I recently saw the movie New In Town with Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr. and really liked it. I was pleasantly surprised with the flick. Lucy Hill (Renee Zellweger) works for a consultant firm in Miami and has to go to Minnesota to downsize one of the plants. In Minnesota she meets some interesting small town characters and Ted Mitchel (Harry Connick, Jr.), the local union representative. Sparks fly through heated disagreements. Lucy gradually begins to appreciate the small town in Minnesota, and when she is ordered to close the plant, she risks her career to save the plant, her relationship with the townspeople and her relationship with Ted.
Lucy is a feminist. She is the highest paid female consultant at the Miami firm. Her looks give off a rigid, “ice queen” type of persona; her hair is stick straight. She wears tight pencil skirts, and she wears Stiletto heels for a majority of the movie. She refuses help when a man offered to get her extremely heavy bags. Lucy does not have any intention of making friends. When talking to her assistant on the first day, she says,
“As a female, do you know how I am on the fast track to VP in a fortune 500 Company? When it’s time to work, I concentrate on work. And I expect one’s personal life to be kept personal. But not you apparently…I am here to do a job. I will not get personally attached to this town or anyone in it.”
Lucy struggles with being taken seriously as a skirt in a room full of suits. She is bullied into overseeing the downsizing. When she agrees, her male coworker says,
“And hey, Lucy’s single. She could do the overseeing on site.”
She protests, but there is no point. Before she could get a word in, her flight was booked. All of the townspeople expected Lucy to be a man. So when a woman arrived, no one expected her to last more than a couple of weeks. The plant workers make up a holiday to fool Lucy and get out of work.
I know that “women in a men’s world” is a hot topic for the Meredith College NeW Chapter discussions, but how do women keep their femininity without losing their authority? I do not believe that embracing your femininity means that you can’t be respected by male coworkers. Respect is much more than authority and power. The Feminist Movement works to make those words synonymous with one another.