I am a failure as a child of the nineties, because until a few days ago, I had never seen James Cameron’s 1997 classic, Titanic. (You know James Cameron, the one who directed Avatar? Anyone who thinks that directionality of recognition is odd is officially old.) I liked the movie quite a lot. There’s something about Cameron’s willingness to push film-making further than it has ever been pushed that allows the 3 hour length, the oh-so-perfect love story that also manages to be a commentary on class and the saccharine lines of adoration that the romantic leads speak to each other to work within this context of overindulgence on every level. Much has been said about almost every aspect of this movie, from the enormity of the budget, to the selection of the cast, and even to various social issues, such as class and wealth. A feminist analysis, however, has been much lacking. The only vaguely related pieces I could find were written by disgruntled Men’s Rights Activists looking for any reason to hate women and finding, of all things, “women and children first” to be the most egregious example of feminism run amok they had ever seen. Now, the movie takes place in 1912, before the modern feminist movement had really taken hold, but I guess those suffragists (no, I don’t call them suffragettes) were just going crazy, demanding to be saved from boats and all.
Anyway, what I see nothing of at all, despite the fact that in one viewing, it smacked me in the face with its obviousness, is a treatment of Rose Dewitt Bukater, later Rose Dawson’s, incredible sexual agency. Like, seriously. Lady has some game.
(Note: there are clips from the movie preceding every sub-point of analysis, and some of them are NSFW/generally graphic. To be perfectly honest, much of the writing is graphic as well. You have been warned)