Text Review: Parasite

Parasite is a must see film this year. It was writtened and directed by Bong Joon-ho. Among its many awards this season, Parasite won four Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, International Feature Film, and Best Orgininal Screenplay. Parasite was more than deserving of every accolade it received, and is my number one recommendation for an insightful film to watch. Bong Joon-ho explores wealth disparity in South Korea through a social satire. The plot begins as the Kim family infiltrates the home of the Park family as employees. As the film progresses, the plot line only gets more complex as the cast plays out an upstairs-downstairs family dynamic.  


The movie is set in South Korea in two separate locations. The juxtaposition between the urban basement apartment of the Kim family and the suburban mansion of the Park family parallels the relationship between the two families in the movie. In one particular scene, the Kim family comes home exhausted to find their half-basement apartment flooded with sewage water. In direct opposition, the Park family is inconvenienced by the rain ruining his camping trip. This moment marks a pivotal recognition of social divide for the Kim family. As the viewer, we are left to decide who is the real “parasite” in the struggle of class aspirationalism.  In a larger sense, their families represent a dangerous gap in classes. This injustice is often overlooked by those who ignore the realities of poverty.


Although it is completely in Korean, it has widley circulated Western audiences. In the context of this class, I think it is important to mention that most Americans, myself included, do not watch films in other languages often. We are missing out on so much cultural awareness and insight by only limiting ourselves to movies that fit our Western agenda. This is why I wanted to highlight Parasite as a film that really opened my eyes to a gap in my education as well as excellent commentary on wealth disparity, and recommend this film as material for this course in the future. 


Women in the Workplace

A systematic injustice that is very prevalent and constricting in our modern world is women in the workplace. My roommate is a chemical engineer major and I witness her struggles daily. Today, she was finishing a group project that she had worked very hard on while the men in the group conversed about their activities of the day. She is a very quick worker and extremely intelligent, so she ended up taking a leadership role on the majority of the assignment. Although she completed the assignment  single-handedly, the group of men decided the only “fair” way of assigning a top contributor was to play a game of rock-paper-scissors. Following this match, she was placed below a guy in her group. In a second instance she could not find a bathroom in an engineer building. There were men’s bathrooms on every floor, but there were only two women’s bathrooms in the whole building. While this is not a major inconvenience it represents a larger issue in the professional world: there are significantly less women than men in STEM and business fields. 


Although these are small examples, they represent the gender disparity in professional settings. In one of my business classes this semester, I learned that the national average for STEM fields is 27%  females. Additionally, when looking at C-suite level executives only 20% are women. These statistics are baffling to me as most of my female peers are business or STEM majors. Why are we so under represented in the professional field? We all take the same classes in college, have virtually the same intelligence and social skills, so what makes a company so much more likely to hire and promote men? This question can only be answered on a systemic level. Women are constantly ignored, talked over, corrected, and made to feel inferior by their male counterparts. Even when they do excel, their efforts are discredited and overlooked. Girls grow up being taught boys are better at math, it is no wonder that there are significantly less women engineers in college than men. This translates to a low percentage of women in the workforce, and women feeling unable to speak up when they are mistreated in a professional setting.


In relation to our content this semester, the gender gap demonstrates De Beauvoir’s one/other theory. Although women may be equally as competent in the workplace they will always be the ‘other’ because the system always looks to serve a patriarchal narrative. In this way, meaningful change has to occur at an institutional level. Big name organizations, companies, and firms also need to take ethical responsibil for this issue.



Women in the Workplace: Why Women Make Great Leaders & What You Can Do to Retain Them


Week 11 Context Presentation: The institution of marriage in Interpreter of the Maladies

The cultural clash between Indian and American ideals is a central theme throughout Lahri’s “Interpreter of the Maladies.” In this week’s reading, I wanted to explore the institution of marriage in both cultures to contextualize the relationship between the Mr. Kapasi’s and the Das’s. 

Arranged marriages have been a part of Indian tradition since Hinduism become prominent in India in 500 BC. Even today upwards of  “90 percent of all Indian marriages are arranged” (Dhoklia 1). Matches are made by the nayan, a family friend or relative of the bride and groom based on religion, caste, age, profession, and physical appearances. Although marriage has been modernized in India, 74% of young people still prefer arranged marriages (Dhokila 1). This is for good reason too, 1/100 couples will get divorced from an arranged marriage, one of the lowest divorce rates in the world. The constructs of marriage in India promote traditional gender roles, which we have studied extensively in the class as they relate to one’s identity.


In direct contrast, American marriages often lack tradition and idealize the concept of love. Within the union the partners are often not as bound to gender roles because American society is centered around freedom of the individual. Mr. Kapasi is mystified by the Das’s kids calling their parents by their first name, which is a prime example of informality in American culture. Even though the notion of marrying for love is romanticized, the American Psychological Association says that 50% of marriages end in divorce. This statistics pulls into question whether marrying for love guarantees happiness.


In the “Interpreter of the Maladies” the Kapasi’s had an arranged marriage while the Das’s married for love. However, both of these couples face adversity in their marriage. Although Mr. Kapasi and Ms. Das are divided in many ways, they seek eachother out as outlets for internal pain. Ultimately, It is up to the reader to determine how culture affects marriage.


Works Cited


Ahluwalia, Rishika, et al. “Rishika Ahluwalia.” Postcolonial Studies, 13 Sept. 2020, scholarblogs.emory.edu/postcolonialstudies/2014/06/20/arranged-marriages-matchmakers-and-dowries-in-india/. 

Dholakia, Utpal M. “Why Are So Many Indian Arranged Marriages Successful?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 24 Nov. 2015, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-science-behind-behavior/201511/why-are-so-many-indian-arranged-marriages-successful?page=1. 

“Marriage and Divorce.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/topics/divorce-child-custody.