December 4, 2014
The Ever-Changing Role of Men and Women Throughout the 1990’s divorce started to increase, and became more common in American households. Kids continue to face the issues of divorce, such as custody, and other complications in finding a compromise amongst parents. In the film “Mrs. Doubtfire,” directed by Chris Columbus, the director shows the stereotypical role of a men and woman in a relationship. Daniel, in order to gain partial custody of his children, is forced to become a better fit father. The film is set in San Francisco, California in the 1990s. During this time, divorce was at an all-time high of 4.7 percent (U.S Census). The household is run by the father, Daniel Hillard, at the start of the film; along with the mother, Miranda Hillard, resented as the breadwinner of the family. From start to finish the film depicts a family going through a divorce, this highlights many of the generic stereotypes and gender roles that are, and have been, a president lifestyle choice of many Americans. After the divorce, Daniel later becomes Euphegenia Doubtfire, a complete character from his imagination in order to visit with his children on a regular basis.
In the film Daniel Hillard, played by Robin Williams, is a loving, silly, and carefree father, whose whimsical tendencies unfortunately bring on a divorce between Daniel and his wife. Leading up to the divorce, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, was Daniel’s decision to go against his wife and throw Chris, their twelve year old son, a birthday party regardless of the fact that he was failing out of his classes. Miranda came home to absolute chaos; between a petting zoo, police officers and nosy neighbors she had had enough with his antics and childish ways. Daniel showed many qualities stereotypically deemed for women amongst our society. Daniel quitting his job over a moral reason and suggesting to Miranda that they go to therapy rather than getting a divorce. Miranda played the dominant man and didn’t want to go to therapy, saying the relationship is already over and she didn’t love Daniel anymore. This suggests that Daniel was more emotionally driven than Miranda was. Typically, the mother is the one crying, however; several times Daniel becomes very emotional over his kids and cries. Although Daniel displays many strong female attributes throughout the film; for example, they repeatedly make references to the stereotype that men cannot cook. After the divorce, Daniel is faced with the challenge of cooking on his own. He stereotypically doesn’t know how to cook, but with his feminine qualities, he stays up all night watching the cooking channel, and taking notes. By the end of the film he is able to cook very well, and even makes a beautiful looking dinner for the family.
Miranda Hillard, played by Sally Field, is the mother who has all the stereotypical qualities of the man in a relationship. She is the “bread winner” working a high end job, which is causing her to be under a lot of stress. Her husband is bouncing around jobs contributing what seems to be nothing other than heartache and grief. Along with being cold to Daniel, she is known as the strict parent. She always has to lay down the law and disciplines to her kids when they are acting up. A major male stereotype that Miranda has is that she, in fact, cannot cook. The only meal she begins to prepare, near the end of the film, is that of a quick meal consisting of frozen French fries and hamburger patties. The only vegetable is corn with little to no nutrition. She means no harm by this ill prepared meal, but as a single working parent it is what she can provide under time constraint and stress from work. She is not an ill fit mother, she is simply overwhelmed by her professional priorities, as well as being a caretaker. Miranda demonstrates a few other characteristics that liken her to male figures in society; she is the