The movie "Mona Lisa Smile" is set in the 1950s and deals with the starting feminist's movement against traditional roles.
The main character, "History of Art" teacher Katherine Watson, arrives at the conservative all-women college of Wellesley and tries to teach her really smart students not only art history but also independence. She also wants her students to know that their aim, namely getting married, does not have to be their only purpose of life, but that it is also possible to be married and have a job.
In the following I will compare the attitudes towards the role of women of three female characters from the movie. I will also take developments of their attitude during the movie into consideration.
I want to start with a very forward thinking woman, Amanda Armstrong. She is the school nurse and lives together with Katherine Watson and Nancy Abbey. Although it is forbidden, she distributes contraception within the students of Wellesley. As it turns out during the movie, she is lesbian and had a relationship with a deceased teacher of Wellesley. She gets fired when the student Betty Warren writes an article about her in which Betty reveals Amanda's illegal distribution of contraception.
Amanda is a very independent and liberal woman who gets punished for being a forward thinker. She gives contraception to the girls because she wants them to get the freedom of making their own decisions. With the contraception they can decide if they want to have a baby or if they just want to have fun. The fact that some girls accept Amanda's offer shows that she is not the only one who wants to change something.
Amanda Armstrong's biggest opponent is Betty Warren, a young and smart student who follows the traditional way she should follow. She does not like Katherine Watson's way of teaching and thinking. Because of that, she writes not only an article about Amanda but also a very critical one about Katherine. She can not wait to marry her fiancé