Women, only shown a fraction of their character

It is made clear from the beginning of the movie that the men in School Daze are what the narrative centers around. Their inner struggles with identity that translate into their outward struggles of inclusion and exclusion from certain on campus groups are the heart of the film and the women in the movie are either subplot additions to their lives or carry weak storylines in comparison.

For example, the argument could could be made that the main characters are Dap, Big Brother Almighty, and Half Pint. Their personal struggles and issues with Mission affect all the characters in the film– and shape the plot line for everyone else. The female main characters (“main” meaning they have the most speaking lines and are closest to the male main characters) Jane and Rachel, receive their entire storylines in relation to the men in their life. For example, Rachel is dating Dap and they have been dating since their freshman year at college. She has always wanted to join a sorority but has always been afraid to do so because she knows Dap will disapprove. Thus, her inner struggle for most of the film stems from Dap’s own insecurity with fraternities and sororities. Her friends in the movie aren’t as obviously connected to male group on campus, but they are also never really shown. They are only around to comfort or confront Rachel about her relationship with Dap. Jane also falls under a male shadow. The only scene in the movie where she and her sorority are not made in immediate relation to Big Brother Almighty and his fraternity is the hair salon scene. Jane and her sorority sisters are made to look like the Gamma Rays little helpers, whether it is with the step show or during their pledging process. Their sorority exists because it validates the Gamma Ray fraternity. It is a shame that the women and their own struggles that are not in relation to boys are never explored fully. The full black woman experience at an HBCU is one worth analyzing and putting up on screen and I wish that Spike Lee had worked hard to do that.


Author: Dani

Film enthusiast. Firm believer that Spike Lee is the most cerebral filmmaker post Hitchcock.

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