Self-assessment and criticism help us improve our skills and ways in which we communicate our ideas and perspectives with others. In this essay, I will be critiquing my feminist literary criticism and analysis of the movie Mona Lisa Smile. Firstly, I will explain why I chose this movie and why I am interested in feminism. Secondly, I will point out my strengths and weaknesses, and finally, I will illustrate why being a female can create biases while doing feminist criticism.
The reason I chose this movie, is because the first time I watched it, which was 5 years ago, it really had a noticeable impact on me. Considering the fact that I was 13 and at the beginning of my adolescence, in a middle eastern country with many limitations for women, Katherine’s character immediately attracted me and became a role model to me. I rewatch this movie every time I feel like I need to remind myself of my true value and the feminine power within me. I believe every girl needs or at least can use a Katherine Watson in her life. The message behind this film is significantly important which is why I decided to do my feminist literary criticism on this movie. My interest in feminism started from a very young age (around 10 years old), thanks to my mother for embracing her femininity and powers and teaching me to do as well. My interest in this matter kept increasing as I was learning more and more about my rights as a woman. The fact that most of these rights were being taken away from us, the women in Iran, only made me feel more motivated to study feminism and become active in this field. Feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights. I was not ever against men, on the contrary, I always felt comfortably connected to them and I also enjoyed the masculine part of me. The beauty of feminism for me is that it states that our gender is our power and not our boundary. This topic is well covered in Mona Lisa Smile.
My previous knowledge about feminism helped me build strength on my analysis based on my observation of each female character. It gave me the ability to notice the stereotypes and assumptions reinforced on the women in the film. Although my explanation on these stereotypes could have been stronger and more specific. I also think I should have gotten into more details about the ways in which Katherine helped the girls open their minds, and how she changed their paths. Another one of my weaknesses was the part I did the analysis on male characters which I think was incomplete and it does not give the reader the complete accurate description of men in the movie.
Being a female when writing a feminist critique does create some biases which might overdue some points in the essay. Although I really do try to be as fair and accurate as possible while explaining a point, but my female perspective does unconsciously lead the direction of my writing to my benefit. Even though my essay was opinion based, there were parts in which a male point of view might make a different statement on, which can also be true. For instance, I might have put all my focus on the men’s part of the creation of the challenges women had to go through while there were many women in the movie who are just as guilty as those men to create those assumptions. For example, Betty’s mother was the one that wanted her daughter to accept the fact that her husband is cheating and just stay with him, she did not even let her daughter stay at her home. Therefore, biases do exist in critiques due to one’s perspective on the subject, but they do not make the concept false or inaccurate.
In conclusion, Mona Lisa Smile is probably one of the best movies to choose for feminist literary criticism and very well fits my interests of this subject. Although my essay has many parts that I can work on and can improve, it also carries an important message. Biases are normal to happen while writing about such matters, but one must be aware of them and do not let them get carried away.