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Meryl Streep, the actress with the most Oscar nominations in history, is a compelling case study. Her on-screen prowess is considerable; her ability to elicit emotional responses from the audience is uncanny. But her influence on American culture renders her star power worthy of even keener analysis. This paper will examine how the various personas Streep has assumed have both represented the concerns of vast swaths of American society and in turn shaped new concerns for them, especially in the realm of women’s issues.
Meryl Streep the actress with the most Oscar nominations in history is a compelling case study Her on-screen prowess is considerable herability to elicit emotional responses from the audience is uncanny But herinfluence on American culture renders her star power worthy of even keeneranalysis This paper will examine how the various personas Streep hasassumed have both represented the concerns of vast swaths of Americansociety and in turn shaped new concerns for them especially in the realmof women\'s issues Streep\'s protean career has
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In seeing Streep let loose, American women knowthey too can enjoy the simple pleasures of life and relish a type of moviethat they enjoy. Her role asSister Aloysius in Doubt at first invokes groans: she is a strictdisciplinarian and a stick-in-the-mud. Thus, she decided to accept the role to shake up theindustry as well as enjoy herself. This paper will examine how the various personas Streep hasassumed have both represented the concerns of vast swaths of Americansociety and in turn shaped new concerns for them, especially in the realmof women's issues. Her portrayal of women has added to theAmerican culture by contributing nuance to the culture's perception of whatit means to be a woman.Abramowitz, Rachel "Meryl Streep Enjoys the Ride Back Up" Los AngelesTimes 3 November 2 8 28 April 2 9http://articles.latimes.com/2 8/nov/3 /entertainment/ca- meryl3 Altmann, Jennifer "Meryl Streep Talks About the Mysterious Art ofActing" Princeton University 1 December 2 6 28 April 2 9http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S16/49/92S82/Mottram, James "Meryl Streep: Movies, Music and Turning 6 " TheIndependent 24 January 2 9 28 April 2 9http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/meryl- streep-movies-marriage-and-turning-sixty-1488485.html Herability to take on a fun-loving character, such as the mother in Mama Mia!is significant in its message to American women and its rejection of thepatriarchal establishment. In the final analysis, Meryl Streep's ability to listen to theculture and decide what she thinks needs to be added to the ongoingdiscussions has marked her career. But her embrace of this softer side of femininity wascharged with cultural defiance. Streep's protean career has allowed her to form a varied and salientrelationship to American culture by taking on roles that reflect the issuesof the day. Thus, Streep is an expert in detecting what the culture is saying abouta certain type of person and then adding to the dialogue with herperformance. The fellasusually make those decisions based on what they want to see, or what theywanted to see when they were 14" (Mottram "Meryl Streep: Movies, Music andTurning 6 " 1). Kramer at a time when women's rights were at the forefront of theculture war debates. She excels in adaptability, often taking on roles that havedefined the way Americans viewed the zeitgeist of the times. Her ability to serve as a strong female presence has beenher calling and her contribution as a role model for American women to relyon their instincts. In discussing how Streep's performances galvanized the nation intocaring about the often ignored plight of females, Rachel Abramowitz writes,"In the early part of her career, critics noted that Streep often seemeddevoted to bringing compassion to women who've been marginalized, like theHolocaust survivor Sophie Zawistowski in Sophie's Choice or activist KarenSilkwood in Silkwood" (Abramowitz "Meryl Streep Enjoys the Ride Back Up"1). Her turn as a woman contemplating anextramarital affair in 1995's The Bridges of Madison County came at a timewhen the family unit was beset by divorce rates and also when the agingbaby boomer population was going through its midlife crisis. One aspect Streep seems to constantly be responding to and thusedifying is the place of the feminine in American culture. In describing why she took on the role, shesaid, "So many of the decisions are made by people who are not necessarilygoing to be entertained themselves by something like Mamma Mia! In a speech at Princeton University in 2 6, she described howshe seeks roles that can instruct audiences the way the United Nationsinstructs citizens about world peace (Altmann, "Meryl Streep Talks Aboutthe Mysterious Art of Acting" 1). The deft withwhich she acted out the role informed both discussions, giving women newideas in their consideration of their choices facing these two issues. Meryl Streep, the actress with the most Oscar nominations in history,is a compelling case study. Streep wasiconic playing a woman fighting for her right for custody of her son inKramer v. But herinfluence on American culture renders her star power worthy of even keeneranalysis. But her intuition tells hersomething is wrong with the young priest at her church, which may or maynot be the case. Indeed, Streep's ability to sniff out roles that will serve ascultural and moral allegories for the public and women specifically at atime of need is downright eerie. Even in less serious roles, Streep informs the culture at large. Her on-screen prowess is considerable; herability to elicit emotional responses from the audience is uncanny.
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