Zero Dark Thirty

In Kathryn Bigelow’s Best Picture Nominee of 2013 Zero Dark Thirty, the hunt for the international terrorist named Osama Bin Laden extended over a decade past the national crises of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon attack. The movie takes place on a number of unidentified American military camps in the Middle East, more specifically in and around Pakistan and Afghanistan9, and within the American CIA division and other terrorist tracking organizations. The main character, Jessica Chastain, playing the investigator and interrogator of the search for Bin Laden, Maya, begins her search for a find a location of Bin Laden’s location and how to verify it. She begins with intelligence beyond what most of her coworkers actually appear to understand but because she is the rookie and because she simply is not a male, she gets little recognition or acceptance at first, but diligently does the work provided to her by superiors while working on her own lead off to the side. Once she gains traction into her lead, her superiors and coworkers begin to buy into her thoughts and, with the exception of the highest authority figures initially, the lead is brought into play and the CIA goes brings their best to take out who only Maya believes is actually Osama Bin Laden. The situation in the movie, with one of the newer employees, Maya, diving off on a lead that is not of big concern to the CIA, being the only one that is on to a significant lead, but is constantly told that she is wrong or not given a second look because of her rankings in the CIA was what created the entire plot. The issue in Zero Dark Thirty was well stated by an authority within the CIA when he conversed with a leader of the search for terrorist by asking “how do you evaluate the risk of not doing something?” Maya had set out enough information and evidence that Osama Bin Laden was inside of the suspected building, but because she was not the one in charge and some could argue that because she was a woman her advice was not taken immediately and delayed until the CIA gave into her persistence on Bin Laden’s location.
Some of the themes that seemed the most apparent to me while watching the movie was that people in higher positions are usually not the smartest of the entire population but someone slightly below them doing all of the work and pushing the operations forward. In this case it was Maya digging deep into evidence that was disregarded by everyone else while her superiors took the credit when she was right, but most often believed that Maya was looking into useless information. Along with the superior situation, another theme that appeared was quite simply the lack of women within the entire movie. There were two primary female characters, and each time they were in the presence of men their seats at the table were in the back and their voice was disregarded initially until deep into the movie. This situation did however add to the plot and character development, which did help to make the viewer become invested into the movie.
When Zero Dark Thirty was released in 2012, it came at the heels of the location and execution of Osama Bin Laden, with American citizens chomping at the bit to learn of his death. The film was nominated for five different Oscar Awards, winning the Best Achievement in Sound Editing, and nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, winning the Best Performance for an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. The Director, Kathryn Bigelow, was coming off of her Best Picture Oscar Award winner The Hurt Locker, another film depicting war in Afghanistan, and looked to continue her prominence in Hollywood. With The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman ever to win the Oscar for Best Director. Not only did she win it, but it came at the expense of her ex-husband James Cameron’s movie Avatar. It is also interesting to note that Zero Dark Thirty won eight awards from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, giving the award for both Best Director and Best Female Director. With the portrayal of the main character it was easily summed up by saying that during the opening scene in the interrogation room when she removes her ski mask and it is revealed that she has a pale, milky innocence and bright blue eyes, thin and somewhat frail looking. When I think of a protagonist, I think of a person with a naturally big stature that makes everyone look up to them, without a hint of fear in their eyes. When Maya reveled her face in the room, it was hard to believe that this natural looking lady was going to be the one that would exert authority over the detainee’s. Once we learn that Maya is fierce and speaks like an authority, we come into contact with another female member of the CIA that begins their relationship fighting against each other because of their dueling positions. There was an instance that foreshadowed the loss of the ability to interrogate detainee’s by the male lead actor, Dan, when he tells Maya that he doesn’t want to be the one with a water bucket or chain in his hand when the program and cut. Surely enough, Obama declares that the United States does not torture people and effectively cuts the entire process from use. The only reason the youth might be into this movie is for the final scene where the Navy SEAL’s go into Osama Bin Laden’s house and end his life, but the youth today would not be uninterested because most of them are now born after 9/11 happened.
This film is almost completely accurate when it comes to the process of the attaining of information to go seek and destroy Bin Laden, but the lingo and actual conversations were exaggerated and detailed further than what would have actually happened. In class we have discussed how women have been left out and not given the opportunities but I never put it into play within actual big business and how individuals’ actions come off as. While watching Zero Dark Thirty it was almost too obvious that women were pushed aside and disregarded when it came time to make a choice. Spoken opinions were overlooked and authority was never given to them while there was a male in the room capable of doing the same task. When a female would get loud and feisty during a conversation all of the men would tell her to calm down and relax because it was not a place for a women to be showing this open aggressiveness, while men could yell face to face and nothing was to be said. During times of immediate crises it shows that the women have no plan to escape and almost duck their heads and wait for a male figure to come and rescue her, just like a woman had been portrayed in numerous historical movies and beliefs. Every time someone gives credit to Maya, even herself, a male steps up and declares that anyone could have done it, or that she was doing nothing more than her job and should not be too prideful of herself. Something else worth noting is that at the beginning of the film the only people to respect Maya or another female figure is the detainee’s. The American men just nodded them off but the prisoners, people fighting for something, almost looked for sympathy from the women because they both looked as if they were fighting for something. This is just as in history when the African-American population, a population in a big struggle, tried to join the fight with the women to help themselves out of the hole that white American put into place. It was a fight conjoined like those of women prior to the Second World War where white women helped out black women to organize their own system to stand up into the public arena. No one would listen to the women in the role making actual leadership choices, which has been the reason that women have not been within the political system as much as almost everyone would wish and why more prominent female world leaders have not become natural. All of the men believe that women can’t create the work that the men can.
The primary weakness of this movie was that it tried to take over ten years of history and gathering information and squeeze it into a two and a half hour movie with the battle scene showing how Bin Laden was taken down. The buildup lasted for the first four-fifths of the movie and it could get a viewer to fall asleep easily. The strengths of the movie were plentiful however, creating an emotional attachment to the main character, displaying an almost historically accurate process, and developing the story plot that reflects the mindsets of the normal American. You would see Maya finding something more in the evidence box and you would get excited for her only to see another setback hit her investigation. When she lost her friend and coworker you wanted to sit next to her in the corner of her workspace where she was drinking and crying because you felt so bad for her loss and you wished that there would be some good news but only more bad news came and set her back further. The accuracy of the movie and the real life effect it had through the 9/11 phone calls, the speech by President Barack Obama outlawing the torture of detainee’s by American forces, and the different terrorist attacks along the way including the hotel bombing, London street explosion, and the attack on the CIA agent, Maya. As stated previously, there were an abundant amount of connections to how women were viewed and handled in the workforce, especially at such a high level within the CIA.

