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Gender Roles in the Big Lebowski

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Gender Roles in The Big Lebowski

Throughout history, masculinity has been defined through men who are not just strong physically, but mentally as well. Traditionally, men have been expected to settle down, have a family and provide for their family through an honest, hard-working profession. Although much different from men, women are expected to live up to traditional expectations as well. This would include getting married, having children, devoting most of their time to raising their children in addition to cooking, cleaning, etc. In the film The Big Lebowski, gender roles cannot be assumed. Throughout the film, Maude displays power over The Dude. This is particularly evident in two scenes. When The Dude meets Maude in her home for the first time, and when Maude tricks The Dude into having sex with her so she can conceive a child she is exerting her will over him. While Maude exhibits a dominant form of feminism throughout the film, it is The Dude’s lack of masculinity that allows Maude to control him. Both Maude and The Dude defy the traditional standards applied to men and women. There are numerous points of analysis one can use to make claims about a film. This includes much of the dialogue between Maude and The Dude in the scenes previously addressed as well as other elements of the film that may go unseen unless viewed analytically. The Big Lebowski is a film that implicitly presents Maude using her dominant form of feminism in order to control The Dude. This is epitomized in the scene in which The Dude meets Maude in her home for the first time and she comes swinging in on ropes, swinging her arms with paintbrushes in hand, as paint splashes onto the canvas. There are a few elements in this scene that are representative of Maude’s feminism. At the very beginning of the scene, the camera is focused on a wet spot on the floor of a dark,…...

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