Societal Norms Reign Supreme in "Four Sisters and a Wedding"
Start writing a post
Community

Societal Norms Reign Supreme in "Four Sisters and a Wedding"

What is the meaning of this?

34
Societal Norms Reign Supreme in "Four Sisters and a Wedding"
Youtube.com


Four Sisters and A Wedding is a film that haphazardly threads societal expectations and norms into it regardless of how well they fit with the characters and the situations they're in. Characters with no discernible romantic chemistry end up a couple, a high-powered executive overestimates exactly how big a sacrifice she's making in the name of her family, and a flashy woman is redeemed in the eyes of the audience solely for embodying ideals that women are supposed to have.

Shame and accomplishment are huge themes in this movie. This is illustrated when Princess' family comes over for game night and Mrs. Salazar proudly points out the wall of all the accolades her daughters have racked up. The certificates are lined up on the wall, and Alex doesn't have as much as the other three. There's this sense of embarrassment and shame because she's not as accomplished as her sisters. In their family, there is pressure to achieve, to be at the top of the class, and to get the most medals and awards not only to make the family proud and somewhat compete against their siblings but so that your parents can brag about them to their friends.

In the argument at the climax of the film, second eldest sister Bobbie says she only went overseas so that her sister Alex could have her dream job in film and also to take care of her mom's hospital bills. The theme of sacrifice is supposed to be apparent, but it's not as if it's that much of a sacrifice. She's a marketing executive in New York City- a much coveted job. It's a job that pays well, is somewhat creatively fulfilling and she's not doing any hard physical labor unlike Teddie. What's wrong with having ambition and wanting to do things for yourself? It's okay for her to enjoy her job without being so apologetic about it.

Teddie should have had those lines because she was the one working as a maid, and a waitress at a bar. She was the one working multiple jobs that didn't even fit her degree, sending money back home while doing so. Teddie was supposed to be a teacher in Spain but there was a recession and she was laid off but she didn't want to disappoint her mother. There would be a sense of shame if her family found out and even more if people outside the family found out. It would be especially embarrassing because out of all the siblings, she was the overachiever and they all expected her to be doing well.

The movie, in addition, enforces gender roles, and the idea that a woman must be modest, quiet, and non-flashy to be worthy of respect. We're supposed to think the mother-in-law is ridiculous, with her ideas for the bridesmaid dresses being over the top Lady Gaga-esque sea themed frivolity- more camp style than traditional wedding. This gives off the idea that women should be simple, low maintenance and humble to be worthy of respect, and if not then they're scorned and made fun of. The father, in addition, insists CJ sign a prenup when they're all at the dinner table, insulting the Salazars. The only thing that makes Princess sympathizable with the audience is that she really wants a low-key wedding deep down, is embarrassed by her parents' gaudy behavior, and is a good cook, offering to make breakfast for the Salazars. The film shifts the blame to the parents so that we'll think, "Oh, it's just the parents being ridiculous- the girls are being too hard on her." This is supposed to emphasize the overprotectiveness of the sisters and show that Princess is a woman worthy of CJ after all.

When searching for another girl for CJ, someone more "respectable" who fits their standards, Teddie disparagingly comments "Not someone who wears a disco ball to dinner" .We're supposed to see that the sisters are overreacting and Princess is actually a nice girl because she prescribes to the stereotypes. What is she wasn't a good cook? What if all the extravagance was her idea, rather than her parents'? Would the film still want us to sympathize with her?

The main romance seemed very forced to me. Teddie ends up with a guy even though they were basically friends the whole movie. She had to borrow money from him in order to go home for the wedding, and he only agreed if he could come and if she introduced him as her boyfriend.They mostly have comic relief moments together, such as trying to prove that Princess' family's spa secretly had prostitution since they advertised a "happy ending." She thought of herself as better than him because she came from a well-off family and she had years of education and advanced degrees. She had a college degree in teaching and it didn't matter if she was a maid; she still believed she was meant for more and didn't really internalize that identity. Then she finds him playing with orphans and discovers he was in an orphanage and somehow that's a turning point that helps bring them together. There wasn't even a romantic vibe between them. It just felt like the movie used a sob story to get them together. She could have learned to respect this guy as an actual friend by seeing his struggles and how people come from different walks of life but they're still worthy of respect. It's as if the movie couldn't make it possible for her to suddenly embrace a new point of view unless it comes by way of a love interest. They could have just found common ground and remained friends, and with Teddie starting to this guy as an equal, rather than someone who is beneath her.

Similarly, Bobbie is pressured by her boyfriend to get married within a certain time frame . It's as if their relationship has to have the "married" label on it to be valid. She obviously loved him and wanted to be with him, since she wanted to continue the relationship and brought him with her to attend her brother's wedding. She was unsure of marriage and especially with a daughter who didn't like her and wasn't used to her.

If you watch this movie, you'll definitely get a sense of the values of the people creating it and the ideals that they want to impose on the audience, and the assumptions they assume the audience will make based on the societal norms already instilled in them.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1848
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

303948
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

190567
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

92735
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

286102

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.

172246

Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

114736
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Take A Look At The Extravagant Lane Woods Jewelry Collection For Valentine's Gift Ideas

So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection

335093

Just like diamonds are a girl's best friend, so are pearls, rubies, gold, emeralds, and any type of luxurious jewelry you can get your hands on! A woman is incomplete without a piece of jewelry on her and it is a gorgeous accessory required for all occasions. So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments