Foxy Brown: A Femminist Nightmare

In a time when women were fighting for equal rights and the ability to be seen as more then just wives, mothers and secretaries the movies of the time worked just as hard to keep women in their place and in those traditional rolls that were accepted as the natural order of things. From Saturday Night Fever to Halloween seventies films were full of messages that women who stepped outside of their place would suffer and movies such as Stepford Wives and Woman Under the Influence sent messages of what that place was supposed to be. Blaxploitation films were no exception to the times. While on one hand they were very much about equality and black empowerment they also were very clear about what the roll of women should be in society.

Jack Hill’s Foxy Brown clearly sent the message of woman’s subservience to men. While on the surface the movie appears to be about the empowerment of women the film really stresses the traditional values of society and consistently sends the message that in all aspects of life, regardless of power, wealth or status a woman’s place is in service to the men in her life and to forget that could mean the loss of family, the loss of your husband or boyfriend or the inability to succeed in whatever endeavor a woman may pursue in her life.

Foxy Brown opens with Foxy’s brother Link (Antonio Fargas) in serious trouble as he is about to be assaulted and possibly killed by a pair of leg breakers sent by the drug kingpin he owes money too. Link immediately calls his sister for help knowing that without it, he’s as good as dead. Foxy is reluctant to offer her help but agrees to come and brings her pistol and arrives just in time to prevent her brother’s beating and to take some shots at the bad guys. It soon becomes apparent that Link isn’t the best of brothers. He is a drug user and dealer that has a price on his head for stealing from the dealer he used to work for.

He also lives with Foxy but pays no rent, doesn’t help around the house and routinely causes Foxy trouble as she tries to protect him and save his life. The problem with Foxy helping out her dead beat brother is that the movie presents her help as if it is her duty to do so. There is no sense that Link is at all grateful for his sister’s assistance. Many times he acts as if he is entitled to the help she is offering. He lives in her home, eats her food and doesn’t offer to cook, clean or pay any bills and this is with him routinely placing her life in danger. Foxy however doesn’t react as if his lack of gratitude or help is a problem at all.

She seems okay with her role as servant and caretaker to her brother and complains very little about his taking advantage of her kindness. In having the superwoman Foxy play nursemaid to her grown and capable brother the movie sends the message that it is the woman’s responsibility to care for the men in her life regardless of how she is treated by him or if he is deserving of that help. The movie not only suggests that she take on this role but that she enjoys it and doesn’t expect things to be any different. Anytime Foxy complains about anything she does for her brother they are all shot down as she is either made to feel guilty about her unwillingness to help and serve or his life is in danger if she doesn’t help. The overriding message that is sent is that by not adhering to your role as caregiver then you ultimately are acting to destroy the family unit.

The movie continues with its message foxi apk download that women are, regardless of status, wealth or power second to men in its characterization of the Madame Kathyrn (Kathyrn Loder) and her relationship with her husband Steve (Peter Brown). Kathyrn is a very powerful woman. Not only is she a Madame of a harem of high class hookers but she is also a drug kingpin that controls a good portion of the heroin that enters California. However even with all of this power she readily defers to her husband Steve in all aspects of their relationship. It is made quite obvious that Steve is far from faithful or caring to Kathyrn.

He is having affairs with the hookers that work for his wife and it is apparent to everyone else that he merely tolerates Kathyrn because of her wealth and power. Kathyrn, a woman who runs the criminal element of the city and has grown men afraid of her seems oblivious to the man that is her husband. She is unable to make decisions without his approval and seeks that approval in everything from matters business to what she is going to wear. The movie reinforces the traditional ideas of a woman’s subservience to her husband and also the idea that a woman cannot function without the aid of a man. Kathyrn is a woman who has managed to make it on her own in a male dominated criminal world, yet she can’t detect the lies and affairs that are happening right under her nose.

A woman who is master of her destiny in all other aspects of her life willingly becomes the duitiful wife with no questions asked. Anytime Kathyrn questions Steve’s authority he only has to withdraw his affection and she quickly resumes her roll of good little wife. The movie makes it clear that the roll of woman is solely as helpmate to her husband. It doesn’t matter is she is the primary bread winner or the brains of the relationship, she is always second and to forget that could mean losing the man in her life.

As Foxy seeks justice for the murder of her boyfriend she decides that she needs extra help in bringing those responsible for his death to justice. She enlists the help of a band of revolutionaries by asking their permission to continue on with the vengeance she is seeking. At this point in the film Foxy has managed to infiltrate a Madame’s harem, embarrass a prominent judge and escape form and murder two heroin chemists that were holding her hostage.

Yet when it comes to finally exacting the revenge she has been working so hard for she has to ask the permission of a group of men who know nothing of what she’s fighting for and hadn’t been of any help to her up to this point. If the men refuse Foxy’s request the assumption will not be able to continue with her mission. This request seems odd sense Foxy was doing fine in her attempts to bring down the people responsible for her boyfriend’s murder but the movie makes sure to send the message that without the help of a man she would be incapable of completing the mission on her own. She makes it clear that without their help she wouldn’t be able to capture these people.

 

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