Claudine – Romantic vs Sexual Deviant

Consider the conversations we’ve had about love object vs sex object and write about how it relates to Claudine. I would like you to read this article, “Six Annoying Women Character Tropes in Black Romantic Comedies,” there is a section that relates to Claudine. I also added an article about The Moynihan Report that provides some background history to period the film was shot. Incorporate the readings from our class, plus our discussions about the above topic with the two articles into your post. I am linking the movie, Claudine so you can watch the end or re-watch the entire film if you want.

Warning: Before posting, write your thoughts on a word document. Please check for spelling and grammar and read it out loud to make sure your points make sense. If possible have someone read them as well, to make sure your argument/thoughts are clear. There are a lot of good ideas that are getting lost in unstructured writing. Make sure you are presenting your ideas to the best of your ability.

 

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24 thoughts on “Claudine – Romantic vs Sexual Deviant

  1. I think that at least one of the purposes of the film ‘Claudine’ was to show Claudine’s transformation from a sex object to a love object. In the beginning of the film Roop’s only goal is to have sex with Claudine, which he does on their first date. He has no long term plans for being with her and is even warned by one of his coworkers that a relationship could potentially be a problem, as he would then have to provide for her and her children. By the end of the film Roop realizes that he loves her and is willing to make the financial sacrifice to be with her. The final scene in which Roop and Claudine get married shows that he has ultimately begun viewing her as a love object and that she is – emotionally – in a better place because of his acceptance of her (and her children). Though I do agree that, given Claudine’s circumstances, she could be classified as a “Welfare Queen”, I think her characterization is more complex than that described in the first article on black female character tropes. In my opinion, Claudine’s character was not an attack on black single mothers using welfare. Her purpose was to show the viewer that black women in her situation are marginalized and discriminated against unfairly. I felt that the filmmaker led the viewer to root for Claudine, rather than dislike her. In fact, Claudine even blatantly acknowledges the stereotyping she is subjected to when she gets angry at Roop for being shocked by how many children she has. She responds to his shock by sarcastically replying “Haven’t you heard about us ignorant black bitches…? I’m living like a queen on welfare”. This scene exemplifies how fully aware Claudine is of what people think about her and how she has struggled because of it. In regards to the Moynihan Report, the scene in which Claudine’s daughter reveals that she’s pregnant exemplifies how the cycle of poverty repeats itself, as mentioned in the article.

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    • Olivia, great observations! I agree with a lot of your comments and you used good examples to make your point. Although, I disagree that Roop’s only intention was to sleep with Claudine. I think he fell for her immediately and it was Claudine who didn’t expect the relationship to last. If I remember correctly, just as she starts to have feelings for him and thinks there is potential is just when Roop gets scared off by the financial responsibility of the relationship and the reduction of his income. In comparison to Coffy, Claudine examines and challenges the stereotypes traditional held by Black women during that period instead of promoting them in the guise of a Super Female Hero!

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  2. In my opinion, the screen writers of “Claudine” wanted to show Claudine’s transformation from being sexually deviant to being a romantically positive woman. In the beginning of the film she’s seen as the struggling single mother raising 6 kids while working a dead-end job. Living off government assistance, she is able to get by. The “Welfare queen” caricature is first seen when the social worker does a routine check up on her living arrangements and Claudine hides a surplus of expensive things that she probably bought with welfare money. When Roop courts her, he has the sole intention of sleeping with her and moving on (sex object). His co-worker hints to him that he should also focus his interests in just sleeping with her because a relationship would be too dangerous financially for him and for Claudine. After numerous interactions he falls in love with her, and at the end of the film he finally marries her. Emotionally she grows throughout the film. In the beginning her past life of “sexual deviance” led to her being in a psychological box (welfare queen). But after meeting Roop, she is transformed into being a love object, ultimately shedding her scales of a caricature. Personally I think the movie is more complex than a caricature. What I didn’t like about the movie, and most romantic films, is that women ultimately define themselves through the patriarchy that they fought so hard against. I want to see women play stronger roles where they aren’t weak welfare queens, but women who hustle as hard as any man to provide for their children.
    The article on the Moynihan report was very interesting but I disagree that the legislation regarding welfare has changed drastically for the better. As recently as last year I watched a C-Span litigation about the proposed bill that further investigates people on government assistance. There are rules involving government assistance that still persist today that further supports poverty. People that live in public housing can’t allow convicted felons to live with them. Usually when a person is released from prison, he may indulge in the same criminal life because the government and society won’t grant opportunities for you to succeed.

