Pretty woman was shot in the beginning of the 90s but it is considered one of the landmarks of the genre.

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Pretty woman was shot in the beginning of the 90s but it is considered one of the landmarks of the genre. The main character, Vivian, is a prostitute but she is not the typical kind that is usually portrayed in films. She does not look very comfortable with her profession and she acts very motherly towards her friend. By some twist of fate, she meets Edward, a businessman in town on business who gets lost and she helps him to reach his hotel. After spending a night together, Edward asks her to stay with him for the duration of his trip to accompany him in his business dinners. She accepts and the week begins. The two characters bond throughout this week and, of course, in the end they get together. There are a few problems with the stereotypical ideas that are being promoted.

Although this is a film with a female central figure, this is not a feminist film. In the first scene, there is a man performing a trick with coins. After the woman does not guess where he put the coin, he says: “I would not trust you with the real gold, that’s why this is worth just a penny” meaning that the coins he used are not real. I found this patronising towards women and their ability to handle money. This is closely linked to the stereotypical idea of women as consumers only and not very good with budgeting. The idea of women consumers is reinforced throughout the film with Vivian’s trips to Rodeo Drive, the Mecca of shoppers. Commodities are being exchanged for money and Vivian used her body as currency, which is something the sales women in the first clothes store she went would not accept. Hilary Radner wrote about Vivian’s exchange in her essay “Pretty is as pretty does: Free enterprise and the marriage plot.” She argues:

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In an era in which more that fifty percent of all women work outside the home, the 1980s and 1990s have seen the intensification of this new femininity that identifies itself within the public sphere. This new femininity defines itself and its pleasures (its libidinal economy) on a marketplace in which her capital is constituted by her body and her sexual expertise, which she herself exchanges. She is not exchanged by men, but acts as her own agent….

                                                                (1993, p.59)

Which is why she is trying to convince herself that she is truly her own agent when she ...

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