Essay #4, Draft 3
15 December 2015
I chose this topic because I was curious to learn more about the role of women not just in the movie, “Lawless”, but in this time period of the Prohibition in general. From my studies of this era, women definitely played an influential role in how this period of history unfolded. I really wish the women had more parts in the movie as I think their distinct personalities would have definitely added more flavor to the plot. “Lawless” would’ve been a great film if the time were taken to weave them more into the film’s fabric as opposed to a distraction from the blood and moonshine. The thesis of this paper is to examine the role of women in this film and how gender roles were portrayed both in this movie and the Prohibition era, in general. One of the unintended consequences of Prohibition was that more women drank—and drank with men, keeping right up with them. Before Prohibition, especially throughout the 1800s, women’s relationship to alcohol was an adversarial one, as they tried to stop their stressed-out husbands from drinking so much. Saloons were primarily for men. The only women inside were likely prostitutes. Chronic drinking meant systemic abuse by men toward their wives and children. Eventually, women organized themselves into various groups, pushing for a ban on alcohol. On Jan. 17, 1920, the women got their wish when the 18th Amendment went into effect, banning the sale of alcoholic beverages. As we all know, though, Prohibition didn’t stop people from drinking. Female alcoholism became a huge problem, because more women had access to drink in a way they had never had before. It is against this backdrop in society that the film takes place. Three bootlegging, rebellious brothers discover the elusive American Dream is within their reach, and strive to maintain their grip as powerful urban gangsters reap the rewards of their hard work in this Great Depression-era crime drama from...
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