Feminism In Alfred Hitchcock's Film The Birds

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In Alfred Hitchcock’s film “The Birds,” the idea of feminism can be said to have a strong impact and importance throughout the film. This idea is brought out from Hitchcock’s depiction of the women in the film. It can be said that Hitchcock is against feminism from his metaphorical use of the bird attacks to punish the women for stepping into male realms. In the analysis of feminism among the female characters, I will use mainly the characters Melanie Daniels and Lydia Brennan since they are the main ones in showing a contrast relating to feminism. To make clear, feminism can be simply thought of as the idea of women being equal to men on social, political, and economic grounds. The idea of feminism displayed in the film comes mainly from …show more content…
At the beginning of the film, when Mitch pranks her, she seeks to combat Mitch’s prank with a prank of her own when she tracks down his license plate. The idea of feminism is clearly seen here as she refuses to be a passive woman, easily controlled by males. Hitchcock first punishes Melanie for this nature when a sea gull attacks her while in the boat. Melanie also comes out of the female realm when “she shrugs off her maternal duties and ventures up the hill with Mitch instead of staying behind and taking care of the children.” Her final trespass into the male realm is shown during the final events of the film when she goes into the attic when she hears noises. Instead of calling Mitch to check out the noises, she goes by herself and ends up being attacked by the birds, leaving her in a state which makes the viewer see that she has been forced back into the realm of her own …show more content…
Hitchcock in some sense uses Lydia to show his stand against feminism. Lydia can be said to be the more conventional female than Melanie. Unlike, she plays a role that stays within the realm of the femininity accepted by Hitchcock and doesn’t transgress into any male roles. Unlike Melanie who is very independent, Lydia comes off as a needy female. She seems to reject every girl that comes into Mitch’s life out of fear of being left alone. Her wardrobe also doesn’t in any way create a sense of deviance into a masculine role. Throughout the film, she is always seen in traditional feminine clothing, being traditional skirts, blouses and sweaters. Through this choice of Wardrobe, Hitchcock presents an image of her that mirrors the other women on screen with the exception of Annie. She also plays the role of a maternal figure very well as she is deeply worried about Cathy’s safety during the bird attacks. In the scene where Melanie brings tea to her room, she constantly and hysterically asks Melanie if she thinks Cathy is alright. She also shows deep concerns with Mitch’s love life as she interrogates him about Melanie. Hitchcock shows Lydia’s passiveness, contrasting to Melanie, when she quells her interrogation after Mitch tells her he can handle Melanie by himself. Hitchcock strongly shows his view of a woman having to know her place from this scene. Hitchcock’s

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