Minggu, 06 Juni 2010



Gender is a complicated discussion. Talk about gender is just like talk about never ending story, full of contradiction, complicated and debatable. One of hot discussion relate with gender is talk and discuss about feminism.

1. Feminism

Hornby (1995: 428) says that feminism is belief in the principle that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. Although this belief grows as the development of the era but the core of feminism is still same, woman demand that they have the same right and opportunities just like man.

So many kinds of feminism were born, radical feminism, Muslim feminism, Christian feminism etc. the wave of feminism comes from all over the part of the world and every feminist has their own argument of what feminism is. Just like stated above, the core is same “no gender diversity”.

One of reason of the born of feminism is Ancient Greek gender’s discrimination. Aristotle in Bressler (p. 180) states that the male is by nature superior, and the female inferior, and the one rules and the other is ruled. The protest against that opinion comes from all over part of the world and Simone de Beavoir is one of women who reject that opinion.

Beavoir feminism was born as a protest of Patriarchal construction in French and western. The other reasons are woman is controlled by man and women as the secondary. Beside that the existence of women is under the man even in major institution just like in church, government and also in educational system. Everything are controlled by male because male is dominant in society. It is just like Bressler stated in Literary Criticism (p. 182):

Beavoir’s text declares that both French and Western societies are Patriarchal, controlled by male…Beavoir believed that the male in these societies defines what it means to be human, including, therefore, what it means to be female. Because the female is not male, she becomes “the other”, an object whose existence is defined and interpreted by the male, who is the dominant being in society.

Against the condition above a women have to life independently, get out from the Patriarchal construction. It is just like Beavoir stated in Bressler. Beavoir in Bressler (p. 182) states that a woman must break the bonds of her Patriarchal society and define herself if she wishes to become a significant human being in her own right and defy male classification as the other.

There are six points of Beavoir feminism. They are as follows:

a. Woman’s independent

b. Equality with man

c. Woman is a subject instead as an object

d. Woman is not man’s subordinate and must not be marginalized

e. Woman has the equal right to actualize herself / to have a self fulfillment (self meaning)

f. Women has the right to choose / decide

The equality with man becomes the core of the feminism. A women’s character in a literary work often shows feminism inside. There are so many literary works which consist of feminism inside. One of the literary works which can be analyzed feminism is Hayden Harrera’s Frida: A biography of Frida Kahlo. But later this work is made being a film with the title Frida.

2. Frida

Frida is a biographical film which is made in 2002. This film stories the professional and private live of a Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Frida is adapted from Hayden Harrera’s Frida: A biography of Frida Kahlo. On the age of 18 Frida has an incident. The effect, Frida is impaled by a metal pole and the injuries she sustained plague her for the rest of her life. Painting is the way Frida through her suffer during her sickness. Frida knows Diego by painting also.

The marriage of Frida with the painter Diego enters Frida into long suffer of love. Loyalty is the only one expectation of Frida to Diego Rivera. During their marriage Diego hurts Frida by betrayed her with so many women even with Frida’s sister Christina. The death of Frida’s mother brings her into deep suffer. Frida has her own way to face her suffer. Frida trapped into alcoholism, bisexual relation, cropped her hair and outfit like a man. These are the way how Frida escape from her suffers. Frida tries to eliminate her women image and expresses her anger.

Frida’ suffer stopped when Diego asks her to remarry him. Sorrows stopped and happiness begins when Frida comes back to Diego. Before her death, Frida have her solo exhibition successfully. Then Frida die in peace with the reach dreams on her hand.

Frida’s characters in general are attractive, naughty and curious, brave and responsible, easy going and free, respectful, passionate, ambitious and obsessive, courage / dare, smart, high self confidence whole hearted. Frida is an ambitious girl in reaching her dreams becomes a good and famous painter. She paints with her whole of her heart and this becomes her different with the other painter. Her feministic is shown when she is still teenager.

3. Feministic Love Story in Frida

Frida is the main character in Frida film. The way Frida faces her life shows her feminist side. Frida is an independent women, she faces her suffer strongly even in her love story and her marriage. Frida is strong character, improve her ability in painting in order to reach her dream and make a beautiful happiness to her family. Frida is still painting although she is sick and she still works hard to make her dream comes true until her death.

Bases on the theory which is stated in the previous part, the major character of Frida film can be analyzed by using feminism. There are six points of Beavoir’s theory of feminism:

a. Woman’s independent

Hornby (1995: 604-605) states that independent is not dependent on other people or things; not controlled by other people or things. When a women work or tries alone to reach her dreams it means that she is independent women. Woman’s independent can be seen in Frida’s character.

During the sickness of Frida because of her accident, Frida stay in bed and she starts to paint although she cannot stand. Frida still has dreams although she is stay in bed because of her sickens. Her ambition makes strong and begin to paint. Frida’s dream is shown from the dialogue between her and her father.

