One of our favorite movies was “9 to 5”, starring Dolly Parton (Doralee), Lily Tomlin (Violet), and Jane Fonda (Judy). I’m certain we saw it at the theater more than once and then later, when it was finally on HBO (this was waaaaaay before Netflix, you know!), we watched it constantly.
“9 to 5” is a workplace comedy about three women who fantasize about taking revenge on their boss, Mr. Hart (played by Dabney Coleman), who is a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.” Naturally there’s a plot twist that makes their fantasy come to life, and hilarity ensues.
I watched this movie recently for the first time in years, and it was still just as funny as I remembered. What I noticed this time, as an adult female, is how far women have come in the workplace. Even though we have some work to do (no pun intended), policies like at-work day care, job sharing, and flex hours–all introduced in the office by Violet, Judy, and Doralee while Mr. Hart was out of the office because he was stuck hanging from his bedroom ceiling (haven’t seen it yet? that’s as much as I’m saying!)–are considered normal these days. Human Resource departments of today are making sure employees aren’t subjected to sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination that were daily occurrences only a few years ago. (And yes, it still happens. It’s far less common nowadays, though.)
Interesting and worth a mention: equal pay was one of the changes instigated by the trio, and was later the only one rescinded by the company’s Board Chairman. Even 1980 wasn’t ready for that.
So yeah, we’re not there yet, but I don’t think you’ll ever find a movie like “9 to 5” again. Women today are strong, in the workplace and in life; Hollywood is producing movies and shows with great roles for women. (See that? That’s my segue.)
FOR EXAMPLE: Claire Underwood (played by Robin Wright) in “House of Cards”, which is a Netflix Original. Claire’s career path in the show’s arc goes like this:
Non-profit executive and lobbyist —> Second Lady of the United States
Second Lady of the United States —> First Lady of the United States
First Lady of the United States —> United States Ambassador to the United Nations
Claire is strong, decisive, confident, and (obviously) extremely successful. Thinking of her next to Judy, Doralee, and even Violet makes me giggle a little bit. The trio from “9 to 5” will always have a place in my heart and for that matter, in history because I think it’s always good to be able to look at where we came from. That said, I am very happy to be living in the 21st century when, both in real life and on the big and small screens, women have lots of choices and can do whatever they want to do and be whomever they want to be.
If you haven’t seen “9 to 5”, I highly recommend it as a funny history lesson. And then check out “House of Cards” in contrast. Season four is now available for streaming!