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  3. I want to base my response solely on the relationship standards that are being set for the children, while also staying in conjunction with the romance and sexual deviance topics. One focus would be when she was asked by her daughter if she loved Rupe and instead of taking into consideration that one day her daughter might be of age to be in love, she just simply made it seem as if love was an emotion that shouldn’t be paid attention to.. Meanwhile in their household, the topic of sex and pregnancy is one that is thrown around on a daily basis, and one that has caused her teenage daughter to end up pregnant. This basically shows that that sexual deviance that is supposed to exist was not there, since the first night when she slept with Rupe and came home to the questions that she couldn’t answer about whether or not she had slept with him. To me these are questions that tend to set up a foundation for how children go about with their romantic lives as adults. I mean it all worked out in the end when they ended up getting married, and it was actually a man that the children grew a bond for, coming from the first time they met and everyone shunned Rupe.
    Not to say that I agree with the term “Welfare Queen” but in the article about the Six Annoying Women Characters I kind of want to lean towards the side of the article, because even though we don’t really know where the fathers of her kids are, the fact that a positive role model could come into their life and place them on the right path is something that is true and that was proven in the movie.Claudine is not everything wrong in society, because no matter what goes on, she is still there for her kids as that kind of super-mother. Who tries to tell her children what to do, but also loves them no matter what path they choose to go on.

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    • Korede and Zachary, ypu both bring some interesting questions about the role Claudine plays as a mother figure and love interest vs sexaul deviant. I dont think her character came truly be considered a sexual deviant but there are certainly elements there. I also agree with you both that she is not the typical stereotype of a Welfare Queen. She does, as you Zach, do her best to provide for her children but there are challenges that go beyond her control. We can also go on about the role Roop plays as well as a man, father and provider. Claudine was a landmark film for its time in terms of the various issues it attempted to address.

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  4. Claudine was a good movie in my opinion because this is the first time I’ve ever seen a movie about a black woman with 6 kids being loved and ultimately marrying a decent man. Claudine is seen as a sex object in the beginning of the film first because of her 6 children, which leads people to believe that she was not careful in her choosing of “baby daddies” and all her kids have different dads. And second on the bus when her and her bus friends talk about sex openly expressing that Claudine is feeling funny because she hasn’t “gotten any” in a while. We can also add a third by examining her non verbal behavior towards Rupert when she sees him outside the house of the people she works for. She gives him the flirtatious eye, and even uses a small piece of trash as an excuse to go talk to him and flirt, leading viewers to believe that she is sexually aggressive as she made the first move. Another factor in Claudine being a sex object is the fact that she sleeps with Rupert on the first night. This is not what the “wife” or “madonna” does. However, over the course of the movie, Claudine turns into a love object as Rupert clearly has genuine feelings for Claudine and as you can see, in the end they get married. Claudine would be branded the “Welfare Queen”, however, she isn’t the stereotypical ones that I have read and heard about and the movie shows the complex life of black women on welfare. Claudine is not the “i don’t need a man”, “all i need are these checks”, “Im buying Gucci and Chanel with these checks, forget the kids”, “Im happy to be on welfare” type of “Welfare Queen”. She clearly hates being on welfare, has to work on the down low to provide extra money for her kids and well being because the checks aren’t enough, wishes she never has to hide her “luxury” possessions, and has to defend her sexuality to the social worker who asks her about sleeping with a man. After the social worker catches Rupert in the house, Claudine proudly calls him her MAN! And even after Rupert disappeared on her and then comes back, she takes him back which lets me know that she loves him and that she wants to be a love object.