Father : what is your plan Frida

Frida : self sufficient crippled one day

From the Frida statement above it can be seen that although the she will be a cripple girl because of the accident, she want to be independent girl in order to get work and can sufficient her necessity by herself. Frida is very interest in painting. Frida is very eager to paint and her sickness cannot make Frida stops to paint. It can be seen from her interesting when her father gives her painting tools.

Frida never see her sickness as an obstacle to reach her dreams as a good painter. The independent of Frida can be seen when Frida start to earn money by selling her paints. Frida does that in order to help her parents to overcome the family financial problem. The family financial problem is caused by Frida’s sickness after her incident. It can be seen when when Frida comes to Diego to ask Diego’s opinion about her work. It is based on the dialogue between Frida and Diego:

Frida : I just want your serious opinion

Diego : what do you care about my opinion?

Frida : I have to work to earn my own living. So I don’t have no

time to go around for funny thing. If I’m not good enough,

I have to do something else to help my parents.

From the dialogue above seems that Frida will do anything to earn money for her living and to help her parents. Frida’s independent is very clear here. Her cripple is not the reason to do nothing.

The next prove of Frida’s independent is can be seen when her husband Diego start busy of his job and becomes famous. Frida has to find her happiness by herself and kill the time by herself. It is just Frida states “I have to find way to entertain myself”. It shows Frida’s independent although she is ignored by Diego because of the busy of diego.

Frida’s moving to France is to ignore Diego and to forget Diego because of his betrayal. Frida lives in France and she finds her success there. Frida proves that she can pursuit her dreams without Rivera on her side. Frida argues that Franc is the most potential in art works and also Paris has been good for her. These statements just like Frida writes on her letter to Diego. People know Frida well in Paris and Frida and her works become famous there.

b. Equality with man

Equality means being equal and equality with man means being equal with the man. The masculinity of Frida can be seen since she is teenager. Frida often outfit like a man especially when Frida’s family takes family’s picture. When her family takes family picture, Frida uses coat and also trousers and also necktie. Seeing her outfit like a boy the photographer says to Frida’s mother “she always wanted to be a son”. Frida takes herself as just like a boy.

The equality is also shown when Frida joins with Diego and other people down to way and she is being woman participant in demonstration. They demonstrate for imperialism. As a woman, Frida have a bravery to join with man and being the participant in demonstration. Frida takes herself equal with man.

During Frida’s career, she often looked by people as the wife of a good painter Diego Rivera not as a good painter too. Frida can prove that she can be as good as her husband. She gives comment in every Diego’s painting and people start to know Frida from Diego. Inspite of people know Diego before Frida, Frida’s work is more famous than Diego’s.

In Frida’s love story, Frida proves that not only man who can have affair in marriage. Frida proves that by having sexual intercourse with so many women and also having affair with Leon Trotsky. It can be seen from the dialogue between Frida and Rivera after Trotsky leaves their house. From the dialogue can be seen that Frida can does what Rivera does, it means having affair. It based on the dialogue:

Diego : you lost your mind Frida?

Frida : go to hell Diego

Diego : you know the consequences of this could be?

Frida : he’s not scare what it could be

Diego : why Frida why?

Frida : because we wanted to

Diego : you broken my heart

Frida : its hurt does it?

But why you just fuck?

From the dialogue, Frida says “because we wanted to” it means that Frida enjoys the affair. “Its hurt does it?” like Frida said means that Frida can does what Diego does. Frida can do just like Diego does with so many women. Frida can do affair just like Diego’s affair. Frida seems to show that she is equal with man, nothing differences.

c. Woman is a subject instead as an object

Feminist argues that woman is not the object especially for men. Woman can do something like a man. Women can be the subject not the object anymore. Frida proves it by her paint. Frida is a good painter and she can paint as good as man. Frida does it double, Frida can be the subject of her paint and also can be the object of her paint. It can be seen from the painting of Frida. Most of works of Frida reflect Frida’s life, she paints herself by herself. Frira is a good and famous Mexican painter.

Beside that Frida’s bisexual prove that she can be the subject of sex rather than the object of man’s sex. Frida’s sexual intercourse with women can be seen that Frida enjoy as the subject of her sex. Frida enjoys dancing erotically with a woman in her wedding party. The next is Frida’s desire with Diego’s women in New York. Ever in Paris Frida enjoys having sexual intercourse with a Paris singer. These bisexual behaviors show that Frida can be the subject of sex not only the object of the sex.

d. Woman is not man’s subordinate and must not be marginalized

Women are not the small part of the society. Woman cannot be subordinated by man because woman has power to reach whatever they want. Woman must not also be marginalized because woman is not in marginal. In Frida the existence of woman is counted. It can be seen when Frida starts to paint. She proves that the works of a woman can be as good as a man and perhaps better than a man. Her painting is also has deep meaning. It can be seen in by Frida’s solo exhibition before she passed away. Frida prove that women are not man’s subordinate successfully by her solo exhibition.

