I watched the movie Friends with Money based on Ilkka Kokkarinen’s recommendation.
The movie stars Jennifer Aniston as Olivia, a woman who quit her job as a schoolteacher at a private school and who now works as a maid. She has three female friends, all of whom have at least upper middle class wealth. Thus the title of the movie. Olivia is also the only one of the friends who is unmarried.
This is a “slice of life” type of movie. One of the topics concerns how money interferes with Olivia’s relationships with her wealthier friends. There is one scene where Olivia’s wealthiest friend, Franny (played by Joan Cusack), chides Olivia for not working hard enough to make something of herself. This makes Olivia justifiably angry because Franny not only doesn’t work, she also has full time domestic help.
My own observation is that it’s pretty normal for women who can afford it to have full time domestic help, even though they don’t work. I personally know people in that situation.
There is also a thousand dollar a plate charity dinner at which Franny has bought a table for her friends. Olivia says, with a certain amount of justified anger, why don’t people just give money to the charity instead of wasting money on expensive dinners and expensive clothes to wear to the dinner. Her wealthier friends just don’t get her point of view. (Charity is a topic I’ve written about before.)
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How realistic is it for a pretty white woman like Jennifer Aniston to be working as maid? Not very realistic at all. Sure there are white women who don’t have good jobs, but they don’t work as maids. Waitress would be a much more likely job. Working at a call center or in some kind of back office operation involving data entry and endless rows of cubicles would also be a likely job if she wasn’t qualified to be a waitress. (Who isn’t qualified to be a waitress? Fat ugly women, because you never see such women working as waitresses except at Denny’s.)
Furthermore, how likely is it that a woman as cute as Jennifer Aniston would be unable to find a boyfriend, assuming she really wanted to find one? This is also not so likely.
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I thought the funniest theme of the movie was not the plight of Jennifer Aniston’s character, but rather her friend Jane’s (Frances McDermond) husband Aaron (Simon McBurney) who people think is gay because he has typical gay interests such as clothes and gourmet food.
Although I was amused, it also made me aware of another double standard of human sexuality. The women, when together, discuss the topic of whether Aaron might be gay, and this is apparently acceptable behavior. But if men accused a woman of being a lesbian because she had typically male interests, this would be considered in poor taste. Thus you never see respectable male characters in television shows or movies accusing women of being lesbians.
This also demonstrates how men’s behavior is much more strictly constrained by societal norms than women’s behavior. A woman can choose to work or choose to stay at home and be a full time mother. A woman is allowed to enjoy masculine pursuits such as politics or finance, but a man must always act like a man, and showing even the slightest interest in clothes or Broadway musicals makes him the topic of snide remarks about his sexuality.