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March 14, 2024

This movie wasn’t “woke.” It was anti-Feminist. Or…was it?

Someone posted about Kramer v Kramer being too woke for today’s environment.

Someone insightfully replied: 

“I think you are really misreading Kramer vs Kramer.

Streep’s character represented the establishment’s stereotype of modern 70s woman (this was the era of Women’s Lib). She abandons her husband and child to “find herself,” but returns when that doesn’t work out, selfishly expecting to pickup as a mother where she left off. She uses the court system to enforce society’s view that a mother is a more important parent than the father.

The film, however, has other ideas. It wants us to know that Hoffman’s character is clearly the more important part of their child’s life by the third act. Streep is the villain. The 70s-era Women’s Movement tore a family apart at the start of the film, and threatens to do so again at the end. Only a late (and slightly hard to believe) change of heart by Streep gives the film its “happy ending.”

The film’s POV is clearly rooted in patriarchy, and an indictment of Women’s Lib-era independent women. It was anti-woke long before that was a thing.”

Another: “I remember a rather snarky review after Hoffman appeared in Tootsie, something to the effect of “In Kramer vs. Kramer, Dustin Hoffman argued that men made better mothers; in Tootsie he argues that men make better women.”

And, while witty, I agree with this reply: “That’s funny. But sort of a weird way to look at Tootsie. The character literally says something to the effect of “I was a better man as a woman” – the premise is that toxic masculinity can be tempered by embracing a more feminine side. Men can be better with a female influence.

At least that’s my takeaway.”

But, fundamentally, Kramer had another message, too: “I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, and really we are working with a term here (woke) that is poorly defined. It’s my stance that the film‘s exploration of social issues, such as Hoffman’s character fulfilling a non-traditional father role, being a single parent, and learning to find a work-life balance (scary anti-capitalist screeching noises) could easily be labeled as “woke.”

So, in the end, what are we to think? We’re to think. I.E, use your brain. Your heart. Dialogue. Consider openly, with insight, discernment. See all sides. Don’t allow yourself to be captured by partisan thinking–even if our conclusion may fall in line with partisan thought, in the end, how we get there is vital.

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