MOVIE: The Help--stereotypes are repulsive

Maids that steal. Maids that don’t just spit in the soup, they put feces in food. An otherwise loving employer turns imperious and fires a maid to impress her ladies club president. A grateful employer cooking dinner for her maid. Ugh. White people didn’t love that much and black people didn’t hate that much. This !@#$%^&* pseudo-sensitive flick is over-the-top with stereotypes in black & white. What if…Kathryn Stockett, who was born in Jackson, Mississippi, actually interviewed real maids and real employers?

I imagine there would be maids fired for m’lady hocking her ring and blaming self-same maid. I imagine there would be maids given out-of-date food for their lunch. I imagine there would be whites talking about uppity civil rights workers deserving what Medgar Evers got. I imagine there would be gratitude without gushing by employers. This revisionist history is to make whites feeeeel goooood but it perpetuates the most toxic stereotypes in doing so.

Well, since it was set in the 1960s, she would need to interview people who were/had maids at that time in Jackson, Mississippi.

The movie was pretty close to the book - and I was in a book club with a woman from Mexico who was raised by her nanny who is still part of her parents' household. She felt it was very accurate.

My mother had an African American nanny/maid in Miami Beach, Florida in the 1950s. My mother loved her nanny so much .. she was the person my mom would go to with all of her joys and sadness. They were very close but my mom grew up and got married at 19 and her own parents moved. I asked her once why she never kept in touch with the woman who basically raised her she said she didn't know where she even lived - had never been to her house and she couldn't even recall if the woman had children of her own. Her nanny was a part of HER life - but she knew nothing of her Nanny besides that she loved her.

So based on their experiences, I think the movie/book was spot on.

I don't think the pie part was supposed to be true - it just made for a very funny part in the story. And I don't understand what you mean by it was meant to make me (a white person) feel good. It made me angry that people treated others so badly - and it made me admire those who couragously stood up for their own civil rights.

Haven't seen the movie, but I read the book, and the part involving the pie was like the ultimate Take That, Miss Queen Bee. As I've said elsewhere, I work retail, and while I might not have my civil rights infringed on, like an African American housekeeper in 1960s, I know what it's like to have people treating you like garbage, just because you're in a socially inferior position. So while I might not approve of what exactly Minny did to sort of mess with her really nasty employer, I admire her gumption, in finding a way to put her in her place.

That said, while reading the book, I couldn't help thinking these upper-middle class white women weren't much different from clique-y high school girls, they just had adult bodies. They needed to scrub their own darn dishes and toilets, if you ask me: work builds character, even if it's just housework.

It isn't a history book. It's a book and later a movie...fiction.

No, the movie didn't make me feel goooood. It made me feel horrible actually. I literally went home and cried myself to sleep. Spoiler - That poor woman walking away by hereself. It tore my heart out. I'm appalled that another person (white, black, green or otherwise) could treat another person (white, black, green or otherwise) as poorly as they people were treated in this book/movie. I didn't look at the movie as being stereotypical, but I didn't go into looking for them nor did it ever cross my mind.

We could ALL do a better job not stereotyping people.

My understanding is that the author did interview some people in writting the book.

I mean do we think Black maids in South in the 50's were generally treated great? I'm sure some folks did have a positive experience but I also bet MANY did not.

Black folks did not have the practical support of labor laws or, in general, of local law enforcement in those days.

[quote="nordskoven, post:1, topic:268598"]
Maids that steal. Maids that don't just spit in the soup, they put feces in food. An otherwise loving employer turns imperious and fires a maid to impress her ladies club president. A grateful employer cooking dinner for her maid. Ugh. White people didn't love that much and black people didn't hate that much. This !@#$%^&* pseudo-sensitive flick is over-the-top with stereotypes in black & white. What if...Kathryn Stockett, who was born in Jackson, Mississippi, actually interviewed real maids and real employers?

I imagine there would be maids fired for m'lady hocking her ring and blaming self-same maid. I imagine there would be maids given out-of-date food for their lunch. I imagine there would be whites talking about uppity civil rights workers deserving what Medgar Evers got. I imagine there would be gratitude without gushing by employers. This revisionist history is to make whites feeeeel goooood but it perpetuates the most toxic stereotypes in doing so.

[/quote]

Did YOU interview a substantial number of maids from Mississippi from this era yourself to be able to make such a claim? Did YOU work as a black maid yourself for white folks during this era to make such a claim?

You are accusing the author of the book and the screen writer (not sure if they are the same in this case) of being grossly negligent, lying, and sensationalizing just to tell/sell a story. Before you do such a thing, I think it would be only fair for you to produce your own credentials that allow you to be such a critic.

I thought the book was excellent - and no, it did not make me "feeeeel goooood". How insulting to me as a reader to assume that it would, simply because I'm white.

~Liza

You do get that the author grew up in Mississippi and that there was help in her household so she does know how to portray it from all sides right? Did you grow up in the South or have you ever lived in the South to be able to make the claim that these are stereotypes? You do get that that was how it was in the 50s & 60s here, right? And I’ve yet to meet a black or white person who didn’t agree with that after reading the book and/or seeing the movie.

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