The lessons shared in Free to Be... You and Me are not only timeless, they are also incredibly essential to remember in today's world. When we have young boys being targeted by Fox News writers for wearing pink toenail polish, and large companies that continue to push gender stereotypes, I think it's time for a little refresher course in what it truly means to be free. With that in mind, I present to you five lessons I have learned, and continue to hold dear, from Free to Be... You and Me.
From the village bobby on his bicycle to elaborate games of cops and robbers in mid-20th century America, detective fiction often harks back to the past. From a feminist perspective, this is a can of worms.
Writer-director Spike Lee is a contentious figure, especially regarding gender politics. His debut feature, She's Gotta Have It, established this reputation by depicting rape as consensual between the polyamorist female lead and her vindictive partner, resulting in bell hooks' seminal essay, "Whose Pussy Is This?" In subsequent releases, Lee has been criticized as sexist, misogynistic, and homophobic in his constructions of relatively unformed, castrating women and the limited narrative arcs they traverse. Thus, many detractors may not think a movie of his could pass the Bechdel Test, much less have a complex black girl character at its center.