As I’ve noted before, Bletchley Park’s female recruits were pulled from “old girls networks” from colleges that women attended. Female undergraduate students, pulled out of their studies for the good of the war effort, into secret code-breaking work. Though there were many other people who were recruited in irregular ways into Bletchley Park, the probability is that Peggy was a student who a recruiter heard about from another student (or professor, or family friend even). Peggy’s way into Bletchley, and from there, into the SOE was greased by knowing the right people. By going to the right schools. By being from the right family. By having the right brother.
Because make no mistake, a woman going to university in that time period, to Newnham or Girton Colleges, was a privilege. And it’s a privilege that Peggy has because her family is well-off and likely well-connected and because Peggy is intelligent and ambitious. That it was a privilege denied to most other women is made clear and explicit by Agnes being denied the same opportunity, despite her incredible brilliance, because she is a woman.
Peggy gets to go to college and become a code-breaker and then a spy because she had the opportunity to do so. Agnes, living in poverty, has no such chance, though she “defies categorization.”
It’s an uncomfortable message, to be sure. It reminds us that successful women, women who defy the constructed limitations placed upon them by patriarchy are usually the ones who can get away with “gender inappropriate” behaviour. Peggy could play at being a knight and rescuing the princess and get only a mild (and mostly amused) rebuke. Agnes gets told she should smile to please her “Uncle” Bill and when she doesn’t confirm to their gendered expectations of behaviour, gets sneered at and called “weird.” While Peggy gets to go to college, Agnes is rejected. While Peggy can learn to break codes and join the SOE, Agnes has to smile to please men to get ahead in life. While Peggy can choose to reject marriage to live the life she is better suited for, Agnes cannot.
Peggy’s break up with Fred is framed as her rejecting a typical, if ill-suited for her, life for a woman of her time period. Peggy goes on and becomes a legend in the intelligence field. She breaks down barriers and knocks through obstacles because she is amazing at her job, hard-working and smart, but also because she had the right encouragement and the right opportunities at the right times.
Agnes doesn’t. Agnes/Whitney is an uncomfortable reminder that having talent and intelligence isn’t enough for many poor women. According to this Atlantic article, Wealthy Women Can Afford to Reject Marriage, but Poor Women Can’t, even now, poorer women don’t really have the same choices as wealthy women, who can afford to reject societal expectations.
For a poor woman, deciding whether to get married or not will be a big part of shaping her economic future. For a wealthier woman, deciding whether to get married is a choice about independence, lifestyle, and, at times, “fighting the patriarchy.” There’s a cognitive dissonance in Ehrenreich’s straight-up dismissal of the economic benefits of marriage, because the statistics tell an awkward truth: Financially, married women tend to fare much better than unmarried women.
And in Whitney’s case, it works. Presumably, it is her marriage to Calvin Chadwick that finally gives her the opportunity to do the work she’s always wanted to. She finally gets to be a scientist and the work she does is what puts Isodyne on the map. But it works because Whitney becomes a movie star, trading on her good looks, like her mother told her to and smiling when men ask her to. She finally gets her break, but only by playing patriarchy’s game.
That’s why her final moment in 2x04 is so fascinating. She reveals a cracked and damaged visage, the power underneath oozing out. No longer does she have to conform to other people’s expectations, she has the power of Zero Matter coursing under her skin. It’s destroying her looks, but she doesn’t need them for power anymore. She has what she always had, her intelligence, and now, she has the power of Zero Matter as well. She will never need to smile when a man asks her again.
“We’re done,” Louis announces. He stands up from the sofa, causing the blankets to slip to the floor, and heads to the kitchen with an empty mug. He sets it on the counter and puts the kettle on, and then rests his hands on the worktop, his back to the door.
Take a look at your ingredients list before getting started. List out your correspondences. With you correspondences fresh in your mind you are able to infuse the magic with the flavor with little to no effort.
Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall was incredible & so many people enjoyed it. Spike Lee did a great job again with his second MJ doc. He showed how MJ learned from other great artist & producers but took it to a whole new level. MJ’s music is timeless & Rodney Jerkins was right when he said this is only the beginning for OTW. After already selling over 30 million copies worldwide since 1979 before the doc aired, it’s now in the Top 25 of the US itunes charts.
It really was. This has been Spike’s best so far. I put this above BAD 25 and that’s saying a lot because I absolutely LOVED BAD 25. Not only was the documentary great as far as giving the testimonials and foundation from what lead to Off the Wall but it was also entertaining humor-wise. I really enjoyed it and I would highly recommend that everyone watches it. It shows the genius that was the great Michael Jackson. Like Greg Philliganes said, “Without Off the Wall, there would be no Thriller.” I mean…I just don’t even know what else to say. Spike did a phenomenal job. God bless the child.
I feel like all Calum girls are absolutely in love with Calum but not in a clingy “he better not date someone ever” sort of way but in a “let’s appreciate literally every square inch of his body and personality because he deserves every bit of kindness and more” sort of way and idk I just think that’s so nice