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  5. Personally, I enjoyed this movie to the extend that the current content that they showed in the movie was interesting and great to actually picture and have a visual view of the times where being on welfare was such a chaotic thing happening in the household. although me saying that, what I didn’t particularly enjoy was the fact of the lack of development through the characters, specially both Claudine and Roop. I was very interested to hear about his kid’s perspectives because he ultimately falls into the category of a father leaving his spouse and children, but yet he is still redeemed because he took care for another’s kids? I don’t think so.

    In both articles it showed that black women during this time suffered up until a point of the difficulty and the loss it is to see these black men leaving their families away, and that because of this those children tend to ultimately do the same thing, out of fear. I see the change that Claudine shows while seeing the impact that Roop gives towards the children, and that even them in some sense are ending up in the image of having children while not even being properly being in a place where they could actually afford to do so. I do think that this loss and the shape of this affects the structure of family, but yet it depends on the person from such household and ultimately the decisions that he/she makes of his own.

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  6. In my opinion the movie Claudine shows Claudine as both the love object vs sex object. On the one hand black women are usually seen as they have sex without love. There is a part in the film where Claudine is in the bed with Roop and she is telling him that her daughter asked her if she loves him. Throughout the entire film we never hear Claudine say this to Roop. At the same time he never says it to her. On the other hand although these words were never actually said I can see that Claudine does want to be loved. She gets very excited when Roop decides he is going to marry her. He then runs away from her and her kids. He says he running away so he doesn’t have to pay child support but is the real reason because he was just using Claudine for sex and now that he got what he wanted he’s really running away from her? Sorry I have answered this to the best of my ability but I am having a hard time with this posting.

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  7. In the beginning of the film, characteristics of a “Welfare Queen” can be seen within the protagonist Claudine. She was a single mother, who had six children, lived off of the government and struggled everyday. She attributed this title based on a stereotypical role that was created within that time period. Claudine herself did not fall victim to such title as she worked hard and strived to prove herself to her kids as well as her relationship. In the beginning, she did not want to fall victim to a man and later to “love”, yet throughout the film we learn that Claudine’s stereotypical role as some might perceive her as a sexual object, shifted to a romantic relationship as she extended her family and brought forth a male role model for her kids.

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  8. In the beginning of the movie, Claudine is seen as a sex object. With the opening scene with her 6 kids all different skin tones and different looks you can see that Claudine has had many interactions with different men, which makes her appear as loose. Also the scene when she meets Rupert and comes out with grapefruit skins to flirt with him, that can come off as seductive and lastly when they have their first date and she sleeps with him on the first night ties back to the issue of her having so many kids in the first place.

    As the movie goes on you see the struggle she has to go through in order to keep her household together and still get finances. The article discusses how she plays the welfare queen, which I didn’t really agree with title and its relation to Claudine because she was actually ashamed of being on it and using the system, but it’s was a way to survive and try to make a nice living for herself. I found it t interesting how the Moynihan report played a role in the movie when the social worker was questioning her love life and the presence of a man being around. How during this time having a man made or break your income. This puts Claudine in a tough place because she has the system worked out in a way that she can manage, but doesn’t want that to be her lifestyle and genuinely has feelings for Rupert. This is when she transitions into a love object and starts to leave the life of cheating the system and goes on to claim Rupert as her man and later on takes him back to marry Rupert. Claudine now has a more stable lifestyle and is seen as less sexually deviant.

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  9. The film Claudine depicts its protagonist as both a sex object and love object. Her sexual deviance is quickly presented in the commencing scene as we see her walk down the street with a motley crew of her six children, who all appear to have different fathers. It is further emphasized in Claudine’s actions as she found a trivial reason to interact with Rupert by going to throw the grapefruit away as he collected the garbage. Though she showed apprehension, her sexual needs are what ultimately drove her to accepting Rupert’s request to go on a date. Moreover, she ends up sleeping with him on the first night. All these elements contributed to the perception that both Claudine and Rupert did not have much expectation for the relationship besides sex. However, they soon begin developing emotional feelings for each other and Rupert professes that he will never leave Claudine, slowly transforming her into a love object. After abandoning the relationship, Rupert realizes that he has actually fallen in love with not only Claudine but all her baggage (the six children) as well, completing the change of her character into a love object.
    Claudine did not completely personify the “Welfare Queen” archetype. She seemed, to me, to be on welfare out of necessity, as her job alone was not enough to take care of her children. She was not abusing the system, wasting the money on designer clothing and using it to make frivolous purchases as the article described. Claudine utilized the system for the needs and survival of her family.

