Speech transcript on comparative study of texts - "Pygmalion" by Bernard Shaw, "Pretty Woman" (directed by Garry Marshall) and "Maid in Manhattan" (Wayne Wang)

Essay by misaHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2007

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Patriarchal views and masculinity dominate Pygmalion and its appropriations; Pretty Woman and Maid in Manhattan. Even though their respective contexts are recalibrated in each representation, the message remains unchanged; that it is a woman's role to be 'pretty' in order to be loved and desired by a man and that the achievement of this goal constitutes her greatest happiness and fulfilment.

Through out each of the aforementioned texts, our society's unwavering reverence and acceptance of patriarchy entrap us through our contextual dominant gender stereotypes.

Masculinity encompasses the concept that all men adhere to the "strong handsome prince" whose destiny is to rescue their princess. In Pretty Woman, Edward most vividly conforms through their role-play, scaling the tower and conquering his fears to liberate Vivian.

Each man observes potential in their respective women and strive to perfect them into their own visionary goddess. Higgins exhibits more pride on massaging his own ego by effectively transforming Eliza through the articulation that would 'pass her off as the Queen of Sheba' rather than her revitalisation and renewed self-respect, thus revealing the very narrow focus of masculinity.

In Pretty Woman, Edward having provided Vivian with startling red dress proclaims "something is missing" and produces a diamond necklace, putting it on as an act of to 'complete' her. Similarly in Maid in Manhattan, Chris, an American senator, mistakes Marisa for a wealthy woman when he incumbently encounters her trying on a client's luxurious attire. Heeding his request for her presence at a classy party, she pretentiously dresses glamorously and acts sophisticated, craving of him to desire her. This echoes the female's perception of masculinity; where by achieving a man's love, constitutes her greatest happiness and fulfilment.

Patriarchal beliefs convey that society is to seen through the eyes of men. Although all three texts were...