Where is the balance?

Where is the balance?

Yes, I have another movie I wish to talk about.  It is The Intern with Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway.  Not only is it really funny, there are some things discussed that brings up many great points in society.


The movie is set in modern time, and it is dealing with an online business that is owned by Anne Hathaway.  Her business partner decides that they should offer a senior intern program and that Anne’s character, Jules, have one of the interns directly under her.

Anne is a driven, obsessively busy mom, wife, and runs her company which expanded rapidly in less than 2 years.  She is constantly involved in all that is going on in the business, and lives a hectic life.  Her husband is a stay at home dad, raising their elementary school aged daughter.


She gets Robert DeNiro’s character, Ben, as the intern assigned to her.  Ben is 70, has a degree, was a supervisor for a company for most of his life.  He comes to work in a suit and tie, an old fashion briefcase, and very little skill on the electronic freeway.  There are three young men, in their 20’s, who work alongside of Ben.


One of the scenes, the mom is at the daughter’s school love slamming Jules for her work and her husband usually one of the “moms” with the kids.  The women belittle her, saying that there was a party going on the following week, and that they knew she wouldn’t be able to make the guacamole, so she could purchase some for the party.  Jules goes back to her car (she is chauffeured around by Ben), and comments about how the women still did not understand or have tolerance for those had a career and was the boss of her own business.  True, there are still people who look down their noses on women who aren’t barefoot and pregnant, taking care of their family and home.  Though it is sad to see young women having this engrained in them.  We have been fighting for respect for hundreds of years, come on ladies, open your minds.

Another issue they talk about is young men today versus older men, as to their clothing and behavior.  The young men Ben works with think he is crazy for wearing coat and ties, and why carry a pocket cloth (smaller handkerchief).  Ben explains that men should carry pocket cloths because women cried, and it was the gentlemanly thing to do, have the cloth handy to give the lady.  One of the men was invited to go to a gathering and he asked Ben for advice.  The young man was dressed in baggy pants, t shirt with a hooded sweatshirt over top.  Obviously, extremely casual, if you can even consider that.  Ben has him put on a button up shirt, and it was amazing the simple button front shirt made in making the young man treated better.  The young men began emulating Ben in his dress style, and found a completely different attitude in how they felt about themselves.  One of Ben’s lines was that they needed to tuck their shirt in.  He asked why no one tucked anything in anymore.


How many of us dress up to go to work?  Since I work from home, I am not going to say what I wear at work. But in this fast paced world, we tend to make things casual, rather than professional.  I can remember one of the security positions I had years ago (in another lifetime, BC- which in my world means Before Caitlin, my daughter).  I learned how to tie a necktie, and one place they wanted me to wear a skirt.  I convinced them to allow split skirt, but even that was inappropriate for the work, as I had to climb up in areas to do things like tend to the flag.  When I worked of the police, in 1993, it was amazing how the women’s uniform differed from the men’s.  But we had button up shirts and straight legged slacks that we wore, with black socks and black shoes or boots.  I recently saw a photo of what they wear in the crime lab now, and they are wearing polo shirts with utility pants.  Practical, but the look is far more casual.

Another point was made about men being gentlemen.  Have we, as ladies, made it impossible to behave in the manner they were raised?  Never strike a female…good idea, yet there are women who truly deserve to have a good smack for their behavior.  Some women purposely goad men, knowing they will not strike back.  That is cruel. I am not advocating striking anyone, it is the philosophy behind this example.  We cannot have our cake and eat it too.  Do we want men to do things like open doors for us, help us in our seats, or do we prefer to have them treat us as if we are just one of the guys?  I am all for equality, same pay for women as men, and women can do most of the same jobs as men (I do not think that women could be sperm donors, just saying).  But I also do not mind having doors opened for me, or treated with kindness.  If someone opens a door for me or offers me their seat, no problem, I am grateful for their thoughtfulness. But do I demand this treatment? Absolutely not.

In the movie, Jules makes a comment that women went from girls to ladies, yet on the other side of the coin, men and gentlemen became boys.  Have we rocked the world to the point men are getting confused?  If so, what can be done to fix the situation?  How do we accept the kindness and being treated “like a lady”, yet are treated fairly and with respect?

So those are the questions to keep in the back of our minds. What do you think?


12 Responses to Where is the balance?

  1. Loved the post, Mel. This film sounds like great fun, I keep meaning to go and see it (and I’ll probably end up catching it on DVD 🙂 ). Loved the points you made, too. I don’t know, maybe it is a bit of wanting to have the cake and eat it too, but I personally can’t see an either/or situation between social equality and old-fashioned politeness. Can’t bring myself to demand them when they’re not there, but thankful when they are 🙂

  2. I have already written and deleted a tome in regard to your many points, so here is another attempt:
    Business classes preach… dress for success.
    Scriptures teach… do unto others.
    Mother preached… always wear clean underwear and keep your legs together… oh that was another time.
    I think these are the basics of how we should comport ourselves in private and in public.