Cott, Nancy F. “From Ballots to Breadlines.” In No Small Courage: A History of Women in the United States. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.


Who Buys Your Bread?

October 28th 1939

This depression has been dragging on much longer than anyone had anticipated and it is creating strife within the social system, the family, and now even with the roles of the men and the women in the household.

It’s hard to believe that at this time, it has become easier for a woman to be hired for a job than it is for a man. At this time in the American workforce, the women are entering the workforce at a rate twice that of men.[1] Women Factory WorkersThe men have always been the ones that would leave in the morning to get out into the field or to get to work so that at the end of the week there would be enough money to provide for his family while the wife would stay at home and take care of the house and the family. Now, the women in the family are leaving their household and headed off to the workplace so that they can bring home the money to supply for their family at the end of the week. This is a complete role reversal of the way the American family has been functioning for decades now and has thrown a kink into the family structure.

The families in America began changing structurally because of the economic and societal conditions. First off, the average age of marriage has been pushed back a few years because two young individuals did not have the job or the money to support anyone other than themselves. The divorce rate surprisingly has dropped during this period too, but when you look at the figures it becomes apparent that divorce was not as common because it cost money to file all of the legal papers and court dates that it would cost too much for the low income couple to file for the divorce.[2] Even though these families were staying together it did not mean that everything was same rate as it was prior to the depression. For the first time in American history the birthrate was lower than the replacement level because there was simply not enough money to raise children.[3] There was a strain on the normal lives of an American family and it caused society as a whole to open up to different option that were not in the norm according to the past years of American lifestyle.

