The Iron Lady Movie Cultural Studies Essay

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In this paper, the writer is going to analyze a character named Margareth Thatcher in The Iron Lady movie. The Iron Lady movie is a biopic film which tells the journey of Margaret Thatcher's life. Margaret Thatcher is a woman politician who has strong influence in the world. She was successful in trace the history as the first woman Prime Minister in England whom occupied that position for more than one decade. This movie shows many fluctuations in politic, economy, and social field in the arrangement of the government and society which happened in that time.

Thus, it can be said that movie, one example of popular culture, is actually a cultural product which represents the society's beliefs, values, and norms. (Nachbar & Lause, 1992). Williams (2010) says that there are some examples of popular culture which give a huge effect and become popular in over the world such as fashion, television, music, and movie. It can affect both positively or negatively.

The writer choose Margareth Thatcher as the object of the writer's study because the writer wants to reveal that in the past time even in recent days women are oppressed in a political field, they have not been given chances to show their ability to lead the society. However, Margareth Thatcher shows her ability to carry out the Britain's government.

Margareth Thatcher was born on October 13, 1925, in Grantham, England. She is the daughter of a local businessman who was introduced to conservative politics by her father, a member of the town's council. When she was in university, she served as a president of the Conservative Association. Two years after she graduated from her college, she accepted to work for public office. She ran as the conservative candidate for a Dart ford parliamentary seat in the 1950 elections. She was elected to be a leader of the Conservative Party in 1975. She served as the prime minister of England from 1979 to 1990. As a prime minister, she battled the country's recession by initially raising interest rates to control inflation. She can run the country quite well marked with some progression that has been occurred in that time. Moreover, she shows her valor when she accepted to be the first female Prime Minister in England by a lot of contradiction come from the government and the society. Besides, she is an inspiring leader for the writer. She exemplifies how a woman leader in reality ought to behave.

The writer will discuss this character using the perspectives of women stereotype, oppression, and movement in accordance to Marxist feminism theory. The theory separates men and women's power in social and economic field. It also talks about power inequality between men and women in a society. From the film, Margareth Thatcher shows her desire to have the same right, chance, and position in the society where in that time women were usually been oppressed by the men. Therefore, the writer chooses to use this theory.

Having considered the above facts, therefore the writer proposes a study entitled Feminism Analysis in Phyllida Lloyd (2011) Iron Lady Movie: A Study of Women Stereotype, Oppression, and Movement.

Field of the Study

This study belongs to both Literature and Film Studies.

Scope of the Study

This study will put limitations on what is going to be analyzed as follows:

The writer will analyze the feminism side of a character in "The Iron Lady" movie, Margareth Thatcher, using Marxist feminism theory.

The writer will analyze the cinematographic visualization in the film which confirms women stereotype, oppression, and movement towards the character.

Problem Formulation / Research Questions

This research aims to answer the following question:

What are women stereotype, oppression, and movement which are defined in the film?

What are the perspectives of women stereotype, oppression, and movement according to Marxist feminism theory?

How does the cinematographic visualization in the film confirm women stereotype, oppression, and movement from the perspective of Marxist feminism?

Objectives of the Study

This research is conducted to achieve this objective:

To reveal the women stereotype, oppression, and movement in the film.

To define the perspective of women stereotype, oppression, and movement according to Marxist feminism theory.

To show the cinematographic visualization in the film which confirms women stereotype, oppression, and movement from the perspective of Marxist feminism.

Significance of the Study

The writer conducts this research to inform the readers about what was going on in the past time toward women in England who were been oppressed by the men. Moreover, the writer also wants to give her assumptions and criticism concerning to the gender stereotype which happens in the society nowadays.

Definitions of Terms

To prevent misunderstandings towards this study, the writer will give some definition of terms which are related to this study.


Film is another word that means different things in different contexts: roll film, stock, a film, to film. We were all exposed to some kind of film before we saw our first example of classic moviemaking. It may have been something we saw on television: a cartoon, a Three Stooges short, a Lassie rerun. Or perhaps it was an educational film we saw in school or a theatrical film (a film intended to be shown in movie theaters).

(Anatomy of Film, Bernard Dick, 1978, pp.1-2)

Marxist feminism:

Marxist feminism is organized around the basic conflicts between capitalism versus patriarchy and class versus gender oppression. Marxist feminism combines the study of class with the analysis of gender.

