For this week’s film, I decided to revisit Fried Green Tomatoes, a film directed by Jon Avnet and written by Fannie Flagg. My mother loves this movie, and she actually has it on VHS tape. I’ve watched it several times in the past, but I’ve never watched it from the feminist perspective. After examining this film with fresh eyes, it clearly has feminism throughout the entire story.
One of the main characters in the film, Idgie Threadgoode, is a model feminist character. She is portrayed as a “tomboy” from her youth. She is rebellious, and she rejects all gender roles as arbitrary. She skips church, hates dresses, and enjoys spitting. She is always independent and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her. As Idgie gets older, she plays cards, drinks at bars, and does just about everything a “lady” in this era should have avoided. She certainly never submits to authority.
In addition to Idgie’s feministic traits, this film also addresses feminist concerns. One of the key feminist concerns that this movie addresses is the oppression of women. Ruth Jamison is first depicted as typical woman, but she soon finds herself in an abusive marriage to her husband Frank Bennett.
Her husband is a drunkard and total dictator towards her, and he physically abuses her. She eventually separates from him, and Frank is eventually killed and barbequed. As this abuse was occurring, Ruth developed a much bolder stance towards him, saying that she wouldn’t pray if he tried to take her baby away, she’d fight!
Aside from Ruth’s character, Evelyn also learns to become bolder. She rams a car after being cut off by younger girls, she tears down a wall in her home with a jackhammer—all while saying her famous new battlephrase, “To Wanda!”
In conclusion, Idgie was a strong feminist character who inspired nearly every woman in the movie to ignore gender roles and to fight against injustice. She inspired Eveyln, her newfound friend, to stand up for herself. She inspired Ruth to stand up against her abusive husband. She even took a stand against racism and the Ku Klux Klan. This movie was definitely a feminist movie from beginning to end.
Granted, I’m not a feminist, but this was an actual assignment I had to write, and I had to do it from a feminist perspective. But this film is interesting.