movie play an important role in upholding the society standards of what women should be doing at this point in history. Steve, in particular, plays into the idea that women should not be working and should be staying home with the children. He plays into the mother blaming of Lora that we see throughout the film. Instead of encouraging Lora to pursue a career in acting, he discourages her from taking it, instead believing that he can be the one to take care of the family. He does not want her to have this independence and doesn’t want her to be able to follow this passion that she has had for years. Even later in the film once Lora is a very successful actress, he still does not want her to take on different roles and still wants to uphold the traditional life of a husband and wife.

    A rather upsetting man in the movie is Mr. Loomis who tries to take advantage of Lora when he takes her on as his agent. Lora has enough independence to be able to reject his advances of her. However, when he calls to tell her about an audition, Lora agrees to do the audition, which shows how women at this time were still so reliant on men for success. Even though Mr. Loomis sexually harassed Lora, he still helps her on her career to success and he stays in her success throughout the film as she becomes more successful. However, the movie doesn’t really address this as he becomes a background character, but who is still mentioned.

    Overall, the men in the film play supporting characters in working to uphold the society ideas at the time that women should not be working and instead should be at home with their families. When women did go out to work, they were blamed for being bad mothers by the men in their lives.

  • February 20, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    Imitation of life revolves around two working women’s personal lives and success, Lora and Annie. We see Lora, a white woman, struggling to provide for her daughter financially after her husband passes away. Annie is a black woman who similarly eagerly offers her domestic services to Lora to support her young daughter. Despite being based in the 1940s, we see the movie prioritize female success outside of the realm of typical domesticity. This experience was not typical for that period, as society looked down upon white women working outside the home. Many men still believed that women belong in the home as caretakers rather than in industries that lead to familial neglect. In Imitation of Life, male characters such as David encourage women to work and shape their career paths. Over the years, David constantly supports Lora in her theatrical pursuits and is one of the most significant factors in her early success. David is never seen pressuring Lora into marriage or stepping away from acting to become a more involved mother.

    However, this male perspective is juxtaposed with Steve Archer, who echoes the typical societal standards in postwar America. During his marriage proposal to Lora, Steve demands that she doesn’t take a new acting opportunity since he can provide a house for her and care for all her needs. Even though Steve was still a struggling photographer and knew he was not making much money, he still believed that a woman should stay at home rather than help financially. It was surprising that Lora was happy to see Steve after ten years despite his overbearing presence in her early career. Steve still upholds his viewpoint that women should not be working outside the home despite Lora’s tremendous success. When Lora eagerly mentions that she might be flying out to Paris, Steve becomes closed off and does not want to see her again. Lora’s career in theater is threatening to Steve’s understanding of the role of a man and woman in a domestic setting.

    Interestingly, Steve has no issue with Annie working as a maid for Lora, which is likely due to the racial roles of the period. Working black women were more commonly accepted in society, but many held service roles that incorporated the “typical domestic duties.” It also was not as important for black women to be outstanding mothers and wives compared to white women. Thus, working women were only a topic of discussion when it involved white women or led to the success that exceeded a man’s.

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