Absolutely Fabulous: Gender and Power

Some things about fairy tales we know to be true. They begin with "once upon a time". They end with "happily ever after". And somewhere in between the prince rescues the damsel in distress.
Of course, this is not actually the case. Many fairytales omit these essential words. But few fairytales in the Western tradition indeed fail to have a beautiful, passive maiden rescued by a vibrant man, usually her superior in either social rank or in moral standing. Indeed, it is precisely the passivity of the women in fairy tales that has lead so many progressive parents to wonder whether their children should be exposed to them. Can any girl ever really believe that she can grow up to be president ...

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Patsy, who are reprises of a recurrent character in Western narrative, the "unruly woman".
While such characters appear with regularity since at least the moment that the Wife of Bath steps on to the literary stage, usually such characters are only allowed to disrupt the world of the story for a brief period before the normal order of events and power is reestablished. However, "Absolutely Fabulous" presents us a world in which misrule is allowed to continue, in which the inverted order of power (i.e. one in which women are allowed to have a significant degree of power) is allowed to continue, to be normalized.
What makes the female characters in "Absolutely Fabulous" especially compelling is that they are not simple representations of the "unruly" in the way that a character like "Roseanne" was: These are not characters created simply to violate our ideas about the norms for gendered behaviour. Roseanne, an entirely grotesque character, exists as a anti-woman, an exemplar of ...

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as in many ways pre-feminist creatures, happy to be defined by a consumerist culture that in the end cannot be truly liberating for any woman who defines herself in terms of its values.
It is important to note that it is not only the female characters that are important in terms of questioning and reasserting (in some measure) traditional ideas about the relationship between power and gender. The male characters (e.g. Paolo, Oliver and Marshall) also call into question how both genders can use money to establish dominance in their own worlds through the power of money. We see this especially in an episode from the second series, "Death and Morocco" (1994) and the episodes "Happy New ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 10/2/2015 05:09:06 AM
Category: Film & Theater
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2716
Pages: 10

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