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There is something wrong when someone thinks that this: “If you wish to practice the art of fiction, to be the equal of a masculine author, experience is vital. Your horizons must be…widened.” is the best line in Becoming Jane.
Why? Tom Lefroy was just so fucking creepy and skevy in that scene.
OMG PREACH. It actually might be the WORST line. A follower last May asked me to go into detail about my hatred of Becoming Jane. Here it is again for all my new followers.
I really dislike Becoming Jane because, simply put, it is sexist. The film suggests that Jane Austen could not have possibly written her works without the help of a man and ‘real experience.’ Calling what LeFroy has ‘experience’ and what Jane has ‘lack of experience’ completely delegitimizes the lifestyle women have been forced to live for centuries within the domestic sphere.
The film displays her being upset by one man insulting her work. It also shows LeFroy teaching her about literature, something that the real Austen never had a problem with learning on her own. Her letters and books display no such prudishness when it comes to sexuality found in novels of the time.
The film is basically fan fiction that tries to attribute Austen’s genius and talent to what in real life was a two-month flirtation. It doesn’t occur to people that perhaps Jane CHOSE to be an ‘old maid’ (both she and Cassandra dressed like ‘old maids’ in their 20s because they WANTED that status).
And I wish I could like it as a film and see it as separate from Jane Austen, but I still think the plot is sexist whether the main character is really Jane Austen or NOT. The ending of the film treats Jane and Lefroy as if they always regretted never marrying and hints that Lefroy named his daughter after Jane (when most likely he and HIS WIFE named their daughter after Mrs. Lefroy’s mother, Jane).
The film, while it might have good performances, gorgeous cinematography and beautiful (if inaccurate) costume design, still perpetuates the disgusting myth that women need men and that single women are cursed and unfulfilled. Ugh ugh and MORE FUCKING UGH!
Also, Austen scholar Deirdre Lynch discusses our obsession with Austen’s romantic ‘experience.’: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2007/08/see_jane_elope.2.html
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