With women entering the workforce during the depression, its offset created some stir among the men that actually filed laws within to help keep the men in position of being the one to bring the money to the family table. As of now, there are twenty six states that actually outlaw married to be employed.[4] This is actually quite unfortunate, because it was the married women that had to support their family with children, while the single women that do not have to look out for anyone besides themselves. It would actually be more beneficial if we let the married women work because they would be able to support their family but, it is still the duty of the mother to be the one at home that raises the children and maintains the house so that the husband is able to come home to a safe and fitting environment. The reason these laws have been passed in the recent years is because they claim that a married woman should have a husband that would effectively take care of her so she does not need to be out in the workforce because it would be taking away the jobs of any men looking for work, especially the married me looking to take care of their family.[5]

The women have recently countered this argument stating that these jobs they are being hired for are jobs that first off would not be suitable for a male to accept because it is below their paygrade and secondly,  because it was a job that women did and not something that men actually do. The jobs women claim as their own are the following; salesgirls, beauticians, schoolteachers, secretaries, and nurses.[6] These professions are not necessarily excluding of all men, but the women dominate these professions by up to ninety nine percent in any given region of the state.

When the depression hit it ravaged the working industry causing men to flood the job market, and these industries, such as industry and manufacturing, could not be picked up by women it made the job market slim pickings for these newly unemployed men.facts-about-the-depression The job market for the women actually did little to decrease in numbers so there actually ended up being more opportunity for women to find a job. What this situation has done is create the roles within society of what the difference between a women’s job and a man’s job is.[7] We all know that as women gain these opportunities it actually hurts the female status because society has labeled what is acceptable and unacceptable to be known as a job suitable for women. These women that stepped outside of these normal boundaries have begun to understand that they will be subject to public ridicule and scorn for stepping over what has been labeled as rightfully theirs and what is not.[8]

The main reason for the women being hired is actually quite simple when you come to ponder the situation. The world has become a consumer culture with everything based on money and what better way for an industry, school district, or public service to save money than to pay the employees less. These women were averaging just over half of the salary that men who were earning an average of $1,368 annual income.[9] With the average American man bringing in just over $1,000 per month, the families that were able to send their wives or daughters off to work would create a fifty percent increase in what the family could purchase. The other side is if the husband of the family lost his job, and is relying on the wife to supply the income then these families would have a fifty percent decrease in their income.

Depression SoupThe next time that you see a woman setting out to work or a man trying to find employment for their wife, do not go to assuming that they are out to steal the jobs of the men. These women might be the only one that is given the opportunity to provide for their family, just as you would be doing too. There is no room for judgement because women care about their family just as much as you care about yours.



[3] Ibid


[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid


[8] Ibid.




True American Heroes of the Great War

January 12th 1919                                                       New York, New York

The War has just ended and the American people are celebrating from the California coast to right here in the heart of the nation in Washington D.C. Our men can sleep at night without the threat of gunshots and artillery being launched from the Germans. The politicians will get back to work finalizing the treaties and exploring the future of the European nations. The American children can look to the war heroes and see peace within the nation. Everything is in perfect order and the American people have everything they could ask for.
This would be the truth if it were not for the women. Now I don’t say this to cast a light in a negative way, but the women now feel that they have fulfilled every role that America asked them to do since the war began, and they have not been given what has become rightfully theirs. The American Women weresowTheSeedsPoster10935-P107_300px not the ones firing weapons at the German Army, they were not the ones clearing out cities to save civilians and destroy the enemy but they comparatively did just as much as the typical American male did.

First of all, the American women that stayed within the states created Victory Gardens. These women were encouraged to garden and conserve food intake in order to allow the U.S. to ship food to the needy of Europe . These women helped to cut the production of produce goods for the sale and consumption by the American families because instead of buying the fruits and vegetables from the store, they could walk out on their property and pick the produce themselves. This act of decreasing consumption, both of food and goods, has now been dubbed Hooverizing. The women in this situation were able to create an extremely important economical factor but even with this was not their best contribution to this war.
Secondly, the women stepped up into the roles of factory, and labor workers in replacement of the men that left their domestic jobs to serve overseas. The experience of the women that took up roles in the factories created a liberating experience, but also gave them the freedom and wages only men had enjoyed so far . The women were doing their part, especially in the munitions factory, because of their determination to make a difference with their actions to aid in the war effort. The Munitionettes, the term coined to represent those working in the munitions factories, became the most visible face of the woman worker during the days past of this world war . Despite these women picking up the reigns for the men who chose to serve and keeping the gears of America turning as the war waged on, still these women did not have the greatest contribution to our country.SecondLineofDefense
Lastly, and with the greatest overall contributing factor for the American nation was the role that American women obtained overseas. I know you’re thinking that an American woman would best serve America if she was here in the homeland doing the things that the normal American daughter, wife, and mother should be doing, but in reality they best served our country by serving our men on the battlefield.
Before America entered into the war there were a measly four hundred women on active duty in the American Nurse Corps. On Armistice Day, however, there were over twenty-one thousand nurses enlisted, with over ten thousand having serving overseas . The majority of the women entering into the nursing fields joined the Red Cross, established in 1905 from a congressional charter, and focused their efforts on providing medical and nutritional supplies and resources to the armed combat forces .

