Last night I went to the Ridge to see Sylvia, a film about the life of Sylvia Plath. I wanted to write an interesting and insightful review of this film, but the fact is, I can’t. I cannot get over the fact that the film is basically all about Sylvia’s life in relation to a man. Why do these films about the lives of notable women artists and writers always focus on the men, how the men in these women’s lives impact them? Why is it not the other way around? Why is Sylvia’s life before Ted Hughes not important?
I found the same thing happened in Frieda. One might say that it’s because of the times in which those women lived. However I think there are far more interesting struggles going on in the lives of women such as Sylvia Plath and Frieda Kahlo. Consider Kahlo’s self portraits examining her relationship with chronic and severe pain, or Plath’s writings on madness. These lifelong struggles situated within the female body are minimized and ignored in favor of whatever penis was strutting around at the time. The implied message is that the only important part of a woman’s life, even a woman such as Sylvia Plath, is their husband and the things they do for their man.
The good news is that since it was a reperatory cinema I only paid five bucks.