The Devil Wears Prada is a story which focuses on the lives of career women and the kind of power influences they adapt in order to climb higher up the ladder. In this case, the storyline is simple and revolves around the life and career decisions of the main protagonist, Andrea who has just completed her college education and is aspiring to become a journalist. Despite having the skills, she lands up in a job as a second assistant to the editor of a magazine. The female lead, accepted the offer for this job as she thought that after completion of around 12 months, she may get other opportunities including ones which helped in honing her journalistic skills.
Reflection of the movie
In the surface, the film emphasizes on the world of fashion. The film portrays that a pretty woman is insignificant and superficial. Miranda has been portrayed as the ‘devil’ in this movie. She values her career as well as power more than she values her near and dear ones. The movie initially depicts the manner in which Andrea is awed by her supervisor, Miranda and her dreams in which she want to command power as her boss. The main viewpoint which has been presented in this movie is that, not necessarily women using power may be nice with everybody. In fact, the character portrayed by Miranda has a certain dislike for women being linked to nice and pretty as it may pose as a problem. This is because power may not be exercised by women as they want to behave nicely.
In sharp contrast to the personality of Miranda, Andrea depicts the voice and narrative women in a patriarchal society. The film portrays her to have lesser power as compared with her boss, Miranda. She is shown as a person from whom some main people have certain expectations. These people who are important in her life are her father, boyfriend and her best friend. At a point of time, when these people withdraw from supporting her decisions, Andrea is sad and faces tough times. The movie initially showcases Andrea to wear clothes which are not in sync with the fashionable attires of the other staff in Runway magazine. The film has deeper meanings in this initial portrayal of Andrea. The movie wants its viewers to understand the struggle Andrea is going through in order to begin her career and support her career decision alone. In a typical patriarchal society, women are expected to obey their parents, display support and abide to the wishes of their boyfriends and act in a similar manner as other friends in the society. In this case, the decision of Andrea to pursue a career in journalism and to join a fashion magazine as a first step to advance her career was not entirely supported by her father, best friend and boyfriend.
The film further depicts that Andrea admits her mistake by apologizing to her boyfriend. This change of character has a deeper meaning. The film tries to portray that in a typical patriarchal society, the ‘good’ woman is one who conforms to the wishes of her father and boyfriend and follows the norms established by the society. The initial character of Andrea was a reflection of a rebel in which she went against the wishes of her near and dear ones in order to support and rise high in her career. The character of Miranda is portrayed to be evil, because of her non conformist attitude. Miranda depicts the power women who know the manner in which power may be effectively applied. She believes that in order to enhance one’s career, it is essential to wisely use power. She believes in wanting power and is a role model for all the females in the society who are hungry for power.
Most movies portray animosity among female coworkers and in the surface a similar relationship has been portrayed between Andrea, the second assistant and Emily, the first assistant. However, when delved deeply, one can find that they often helped each other. The sarcasms of Emily helped Andrea in transforming herself by purchasing fashion apparels and gradually syncing with the culture of the organization. The incident in which Emily grabs and throws the ugly suitcase which Andrea was carrying when she came for the interview, has been shown to reflect that deep inside Emily wants Miranda to have a good impression of Andrea. Another scene depicts the manner in which Emily explains Andrea in detail her work functions and the manner in which she must conduct herself to gain conformity with her supervisor, Miranda. The first assistant has thoroughly displayed professionalism in training and honing Andrea. In the surface, although Emily taunts and hurls caustic comments, in the inside she has always helped Andrea to grow and prosper in her career.
Power and influence in The Devil Wears Prada
Power may be explained as the capacity of an individual to act in a specific manner or conduct specific activities. Individuals use power in order to manage interpersonal relationships, ranging from friendship, love and career decisions. Power is also used in order to compete in a male dominated world and in order to balance relationships with other individuals.
The boss of Andrea, Miranda is depicted as one of the power women in today’s world. She is ruthless and would go to any extend in order to meet desired objectives and at the same time blossom in her career. Miranda is shown to display power in both verbal as well as non verbal communication. The expensive items in her cabin, her sense of dressing and style evokes power and success. Miranda commands power by means of her gaze which exudes confidence. Her facial expression, use of dismissive and crisp language and her quiet yet powerful voice commands power.