(Feminist Theory and Literary Practice, Deborah L. Madsen, 2000, p.65)


Stereotype is fixed ideas about individuals, groups or objects. Stereotypic thinking about sex-role related personality features is pervasive. Desirable features assign men to form a competence cluster, while women's features form a warmth-expressive cluster.

(Broverman, 1972, as cited in The Dictionary of Feminist Theory, Maggie Humm, 1995, pp.277-278)


The experience of oppressed people is that the living of one's life is confined and shaped by forces and barriers which are not accidental or occasional and hence avoidable, but are sys­tematically related to each other in such a way as to catch one between and among them and restrict or penalize motion in any direction.

(Oppression and the Use of Definition, Marilyn Frye, p.3)

Political movement:

The activities about someone during a particular period of time or a group of people who works together to advance their shared political ideas.

(Oxford Dictionaries Online)

Cinematographic visualization:

The essential techniques, methods, and elements people use to tell the story.

(Cinematography Theory and Practice: Image Making for Cinematographers and Director, Blain Brown, 2011, p.3)

Review of Literature

There are some theories that can support the writer's research, they are:

Feminism in European Politics

The difference between struggling classes and the ruling classes in Marxist teaching has clearly led each class to do social struggle. However, when we are speaking about gender roles in such a stratified society, the class struggle is simply a cause to gender stereotypes and exploitation. (Madsen, 2000)

Gender stereotypes is actually a set of values of being "proper" and "improper" to be done by a woman which is functioned as a limitation These values often create an unfriendly environment or even such condition for women to take part in legal and social functions. Furthermore, it supports a condition that women's rights are susceptible to violation.

There are many kinds of stereotypes and several reasons of stereotypes. According to Cook & Cusack (2010, pp.25-28), there are three kinds of stereotypes, they are sex stereotypes, sexual stereotypes, and sex role stereotypes. Sex stereotypes, are supposedly based on the physical or biological differences. Sexual stereotypes are those based on the perceived characteristics that play a role in sexuality, including, for example, sexual initiation, intimacy, possession, and objectification while sex role stereotypes describes a normative or statistical view regarding appropriate roles or behavior for men and women.

Josephson (2005) in her book Gender and American Politics: Women, Men, and the Political Process: Tolleson-Rinehart explains the examples of discrimination among women and men government workers in western legal system. She says that among others, women usually suffer in terms of people's trust, media coverage, and self-inconfidence from their male counterparts.

Based on Gelb's theory of feminism and politics: a comparative perspective (1989), there are two kinds of feminist movement in power-seizing political fields, they are the "reformists" and "radicals". Both of them move based on their own ideology of how women should be participating in such conditions.

According to Jonasdottir (1994), oppression based on gender stratification is similar to Marxist class division where the gender "woman" has been named as the "second gender". Thus it makes women are vulnerable to discriminate based on what Marxism defines as materialistic and economic value.

The conceptual tools of cinematography

Blain Brown (2011, p.3) in his book Cinematography Theory and Practice: Image Making for Cinematographers and Director says that the tools of cinematography and filmmaking actually discuss the essential techniques, methods, and elements that we can use to tell the story.

Some elements in cinematography visualization which can be used to support this study are camera angles, shot sizes, and techniques of framing. According to Bernard Dick, a shot is simply what is recorded by a single operation of the camera. He also states that it can also be defined in terms of distance. (1998, pp.36-37). In other words, shot is a matter of subject's size or amount in the frame. It embodies five types; they are close up (CU), extreme close up (ECU), long shot (LS), extreme long shot (ELS), and medium shot (MS). He also says that shots are also defined by the position of the camera in relation to the subject or what do we known as angle. It is determined by where the camera is placed. There are four types of angle; they are bird's eye view, high-angle (h/a), low-angle (l/a), and oblique-angle.

In framing techniques, there is a rule called rule of thirds. Rule of thirds is a guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images such as paintings, photographs, and designs. It proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. When we are photographing or filming people, it is common to line the body up with a vertical line, and having the person's eyes in line with a horizontal one. (2012, Rule of Thirds, ¶.1).

Method of Data Collection & Analysis

Method of Data Collection

The writer uses film as the instrument of this study, documentary research as the technique to conduct this research and qualitative approach to analyze the object. The writer chooses such technique and approach because the writer wants to analyze the object in depth.

Method of Data Analysis

Thus far, the writer has done watching the movie and collecting the data. The writer has used library and internet resource to assist completing this research.

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Preparing Proposal




Proposal Examination


Data Collection



Data Analysis



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Thesis Examination