    • It was interesting to see the younger men changing their way of dressing and such when the way they were accepted changed. Just a simple button up shirt rather than a hoodie, and the guy felt more confident.

  3. I really liked that movie! I believe there is much to be learned from the people who have gone before you. Politeness always helps in most situations and goes both ways.

    • It was a sweet movie, and I completely agree with Sally about politeness and learning from the experience of others. Politeness, in my opinion, never goes out of style. Accept the courtesy as a fellow human and then return it when opportunity presents.

      • I know, I don’t mind someone holding the door, and do the same in return. But some people get all bent out of shape over something so simple.

    • I loved how Jules talked with them at the bar, about the changes in society. It was a great movie

  4. puts on nerd glasses and pulls out tattered feminist card Here we go.

    I think that whoever gets to the door first, or does not have as many things in their hands, should try to open the door. I also think that genuine courtesy and a sense of professionalism are important in many settings. Honestly, I live in yoga pants and practical t-shirts, because I’m typically covered in peanut butter and snot, and today I had the honor of cleaning red pen out of my clothes dryer. Not something you want to do in decent clothes. Consider yourself either incredibly important or else incredibly lucky if I show up dressed nicely. It either means I scheduled in the time, or I actually had the time to take and wasn’t running out the door after the latest catastrophe. In any case, I hope that others will be forgiving of how I appear, because sometimes it’s all I can do to make it somewhere.

    I think the door example is an excellent although subtle demonstration of the kind of common courtesy I think is missing in chivalric tradition. Unless I am visibly struggling to open a door or am in need of a tissue, I do not expect to be treated differently than a man in my situation. I will gladly carry extra snacks, diapers, tissues, etc., and offer them when I see someone, man or woman, who needs it, because that is a good, decent thing to do. I don’t consider smacking people to be particularly admirable, even if someone seems to need a good smack. Battered housewives are an accepted stereotype in Western society, but men can suffer from domestic violence, too. They just put on a stiff upper lip because there is more stigma directed towards them if they show weakness or vulnerability, and it seems to emasculate them. It is easy for women to jump to the conclusion that they can goad men without getting any sort of healthy or unhealthy repercussions from it, when they are taught that men have to treat them with more respect, but women have no such expectations placed upon them.

    I feel it important to address the idea of women being seen as “one of the guys” versus being revered and treated differently from men. In my own experience, you can either be treated as an equal, or you can be treated as something other, and nary the twain shall meet. In high school I was often frustrated by my guy friends, who treated me differently and did not feel comfortable including me because their mothers required them to open doors for girls. I did not see myself as requiring more respect, and I found it highly impractical for my friends, whose arms were often laden with a full stack of books, to dash ahead of me and finagle a door open, when my books were in my backpack, strapped to my back. We actually had fights over it, because every time their mothers would see them not opening a door for me, they would get a stern lecture, and for a while afterward I was inadvertently excluded from my guy friends’ confidence. A very real trust barrier grew because they were expected to treat me differently. This concept is rather tangled in my head, and I apologize for the effect it has on my clarity.

    Getting into the particulars of the movie and the stereotypes inherent in it, I’d have to say I love the idea that an older man who has already seen professional success is cast as an intern. It’s a fascinating deconstruction of the ageism we accept as a society. People like to hire younger people, perhaps in part because they seem to have only a few years left of work before they either croak or retire. Ironically, much of the younger population does not last in one career path for many years. I admit and add that the pay one would need to fork out for someone with more credentials also plays a role. Indeed, it is often more difficult for someone with several college degrees to get a good job, because they are seen as overqualified. Ben would definitely be seen as overqualified, although he has changed fields.

    Jules serves as a social commentary on our relatively recent acceptance of the “businesswoman,” the high-powered female who seemingly has it all. The backlash from the SAHM brigade is a legitimate frustration, as differences often bring out insecurities. It is unfortunate that feeling vulnerable can lead to lashing out, and I think that the film discussing this facet of the “Mommy Wars” is yet another example of how we as a society try to detangle the complexities of modern life. Nevertheless, I do think that there is wisdom in “different strokes.”

    • Thank you so much, you have many of the same thoughts as me. I love watching men when I hold the door for them. If there are 2 doors (like at a shop or restaurant), and the man held at the first door, I like to hold the second one, saying that it is kindness reciprocated.

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