Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Young Victoria

This past Friday, I went to see The Young Victoria, which is a movie about the early years of Queen Victoria and how she started her reign over England. Though she was young and without any experience ruling, Victoria took the throne after her father and uncle died. She defied the usual stereotype that claimed a man was the one who could successfully be the sovereign. Victoria took on the responsibility of a man in the eyes of her country. Before Victoria started her reign, she had been introduced to Prince Albert who she kept writing to and seeing during beginning of her rule and Queen Victoria later asks Prince Albert to marry her. As time goes by her now husband, Prince Albert gets comfortable in the eyes of the public and with political matter; thus, Prince Albert gets involved with Queen Victoria’s political workings. Albert talks to other prime ministers for Victoria and convinces some of Victoria’s Ladies in Waiting to resign in order to make the cabinet politically neutral. However, Albert’s behavior aggravates Victoria, hence she tells Albert that the reason he got involved was because he saw her “as a woman” and therefore felt the need to protect Victoria from the harshness of politics by speaking for her.

The clip below is the scene in which Victoria gives Albert the reasons why he got involved with her political matters:

Through Victoria claiming that Albert came to her protection because he thought of her as a woman implies that one, she is reinforcing the usual stereotype of women being weak and vulnerable, also, that Victoria sees behaving and being treated as a woman an insult. I found her statement really interesting and ironic because while she is a woman herself, Victoria wants to be treated like a man because she was ruling a country which is usually a role occupied by a man. Queen Victoria is seen as a woman who is successfully executing the role of a man, but she thinks that being thought of as a woman is being inferior to men. Also, at the end of the video clip, Victoria sees her husband as her subject first and then her husband. She wants to be seen as the Queen but never a woman.

I wonder how to create the political transformation, as stated by Mackinnon that will help eliminate sexual inequality if we have had strong, historical, female figures such as Queen Victoria that think of womanhood as a weakened state in her own eyes and the eyes of men. It comes back to women having to initiate such a change in society.

There is some disagreement on how I have interpreted the movie clip so I am curious to know if you think that the portrayal of Queen Victoria in the video clip was suggesting the inferiority of women or is Queen Victoria saying that she can handle her own affairs without a man’s inference solely for the fact that she is a woman?

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