Patriarchy is one of the most debated issues of feminist criticism. In reality, most societies are patriarchal in nature and power and influence is dominant with males. One of the most heated issues in feminist criticism is the control and balance of power. The movie displays the duality of power by presenting it in the form of two female characters. The first is that of Miranda, who is hungry for power and the next is that of Andrea who represents the struggling women in the society. She wants people to like her and although she wants to taste success, is scared to claim recognition and power. Scholars have debated on this topic by linking it with power feminism and victim feminism. Victim feminism is displayed by women who would vanquish another woman in order to gain more power. Miranda is a perfect example of victim feminism as she is shown to use Andrea in order to get to the top. On the other hand, power feminism has been displayed by Andrea who wants to get power in order to use it responsibly.
One of the traits which define power is Machiavellianism. In case of Miranda, the scores on the scale of Machiavellianism is extremely high and that of Andrea is comparatively low. This low scale of Machiavellianism in the personality of Andrea has been displayed in the manner in which she quit her work as second assistant in Runway as a protest against the conduct of Miranda towards her colleague Nigel. She also gives away her fashion apparels to Emily, the first assistant as a means to make amends to her for taking her position in the Paris fashion show. Machiavellianism is an important personality trait which demonstrates the need and hunger for power. The movie aptly shows that ambitious and power hungry people like Miranda have a successful career as compared with Andrea who quit her job and growing success in her efforts to match and conform to the norms of a patriarchal society. Deep down, the movie asserts on the importance of power and the manner in which to retain a balance in order to be successful in society. This has been portrayed by Miranda, who, on one hand has a successful and blossoming career, and on the other hand, has an unsuccessful personal life. As compared with Miranda, the character of Andrea does a lot of sacrifices in order to please and display conformism towards her near and dear ones. Although she does not enjoy a successful career like Miranda, the film portrays her to have an excellent personal life.
Organizational culture in Devil Wears Prada
An organization has some set norms and values. This is the organizational culture. The culture may even be witnessed by the manner in which people present themselves as is the case in Devil Wears Prada. Initially an individual may find it difficult to blend into the organizational culture as has been shown in the film. The work culture should be both innovative and competitive for firms to gain competitive edge over others. The manner in which professionalism is displayed and the work functions all reflect on the organizational culture.
Imitation of the organizational culture so as to blend with the objectives of the company is one of the most critical factors impacting the success of an organization. This is mainly because employees imitate and change their behaviour depending on the values and norms established in the firm. The movie, Devil Wears Prada, shows a corporate organization in which fashion statements are established. This is in perfect sync with the fashion magazine, Runway in which Andrea is working as the first assistant to the editor, Miranda.
When Andrea came for the interview, she was carrying an ugly suitcase which was taken away by the first assistant, Emily. This was mainly because; Emily was trying to help her to get selected for the job. Emily often taunted her in order to teach her to blend with the current culture by presenting herself in an apt manner. The movie showcases that it is essential to be a part of the culture in order to function effectively in a challenging environment. Initially, Andrea displayed resistance to blend with the culture in Runway magazine. She would not wear fashion accessories and would present herself in a simple manner. This was in total contrast with the stylish accessories and fashion statements made by her supervisor and other employees. This displayed her initial resistance to change and blend with the current culture. Gradually, she excellently fitted into the organization’s culture. This can be displayed in the manner in which her supervisor, Miranda choose her over Emily, the first assistant to be present in the Paris fashion show.
Communication in Devil Wears Prada
Communication is referred to the successful exchange of information by means of writing, speaking, or the application of other medium like gestures, facial expressions or body language.
The movie, Devil Wears Prada has focussed on interpersonal communication between Andrea, the second assistant and her supervisor, Miranda. Interpersonal communication is a complicated and altering phenomenon involving a minimum of two communicators. The movie has subtly displayed functions of informal communication and its significance in organizations. It has also reflected the personal lives and travails of both Andrea and Miranda, thereby revealing their personality traits to better explain interpersonal relationships and communication levels.
Most organizations have a common issue of distortion in communication from superior to subordinate. This distortion in communication has been excellently portrayed by the communications that Andrea had with Nigel or with Emily. The absolute distortion in communication helped Andrea in changing herself and moving ahead in her career.
One of the most critical elements of communication involves in listening and ensuring that communication flows smoothly across the organization. Miranda had a commanding nature which reminded her subordinates of her power and thus helped in getting things accomplished. She empowered work to her staff and ensured that her staffs were well aware about her whereabouts. She even maintained a shared file which provided all information her staff required for functioning excellently. This shows that Miranda believed in establishing clear communication channels.
The movie excellently showcases certain relationships with reference to power, the organizational culture and usage of effective communication. It portrays the importance of all these three aspects for excellent functioning of an organization. It defines relationship and presents a feminist perspective to the viewer by depicting the manner in which career women use communication, culture and power in order to compete in business functions.
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