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October 20, 2008 / C H Thompson

Shirley Valentine



Shirley Valentine is a useful film to help students understand the feminist perspectives of the family. Indeed it’s useful for developing criticisms of functionalist perspectives.

Watch the film (below is a short clip to refresh your memory about the film) and then in groups answer the following points:

  1. In what way is Shirley Valentine stratified in her marriage?
  2. How is Shirley Valentine stereotyped?
  3. Why is Shirley Valentine socialised into her social role?
  4. What sociological theme can be used to make a connection between Shirley Valentine’s daughter; her best ‘feminist’ friend and the people in the hotel restaurant?
  5. Shirley Valentine is a feminist film. Does the script writer Willy Russell take a Marxist feminist or a Radical feminist perspective? Indentify key points to explain your answer
  6. How might the New Right criticise people like Shirley Valentine, especially if she’d left for Greece when her children were young.
  7. How might Delphy & Leonard (1992) interpret the scene in Willy Russell’s script where the girls were discussing the clitoris?
  8. What might have Margaret Benston (1972) focused on in the film?
  9. How do Functionalist views on the family fail to consider female roles once the children have left home?

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