Class, Race and Gender in The Associate

Class, Race and Gender in The Associate

Many issues regarding class, race, and gender in corporate America are brought to the forefront in The Associate. The issue in this movie is that Whoopi’s character, Laurel is one who doesn’t get treated fairly because she is not in the elite class of the top-level executives, she is black, and a woman. She has the brains and the ideas, but still can’t get ahead because of the stigma behind these labels. Out of desperation of hitting the corporate glass ceiling, she creates Robert Cutty, presumably rich, white, and male “? the key to success in corporate America. The issue of class is an interesting one. Often class is not looked upon as an idea independent from race and/or gender. The American upper class would like to view America as a classless country affording every member of society with equal opportunity for economic gain and success. In order to perpetuate this ideal of a classless society, the poor are therefore racialized and/or femininized. Race and gender are used to divert attention away from issues of class inequality. The members of these categories are then defined by stereotyping labels of “lazy”, “unfit”, “sexually promiscuous”, and “uneducated” which prevent their success in society. However, class exists and is an independent ideal from race and gender. Classes exist in relation to one another in ways that are often oppositional, i.e., the benefits and privileges of one class are at the expense of other classes in the same way that men and whites receive benefits that are often at the expense of women and minorities. This ideal of the privileged versus the under-privileged is evident in The Associate’s portrayal of corporate America. Independent of gender, Sally is a prime example of the lower class within an institution. The camera subtly depicts her less than affluent position by placing her in the background when in Frank’s office while Laura is confronting him about his malicious prac…


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