CMU Running Head: COMMUNICATION QUESTION Communications Question Name Tutor Course Date 1 COMMUNICATION QUESTION 2 Communications Question The film Maid is set in the American context detailing the magnitude of abusive relationships, family instability, and economic hardship. It is a limited series by Smith Metzler, which he adapted from Stephanie Land’s memoir work, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. I found the film to among the most heartbreaking that I have watched. It traces the story of Alex, a female character who escapes a physical and emotionally abusive relationship with her husband, her struggles to raise Maddy, their daughter, and court cases for custody, and her eventual breakthrough after winning a scholarship. The following discussion summarizes the Maid in the context of various theoretical approaches. Episode One A young mother, Alex Russell, lives with a dream of becoming an author in Washington leaves her alcoholic husband, Sean, late in the night. She leaves with her two years old daughter Maddy and without a place to take refuge or money, the two sleep in care (Netflix, 2021). A social worker informs her that she needs evidence of two pay stubs to qualify for government houses. The only job she gets is cleaning for wealthy people, and the first client she gets is Regina. This episode illustrates Sandra Bem’s scale of masculine and feminine identification. This framework demonstrates that some individuals have balanced levels of masculinity and femininity (Ruler, 2018). It considers such individuals as androgynous since they possess relatively high scores of both scales. For example, Alex takes the initiative to raise Maddy single-handedly despite her blurry work history. Presumably, she depends on Sean to keep up with Maddy, and after the separation, she challenges the stereotypical gender role of a man as the family provider. Alex finds a job to find means for taking care of herself and her daughter. COMMUNICATION QUESTION 3 Episode Two Sean files a court case for Maddy’s custody and wins temporary custody. Alex takes refuge at a domestic violence shelter where she meets Daniella, who learns that Regina had not paid Alex for the cleaning job. Daniella helps Alex take Regina’s dog to compel her to settle the bill for Alexa’s job. Daniella depicts strong feminist behaviors by advocating for Alex’s full payment rights (Netflix, 2021). She considers Regina’s act of denying Alex her payment a form of human oppression that needs immediate action. The fact that Sean wins temporary custody for Maddy is questionable and a peak of antifeminism. The court would be expected to thoroughly investigate the cause of separation before granting him the child’s custody. Episode Three Alex finds Sean intoxicated and lost on a beach where she reminds him of the parenting responsibility. She takes him home, and on the next day, Sean drops the court cases and agrees to share custody with Alex, and the two move in together in a subsidized house that Paula, Alex’s mother, had painted (Netflix, 2021). Based on Schafer and Olsen’s five facets of intimacy, the couple’s relationship goes through the first four phases. Their feelings of closeness evidence the emotional intimacy that ushers in social intimacy of befriending one another (Rains et al., 2018). The third stage is sexual intimacy, as evidenced in Alex and Sean sharing affection and sexual closeness followed by intellectual intimacy. The two share ideas on living together again and sharing custody of their child. Episode Four Alex’s boss, Regina, returns home late at the time and shares with her that her husband is filing for divorce. Regina continues to inform Alex that she has been unable to conceive, COMMUNICATION QUESTION 4 although together with her husband had a child through surrogacy (Netflix, 2021). However, the husband was adamant that she needed a biological child with Regina and her failure to conceive was the motive behind the divorce. This episode illustrates intersectionality and gendered communication and issues. Alex understands that people have unique experiences of oppression and discrimination. Regina undergoes gender-based discrimination leading to divorce because she could not conceive. Episode Five After struggling to raise Maddy’s daycare tuition, Alex takes her to Hank’s house, who had remarried. Alex continues with cleaning errands in the home of Hank’s neighbor, where she recalled that she had fled with her mother Paula from Hank since he was physically abusive (Netflix, 2021). She immediately removes Maddy from Hank’s home and takes her to Paula, who lives with Basil, her boyfriend. Small things stood out to me like the way that abuse is a continuous cycle throughout the duration of the show. You can see that abuse is passed through generations. Additionally, there’s financial abuse where it talks about the main character taking away her credit card when she missed a payment. There was so much red tape throughout the show when the main character was trying to get anything done or start government programs which continues the cycle of abuse or poverty which I thought was emphasized throughout the show. The episode highlights gender violence at women’s expense. The societal challenge arises from gender inequality, power abuse, and