Anchorman is a crude comedy that is set in the 1970’s and involves a variety of social issues including that of gender inequality. In short, Ron Burgundy is a semi-famous anchor in San Diego, and along with his news team, portray a stereotypical view of the ‘alpha male’ of this time. The 4 men in the news team are arrogant, confident and aggressive in their behaviour, whereas women are portrayed, simply, as a means for a mans enjoyment.
At first glance, this film can be seen as projecting this issue of gender inequality in a positive light, as it shows an independent and strong woman breaking through the stereotypes to strive towards, and succeed in her career goals. However, upon further investigation this is not the case.
One of the first scenes of the film that shows a woman that is not dressed in skimpy clothing nor is a woman gawking at the men, is that of when Veronica Corningstone enters the news building. Before her appearance, there are conversations around diversity, and one of the 4 members of the news team says ‘what in the hell’s diversity?’. This comment in itself exhibits the utterly ill-informed views of a woman’s right to equality in this time. Throughout the film similar comments are discussed that further undermine women, but in particular, Veronica Corningstone.
Here are just a few…
Not only does Corningstone have to deal with being seen as nothing more than a ‘piece of meat’, her credibility to report of hard-hitting news stories is not taken seriously. Corningstone is repeatedly given the ‘fluff pieces’, whereas Burgundy is given the harder-hitting news stories. The key issue Veronica faced within the film is that of the ‘glass ceiling’ notion. Corningstone aspires to be an anchor, however, is hindered by this ‘glass ceiling’ of stereotypical judgements of women’s capabilities, that serves as an invisible barrier to her success as a journalist.
The film also appears to take the concept of a ‘traditional love story’ head on with its plot twists. At first glance, Corningstone is again portrayed as an unconventional female character as she disregards the men’s advances towards her time and time again, however, after a short while, the conventional ‘love story’ plot takes place and Corningstone is captivated by Burgundy’s charm. Corningstone’s character then quickly changes to becoming the traditional ’emotional’ female love interest, despite her previous powerful and strong characteristics. This portrays yet another stereotype, that being, women losing all independency when they fall for a man.
I have not seen the sequel of Anchorman, however, have discovered through conducting research that this film captures a refreshing look at feminism, and promotes gender equality much greater than the first. If anyone has seen the film, please feel free to give me an insight into the films take on gender equality.
I understand that the stereotypes in this film are over exaggerated for our enjoyment, however, the key issues discussed are still evident it todays society. Women, to this day, are underrepresented in the news room, and are excessively given ‘softer news’ stories, and are generally not referred to as credible sources of hard-hitting news stories. It is awful to think that in such a rapidly advancing society, women are still portrayed as being lesser to men.
Overall, despite the attempt to bring light to the serious issues of feminism faced at the time, Anchorman hinders, rather than helps these issues with its extensive amount of stereotypical jokes and crude humour.