“We’ve had one, yes – but what about second breakfast?”

朝霧の巫女 (Asagiri no Miko) is a relatively light and predictable anime meant for girls in their early teens (and younger). On that basis, I won’t complain about it having such a bland storyline, since its meant for an audience that it would have some meaning for. Nice to watch whist having meals and stuff (the 12 minute episodes also add to its convenience), but something I wouldn’t bother watching again.

Also saw Mona Lisa Smile recently. For me, it wasn’t as powerful as Dead Poet’s Society – perhaps because I first saw the latter when I was much younger and less discerning…but MLS also has various problems that have little relation to any previous films (except where the filmmakers committed similar crimes). Whilst I know the attitudes of many people (not least of all those of women themselves) during the fifties still held women in the role of homemaker, as some others have complained, it probably wasn’t as bad as the film makes it out to be. I can believe that lower education was still concerned with conditioning women for “the roles they were born to fill”, but I find it difficult to believe that there were still so many in that time who aimed just for that steroetype. If this article is anything to go by, even if it itself might be presenting a skewed picture of the Wellesley class of 1950, the problems seem to be less what women themselves wanted than what society allowed for them. Whilst only a small proportion truly thought of pursuing their own careers, the hurdles they encountered were much greater when they actually tried to pursue further study in their chosen area. Education seems to have been the main area which allowed them further. It was not really that much different from the time (1860s and 70s) where Henry Maudsley argued for the restriction of women’s education based on their ‘biological differences from men’ (albeit in Britain rather than the States, but one of the main debates was sparked by an American Professor’s lecture)…but the restrictions had been pushed beyond the point of the first degree. I’d take the depiction of the educational system in MLS with more than a pinch of salt.

On the matter of the students being as unruly as they were in (the fictional) Katherine Ann Watson’s first class, having never been to such a school, I can’t say anything on that. But is it believable? Maybe there were a few isolated examples – if there was actually an example of a teacher being accepted into a school where class was so openly important, and there was perhaps a student like Betty Warren, then I believe it could have happened. But every girl in the class reading the text before the start of classes? It’s true that film often has to distort ideas because the time-limit places restrictions on how much they can convey. However, a picture is worth a thousand words, and they could have produced a more balanced depiction of the era. I will applaud them for including the message that integrity should not be compromised, even if it is clouded by a “been there, done that” feeling.

The acting is fine – the younger actresses stealing the show. Some people say that Julia Roberts doesn’t really suit the role of Katherine Watson (a progressive woman who probably belongs more in the late 20th century, especially given her career and relationship preferences), but I don’t really care. Maggie Gyllenhaal is great though.

Breakfast time, again.

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: