The Role of Women in Vertigo

I was specifically intrigued by this week’s movie, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.  I never thought I could become so invested in a class assigned movie!  However, the role of women in all of his films and specifically Vertigo is extremely interesting.  It was alarming to see Hitchcock’s view and definition of women unfold throughout this movie.  By the end, I concluded that Hitchcock views women as a blank canvas, a gender he can shape and mold to fit his perfect vision.  I first noticed this in the film at the very beginning.  As the names of the actors came across the screen they were placed on the face of a woman.  To me, this symbolized the branding of her with different identities.  This idea continued throughout the film.  Scottie falls in love with one woman and when she dies, he spends the rest of the movie trying to turn Judy into that same woman.  He tells her what to wear, what color her hair should be, and how to act.  Scottie’s molding of a woman to fit his every desire symbolizes Hitchcock’s desire to achieve the perfect woman.  Regardless if she fits the bill or not, Hitchcock is intent on developing a woman to satisfy his every demand.  Although I absolutely love his films, this realization is disturbing to me.  The beauty of people in general is their individuality and little quirks that make them unique.  Not all women need to be refined with icy blonde hair to be “perfect”.  After watching Rear Window, another Hitchcock film, it is quite evident that he takes a liking towards blondes with light eyes (something I will never be)!  The control he maintains in every aspect of his films persists throughout his cast, specifically his leading ladies.  I look forward to watching more of his films and seeing how this recurring trend unfolds.

Stephanie Rubin

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One Response to The Role of Women in Vertigo

  1. marymdalton says:

    I love this post. It’s always so exciting to hear about revelations students have in class!

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