“9 to 5”: A spoonful of Skinny & Sweet and a dash of feminism


You know when you hate your sexist, egotistical, lying,

hypocritical bigot

boss and fantasize about poisoning his coffee, and then accidentally

poison his coffee, and then keep him in bondage for a while until you

can get documents with which to blackmail him, and then while he’s indisposed,

you make your company women-friendly while you dramatically increase

productivity? I know … it’s an old story and we’ve all been there. But,

still, Hollywood managed to make that tired plot fresh back in 1980

with Dolly Parton, Lilly Tomlin and Jane Fonda in the comedy classic 9 to 5. And now (drum roll, please), 9 to 5 is on the cusp of becoming a stage musical.

Take a moment to guess how

much I love the movie. Did you guess “a lot”? If you did, you’re right. As a general rule, I’m not a big fan of slapstick — and

there are moments when the movie gets too slapsticky for me — but I

love that movie. Love it. I don’t love every Dolly Parton movie (although,

embarrassingly, I do have a certain fondness for Rhinestone),

but I love most of them, and I still think Doralee Rhodes is her best role.

And Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda

are perfect as Violet Newstead and Judy Bernly, respectively.

To refresh your recollection

of the movie, watch this video.

But back to the stage

musical news
. I wish

I could say it was getting ready to become a Broadway musical but, unfortunately

for me, it will be opening in 2008 in Los Angeles and is not expected

to come to Broadway until 2009. Alas. But still, this is excellent

news. Dolly Parton is writing the music and lyrics! Movie co-screenwriter

Patricia Resnick is writing the libretto. And Allison Janney will be playing Violet.

And I will be making plans

to visit friends in Los Angeles when the show opens.

Since I first heard about the

show, I’ve been wondering whether it will be set in 1980 or will be updated. An element of that musing was wondering how anachronistic

the movie’s workplace sexism is. I read today that the story will be set in 1980.

Although I fear they will overplay the ’80s kitsch, I don’t disagree

with that decision. (I’m sure the creative team will be relieved to

know that.) Workplace sexism was a different, very blatant animal in

the ’70s and early ’80s. And women absolutely have dramatically more professional

opportunities today.

But ask a working woman over

40 and a working woman under 30 about sexism in the workplace — and

ask whether each identifies as a feminist — and I suspect you may get

two pretty different answers. It makes a difference to remember when

the Equal

Rights Amendment

was still the news of the day. I know that at my company, there are

plenty of women in positions of power, but I’ve definitely seen a boys’

club mentality dominate the promotions process, and I’ve seen the hiring

of women executives concentrated in discrete departments. Additionally,

I’ve noticed that the younger women see “feminist” as a dirty word.

The article I read today about 9 to 5 had

this to say:

“Underneath the comedy, the

movie was about the smart, industrious but invisible women behind the

power structure of corporate America.”

And Patricia Resnick commented,

"[t]hat’s changed a little, but not as much as you would have thought

in the 25 years since the movie came out." (And, coincidentally,

Gloria Steinem has a pointed commentary about sexism in politics in today’s

New York Times

What do you think of 9 to 5 and its themes? And do you consider yourself a feminist?

Zergnet Code