These women worked in Europe away from their families, often in the line of fire, and with possibly unruly drunken men, of course none of those being the American soldiers. They helped to heal the wounded, to provide for citizens during time of natural disaster, and even took care of anyone that had contracted the influenza virus. RedCrossNursesAnd we know that there has been an estimated five hundred thousand domestic American citizen’s die from this virus, so tallying up the effect it would have had on the lesser European nations would have overwhelmed the system .
These Women were the true heroes of the war. Without our fighting men under their services, all the men could have perished and the war could not have been fought at its full potential. In the most basic terms, this war would not have been won if it were not for the women both domestic and abroad, but more importantly those that enlisted and protected our men during the days of battle.
The next time you pass a women on the street with a Red Cross symbol, or a women with dirty hands finishing up shift at the factory or planting down a garden, give them your respects because without them Europe would still be at war, and many of the American men would have lost their lives. These women are the true American war heroes.

4) Ibid

7) Ibid

Sending Daughters Off To College?

Macon Georgia broke headlines this previous winter under the leadership of the school elected president[1] when he declared that the newly created college will allow women to apply and enroll into classes and degree programs.

The new institution is located roughly 60 miles Southeast of Atlanta Georgia in the town of Macon. Within Macon, a number of local businessmen convened during the humid summer days to organize and fund the creation of this female post-secondary education institution[2]. Over the course of these summer meetings, the men raised an initial fund of nine thousand dollars to construct the building that was to become the Georgia Female College.

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This plan however would not have been passed without the connection of women to their proper roles in the household and within their family duties. The local Methodist church adopted the new charter, granted by the state of Georgia, for the school because without the religious doctrine and ideals that the church would provide, the women would not obtain the proper upbringing that the individual female’s fathers and future husbands would expect of them. It is of a natural order that men and women operate in different spheres where the females are to be submissive to their male counterpart while portraying traits such as meekness, obedience, and subservient to the men around her.[3]

The voice of the women came through into the educational field because women felt that education would allow them to become proper citizens and mothers of future statesmen.[4] The women are the ones that rear up the children in the household, and if the women themselves are not educated then these future mothers will not be able to bring their children up in the proper educational manner. Today’s women often decide that they enjoy the life of a housewife and mother and therefore decide to forgo this opportunity to gain knowledge at the Post-secondary education.

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In these years prior, there has been a movement for both the ending of slavery and the temperance of alcohol, and with these movements women have begun to take charge and lead the movements.[5] Because of their involvement certain women began to believe that they were just as equal as men, and have started to appeal for that position. Some of the men have begun to defer these rights over to the women and agreed allow women to expand into different fields.

Georgia Women’s College offers numerous degree plans including studies in Philosophy, astronomy, chemistry, history, and other modern language studies to briefly name some. This is quite different from the seminaries that have been open for some time now because these women go to the seminary to school to become teachers for little children.[6] Here at Georgia Women’s college, however, that is not the case. These women plan to use these degrees upon graduation from school to enrich the learning of their children to come and to make their household more knowledgeable with proper understandings of communication, science, and morality.

Speaking with a few of the enrolled attendees and they responded out of typical fashion saying that they did not want to become a career teacher. Instead, when asked what they were planning on pursuing upon graduation, I received answers such as “become a doctor” and “try to work up into the political spectrum.” Now the current times do not have any women in positions in the upper medical field besides being a midwife, and there are no current women politicians that I know of even on the local level. This determination and planning is quite far-fetched for this day and age but maybe in the coming years the women will be able to make adjustments to their daily lives and become a functioning member of society. Currently though, they might have to hold back on their ambitions.

Seminaries have been around since the middle of the eighteenth century and have produced quality educators across the country, and so far there has not been a far reaching outcry for having women in these institutions. There have not been any public statements about this new women’s college being opened but some region businessmen have been rumored to be against this school’s creation. Fortunately these men do not pose a threat to the situation and the women soon to be attending college will be safe from public ridicule.




[4] Keith E. Melder, Beginnings of Sisterhood: The American Woman’s Rights Movement, 1800-1850 (New York: Schocken Books, 1977), p. 15.