harmful norms (Ruler, 2018). Examples of beliefs like women and children are a man’s possession and should be controlled aggravate gender violence in society. Episode Six COMMUNICATION QUESTION 5 Alexa finds an apartment on Fisher Island where she can live to earn residential qualifications for applying for a scholarship. The landlord agrees to cover half of the rent in exchange for Alex’s landscaping services (Netflix, 2021). She had previously struggled to get a new residence that could accept government vouchers without success. The scene indicates systemic gender bias since Alex was rejected for subsidized housing due to a lack of pay stubs. It seems that gender bias is institutionalized in Alex’s society, and women bear the brunt of this vice (Rains et al., 2018). The challenge results in unequal treatment between men and women in the film. I also find systematic gender bias when Alex is criticized for bringing Maddy to court when she did not have child care available to her. She was commented on for her clothing choices when they were what was available to her because Alex did not have extra monies to buy fancy cloths. Episode Seven Yolanda terminates Alex from the cleaning job, and Basil disappears with her living trailer after renting out Paula’s family home (Netflix, 2021). Both Paula and Alex are now homeless, and Sean joins the two to track Basil to a casino. They discover that he is a con and addicted to gambling, and Paula’s house was facing foreclosure after he lost all her mortgage in gambling. Although, gender shapes the religious meaning of materiality and space, no evidence of any character in this episode or others in Maid turning to religion for spiritual support or comfort. Episode Eight Alex gets a call from the University of Montana with the good news that she can reapply for a creative writing scholarship at no cost. She uses Regina’s computer to submit her COMMUNICATION QUESTION 6 applications, but her employer Yolanda fires her from the cleaning job for alleged collusion with business (Netflix, 2021). This episode emphasizes biological assignment. Ever since Alex left Sean, she has been working as a cleaner despite the emerging evidence that she qualifies for university admission and, therefore, is suitable for other clerical apart from cleaning jobs. Episode Nine Hank visits Alex at Sean’s trailer at night for dinner. Alex attempts to leave, but Sean forcefully commands her to join the table in Hank’s midst, who does not intervene (Netflix, 2021). Soon after, Sean is fired from his bar attending job and smashes a vase that misses Alex with a whisker. Alex finds Maddy hiding inside a cupboard, and the two flee on foot. The episode emphasizes the persistent theme of gender violence in Maid. The violence in this context maintains structural gender inequalities that have become a norm in society (Ruler, 2018). Women are at the receiving end of gender violence, as evidenced in Paula’s experience with Hank and now their daughter Alex who Sean abuses. Another thing that stood out to me is how many people go back to their abusers which was illustrated throughout the cycle of people who came in and out of the shelter. I think this issue emphasize the larger goal of structural gender inequality at the expense of women. Episode Ten Hank is tasked to testify that Sean emotionally abused Alex, but he refuses. Instead, he emphasizes with Sean for struggling with alcoholism, who admits that the issue compromised his ability to take care of Maddy (Netflix, 2021). He then withdraws the court case and signs Maddy’s full custody to Alex. This episode depicts the intensity of toxic masculinity and masculine oppression, instead of Hunk sympathizing with Sean instead of Alex as the victim of COMMUNICATION QUESTION 7 violence. He depicts his complicit with traditional male gender traits of using violence and aggression to control others. The fact that Hank witnesses Sean’s aggression against her daughter illustrates the depth of male masculinity in the presented society. Another significant pick on traditional gender role is the scene where Regina asked the main character if she knew how to read. I found the question offensive because I believe Regina judge Alex based on her physical appearance. Some characters stand to challenge traditional male/female roles, which I think is a reflection of modern society. For example, Regina was a workaholic who made it clear that she did not feel a maternal need for a baby and felt somewhat out of place when she adopted a baby because her true desire was to work. COMMUNICATION QUESTION 8 References Netflix. (2021). Maid. Victoria, British Columbia Rains, A. S. Tsetsi, E., Akers, C., Pavlich, A. C. & Appelbaum, M. (2018). Factors influencing the quality of social support messages produced online: The role of responsibility for distress and others’ support attempts. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0093650218796371 Ruler, B. (2018). Communication theory: An underrated pillar on which strategic communication rests. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 12(4): 367-381. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1553118X.2018.1452240Sandra Bems Scale Anti Feminist and Biological Behavior Discussion
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