Monday, November 12, 2007

Alex Malliaris - Gattaca Insights

1) Based upon the analysis of one's urine, an individual is allowed acceptance into the organization of Gattaca. This type of testing does not account for character qualities or personality, but is based solely on a person's physical makeup. Either someone is born with the qualifications for admittance or he/she is rejected without any hope of improving oneself for another try. It is genetics, over which a person has no control, which determines a person's occupational destiny. In the film, the genetically engineered characters were viewed as superior to those born naturally. The medical community possesses control over the identities of everyone because they define people's existence with their testing. Chapter 7 introduces us to Alvesson and Wilmott's nine practices of identity-shaping enacted by organizations (p. 201-202). By categorizing people as "valid" or "invalid," Gattaca enacted a system by which the value of their employees was determined. There was a heirarchy of roles that people were slotted for according to the predispositions evidenced in their blood. As an invalid, Vincent would have been viewed as subordinate, but as a valid, Jerome was superior. The two categories were reinforced everytime testing was implemented.

2) The women in the film were given no respect and were allowed no voice. Both in the sphere of home and work, we see female characters being overruled and devalued. Vincent's mother is the one who gives birth to her sons, but she is not given a voice with which to make the decisions of names for her kids. The father is given the responsibility of bestowing on his sons their identity as men and naming them. Irene is delegated the undesirable go-between job at Gattaca and is silenced when she expresses concern about completing tasks that were previously assigned. Karen Ashcraft's four frames address gender concerns. Both the organization of the home and the workplace can be viewed as gendered structures as described by frame 3 (p. 211). Within both contexts, we can see evidence of the "systemic privileging of masculinity." Men are praised and women are devalued. Males are rewarded, promoted, and heard; whereas females are disregarded, neglected, and unnoticed. This type of thinking does not lead to equality, but rather to abuse and further distancing of women from the ability to exercise influence and power. Even though the women in this film seem incredibly capable and evidently do possess strength, their abilities go unrecognized and their power is untapped.

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