Frida is a strong women, she cannot controlled by Rivera. When Rivera has affair with wide array of women include Christina Frida’s sister, Frida doesn’t give Rivera’s apologize. Rivera cannot make Frida gives her apology to him even Rivera persuades Frida. Frida is not crying but she does something more important, she cut her hair, she dress like a man and she paints to reflect her sadness. Her attitude is the reflection of her betrayal of her destiny. Frida choose to go away from Diego rather than comes back to Diego after Diego’s betrayal. Frida cannot be controlled by man who is hurting her.

e. Woman has the equal right to actualize herself / to have a self fulfillment (self meaning)

Not only man can work and success to pursuit their dreams, women also. Frida can fulfill her life necessity and pursuit her dream to be a famous painter. Frida can earn money and fulfill her and her family’s necessity by painting. Frida earn money by herself and fulfill her necessity. It can be seen from the dialogue when Frida comes to Diego to ask Diego’s opinion of Frida’s painting. Frida says to Diego:

Frida : I have to work to earn my own living.

So I don’t have no time to go around for funny thing.

If I’m not good enough, I have to do something else to

help my parents.

From what Frida said to Diego it can be seen that Frida want to fulfill her necessity by herself by selling her painting. Diego asks Frida to come back home and paint the other. The result is Diego confess the talent of Frida in painting. It can be seen from the dialogue between Frida and Diego on the next meeting:

Frida : do you actually believe that I should continue to paint?

Diego : yes

The nest self fulfillment of Frida is on sex. Frida can also fulfill her sexual desire although Rivera too busy and ignores her. Frida enjoys her intercourse with a women of Diego when Frida and Diego in New York. Diego doesn’t jealous because of this. When Frida and Rivera get divorce Frida still can fulfill her sexual desire by having sex with woman. Frida enjoys having sex with a singer when Frida is in Paris. Frida enjoys her bisexual attitude.

Frida is also can handle her feeling and her sadness when she knows that her husband has affair with her sister Christina. She kills her sadness and suffers in love by drinking, singing and painting. By does these, Frida’s feeling can be better and normal again.

f. Women has the right to choose / decide

Women has right to choose or decide in whole field. In Frida it is shown lot. Frida has her own choice and decision. It is shown when Frida choose as the painter beside the other profession. She is mocked by Rivera at the beginning she is being a painter but she proves that a woman has right to choose the profession that she wants. It can be seen when Frida comes to Diego to ask Diego’s opinion of her works. Frida’s interest of painting makes Frida choose painter as the profession.

Frida has right to choose her own husband although her mother doesn’t agree with her choice. Frida keeps move on and marries Diego. Frida accept Diego’s proposes to marry Frida. It can be seen from the bed dialogue between Diego and Frida.

Diego : we have to get married you know

Frida : What?....

Loyalty is important to me. Can you be a loyal?

Diego : to you? Always

Frida : Good, because I love you.

I accept

From the dialogue above it can be seen that Frida accept Diego as her husband. Frida accepts Diego although Frida’s mother do not like to Diego because Diego had children and Diego is a communist. The bravery of Frida to accept Diego shows Frida as the brave character.

The other decision of Frida is when she is decides to move to Paris leaves Rivera. Frida develop her paint and her works become famous in Paris. Frida have a bravery decision to move to Paris although she still loves Diego. She has to do that to do that in order to develop her career and also to forget Diego. It is based on the Frida’s statement in her letter to Diego Rivera. Just like the excerpt of Frida’s letter to Diego:

….Paris is good to me but without you is nothing.

It is clear that Paris is good for Frida’s career although her decision is hurt her on the other side. Move to Paris means get separate from Diego, the man whom she loves.

Next, Frida’s remarriage with Rivera is also her brave decision. Rivera hurts Frida so deep and Frida still can accept Rivera back to her. It can be seen when Rivera comes to Frida’s house to ask Frida to marry with him and Frida accept it. It is based on the dialogue between Diego and Frida.

Diego : I’m here to ask you to marry me

Frida : I don’t interest you Diego

Diego : I do

Frida : I lost my toes of a foot, my back is useless, I smoke,

I drink, I can’t have children

Diego : I accept your recommend

I miss us

Frida : they say don’t ever believe in down of the tears of a


Diego : they wrong

It can be seen from the dialogue above that Frida says “they say don’t ever believe in down of the tears of a woman”, it means that Frida accept the purposes of Diego. She agrees to remarry Diego.


Bressler, Charles. E. ____ . Literary Criticism An Introduction to Theory and Practice. Second Edition. New Jersey: Practice Hall.

Hornby, AS. 1995. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press.

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