The notion of feminism is characterized by the development of the peculiarities of its definition according to the aspects of the phenomenon’s waves. Thus, historians and sociologists still argue on this point, and they are inclined to determine two, three or even four main waves of feminism. According to the majority of opinions, the second wave of feminism began in the 1960s and lasted till the 1990s.
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During this long period, women changed their opinions on the gender inequality and stated their different rights and freedoms. That is why today the second wave of feminism is associated with the women’s liberty in relation to such concepts as sexuality, family, and equality. The Sweden poet and director Lukas Moodysson also emphasized the feminists’ ideas in his two movies which are known for the English-speaking audience as Show Me Love (1998) and Together (2000).
The main female characters of these movies are the women who want to feel their freedom of feelings, expressions, emotions, and attitudes, and who can make decisions without references to the traditional norms and customs only because of the fact they are women. Thus, their intentions to acquire and realize their personal freedom in spite of the traditional social visions reflect the main tendencies of the second wave of feminism.
If the feminists of the first wave concentrated on their legal rights and freedoms, the feminists of the second wave accentuated their roles in the society as individuals who are equal with men in their expression of the definite personal feelings and emotions and in their free attitude to relationships in family and to the sex. From this point, the feminists of the second wave began to discuss the feeling of love as the multidimensional phenomenon which cannot be regulated by any social visions of the questions, but only by the personal attitude.
Thus, in his Together, Lukas Moodysson concentrates on the depiction of a woman with the variety of her feelings which are based on the feeling of love. This love can be parental or sexual, reflect the attitudes to the husband or relatives, to the children and friends. In this case, women in Together try to state their freedom to feel and express those emotions they want to focus on without concentrating on their gender. These women are seeking for their personal and emotional image.
Thus, Anna discovers that she is a lesbian, and she does not want to hide this fact as she does not want to hide her body under the clothes which is too tight for her. There is an interesting situation when Anna argues that she can behave as it is comfortable for her, and it is her right to decide to wear or not the clothes in order to hide her nakedness (“Together”).
This discussion between the members of the commune Tillsammans can be considered as the metaphor which accentuates the women’s desire to express themselves without paying attention to any social limits.
Anna is a lesbian, but she was not always aware of the fact because the peculiarities of the women’s life in the Swedish society in the middle of the 20th century could not provide her with the idea that it is possible to go beyond some social fringes.
The era of the 1960s presented the opportunities for all the people to look at the social norms and rules from the other point of view. Lukas Moodysson portrays the aspects of the life in the commune Tillsammans in 1975 with references to the people’s rethinking the notion of liberty and equality.
If Anna begins to think about her sexuality as the way to express herself only after analyzing her life with Lasse and in relation to the fact they have the child Tet, the main characters of the other movie by Moodysson, Agnes and Elin, begin to experience the difficulties with the understanding of their feelings much earlier, when the girls are in their teens.
Thus, this difference in the female characters’ age accentuates the evolution of the women’s attitude to their personal self-actualization which develops from the 1970s till the late 1990s. In Show Me Love, Moodysson pays attention to the girls’ lesbianism as their reaction to the conservatism of the society in which they live, to the traditions and customs of their small town Amal.
They are ready to behave provocatively in order to break the false norms which limit their freedoms in expression the feelings and in order to understand themselves as personalities (“Show Me Love”). It is possible to speak about feminism in Show Me Love as the way to represent the changes in the women’s visions of their role in the society.
According to the ideas of the movie, women are equal to men even in the situation when both the women and men fight for the other girl’s attention and love. There are no boundaries between the genders which can prevent somebody to fall in love with a person of the same sex.
Agnes and Elin act as the young feminists who are free from the social prejudices, and they follow only their own desires and inclinations. They feel the tension of the social morality, but they try to resist it. Lukas Moodysson is successful in his presentation of the girls’ story as the element of the everyday reality.
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That is why the world which he depicted is the world of the further changes in the social rules and norms with references to the position of women which can be discussed as the second wave of feminism.
The feminists of the second wave concentrated on those women’s rights which were associated with the distribution of the gender roles within society and with the women’s role in the family. The female characters of Lukas Moodysson’s Together can be considered as the real illustrations for depicting the various aspects of the feminists’ intentions. Thus, Lena and Goran follow the ideas of the open relationships.
Moreover, Lena concentrates on this ideology more enthusiastically in comparison with Goran’s viewpoint because she sees a kind of freedom in following this style of living (“Together”). It is important that the society was always more patient to the men’s addicting to the idea of open relationship. That is why Lena’s thoughts about this question are discussed as rather provocative.
In this case, her character can be perceived as the embodiment of the feminists’ position according to the women’s role in the family with references to their sexuality. Nevertheless, Lena’s attitude to the open relationships can also be analyzed as the exaggeration of the feminists’ intentions to be equal to men in all the fields not only of social but also of their personal life.
Elizabeth, the sister of Goran, is the illustration of the woman who is not afraid of breaking the relations with her husband in spite of the social opinion. Elizabeth cannot bear the quarrels with her husband and decides to escape from such a life going to the commune in which her brother lives. However, in spite of the fact that this woman is rather decisive in her actions, she differs from those people and those women who live in the commune.
Elizabeth can be discussed as the typical housewife, whose sense of life is her family and her children’s bringing up, but the situation changed, and now the young woman learns the peculiarities of the other way of living.
Thus, Elizabeth is not a feminist in the typical sense of this word because she is used to live with her husband and according to the laws of the ‘men’s’ world. Nevertheless, living in the commune where people mostly speak about their freedom in all the senses, this woman seems to share these people’s points of view on the problem of the equality and liberty of men and women.
Comparing Show Me Love and Together directed by Lukas Moodysson, it is possible to conclude that he uses the notion of lesbianism in his movies as the way to emphasize the women’s new approach to their personal freedom. From this point, the social challenge provided by the lesbians’ behavior is associated with the challenges which were accentuated by the feminists.
Thus, Agnes and Elin are depicted as lesbians in order to present their strong reactions to the ordinary everyday life in a usual small town where people are dependent on their biases. However, the girls cannot be discussed as the real feminists because their visions are based only on the idea of the personal freedom. Nevertheless, they also focus on the differences between the boys and girls and accentuate the coming tendency of paying no attention to the sex or gender, but to see the personality.
In Together, the main feminist who is illustrated with the help of the image of Anna is a lesbian who is rather direct in presenting her challengeable visions of the situations and many social aspects. Thus, her lesbianism is the reflection of the notion of the women’s freedom on which the second wave of feminism depends.
At first sight, the problem of feminism cannot be discussed as the main topic of such movies as Show Me Love (1998) and Together (2000) which are directed by Lukas Moodysson. Nevertheless, with focusing on the peculiarities of Moodysson’s depicting the main female characters in these movies, it is possible to speak about the author’s personal reflection on the aspects of the second wave of feminism in his works.
The sensitive story about the love of two girls which is described in Show Me Love seems to have few similarities with the story about the life in the commune of the 1970s which is depicted in Together. However, the main concepts of feminism which can be summarized as the freedom and equality are analyzed in the both movies with references to portraying the women’s provocative attitude to their liberty, sexuality, and the role in the family.
Show Me Love (Fucking Amal) 1998. Video file. 05 June 2012. Web.
Together (Tillsammans) 2000. Video file. 05 June 2012. Web.