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Film Hits a Nerve--It's Sexist, Reactionary

January 15, 1989

Regarding the Jan. 8 story, "Working Girl Hits Home With Wall Streeters":

I beg to differ with this story. I've read and heard numerous reviews concerning the movie, "Working Girl," all positive in their praise for its supposedly realistic, witty and pertinent depiction of a "working girl's" rise from the secretarial pool to the board room. I am a secretary, I saw the movie and I was appalled.

This is one of the most sexist films I have ever seen. It's unfair to all working women, from clerks to executives. The film depicts the secretaries as inappropriately dressed, gossiping bimbos. The female boss is depicted as well-educated and finely bred but also as disloyal and overly competitive.

The film also perpetuates class consciousness. The protagonist's blue-collar boyfriend is portrayed as an insensitive boor, intent on keeping his women in bed and in line. Her blue-collar girlfriends are shown accepting and extolling this ethic enthusiastically.

Our heroine, Tess, while exuding sensuality and wistful hopefulness, never, throughout the whole movie, exhibits a trace of intelligence on her vacuous face. The words outlining her brilliant business concept come out of her mouth but seemingly never connect with her brain.

The scene in the bar when Tess meets our hero is gratuitous and stretches our ability to accept her intelligence to the limit. Ditto the scene where our hero and heroine sit down at the table to present their brilliant package to Trask Industries, only to immediately commence playing footsie under the table!

What is director Mike Nichols' purpose here? Are we witnessing the ultimate sexist's dream, that it is OK for "girls" to compete in the board room, just as long as they embrace the favorite male fantasy and remain young, beautiful, sexually compliant and non-threatening?

This is a reactionary movie.

PATSY WARGO

Poway, Calif.

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