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  10. In the film “Claudine”, we see Claudine transform from a sex object to a love object. In the beginning of the film, it seems as though Rupert has an interest in Claudine sexually. Throughout the film, it is evident that she grows on Rupert and that he not only loves her, but cares for her children as well. At the end of the film, she becomes the love object completely when they get married. In the film, you can see a change in Claudine emotionally. In parts of the film, the subject of financial hardships and welfare come about often. Claudine is perceived as a “Welfare Queen”, and in some cases she can be categorized as such but in my opinion, her character is more complex than that. I don’t think that Claudine’s character represented a generalization of all black single mothers using welfare, but for the audience to view how black women are marginalized and to give the viewers a character to give support to. One of the scenes I liked in the movie is where she recognizes the stereotypes that are said about black women (especially those on welfare). This, along with the scene where Claudine’s daughter reveals she’s pregnant relates to the Moynihan Report because they both show how the poverty becomes a cycle that will constantly be repeated.

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  11. FIrst of all I loved the movie. I think the term “sexual object” is vague because she is human and its a universal truth that human are not equal to tool or object. As a man, to say she depicts as “sexual object” means that we have already put ourselves in bias view. In the beginning of movie, Claudine depicts of a woman who wants a life partner, a man who she can shoulder on. It can be understood that her relationship with her previous partners didn’t work out because I believe a lot of woman goes through that phase and thats what I loved about this movie. She also shows her frustration when asked by Rupert about her children,”haven’t you heard about ignorant black bitches.” She frustrated in a way that how men view black women in the society and their roles. In addition, It also seemed realistic with the view of Bronx, streets and Claudine’s apartment. Claudine really brings out the fabric of woman’s nature. Despite of all the frustration she can be seen as someone who has strong faith in love yet who awakens Rupert and transforms his views on women.

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  12. I honestly disagree with those who say Claudine started as a sex object. I think what started as was the mother who worked and was on welfare and felt the weight of the responsibility of six kids. Therefore she not necessarily see herself as having time for love even though it was something she probably desired. If you noticed, she eye goggles at Roop before we are given any indication that he had any interest for her.I believe she wanted to entertain the very idea of being romanced by man and it just so happens that they had sex on the first date. I do believe that she was very evidently displayed as the welfare queen. What resonated for me was how much it was a factor in her life and how she was dependent on it. This evident because she was willing to hide Roop fromt he case worker just to ensure she stayed on welfare. I do believe that part of the reason as the professor comments is because she did not expect the relationship to last. There were a couple times were she tried to hint that perhaps the relationship had ran it’s course. It is multiple things and i feel that it is because she was trying to keep the life she already had secured and intact without any outside distractions.

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  13. Claudine is an interesting piece of work because the Romantic and or Sexual Deviant aspect of her character wasn’t clearly evident. I saw Claudine as a representation of an everyday struggle which i can relate to as well as most of the African American community. I feel Roop was like an escape from the norm. To me he wasn’t a love interest or somebody to do, he was just an escape in the beginning. The everyday ware and tear of being on welfare and working with six children and no husband can do damage mentally physically and psychologically. So I saw Roop as an escape. A change of scenery if you will, a change of pace something different. Sex became something she did with this escape, it was the stress reliever. Then as sex became normative other aspects started to open up which made for a romantic situation. What I mean by that was feelings came into play! Real feelings, life circumstances forced real feelings to be revealed whether good or bad at the time, creating a love story, creating that material that would lead up to the big awwww at the end because it all worked out. I must say the times have changed because I don’t know too many dudes that will take on a woman with six kids and on welfare.

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  14. I’m glad to see the comments regarding the film. It appears the majority enjoyed it and were able to see how Claudine transitioned from a sex object to a love object. Also, I like that many of you were able to address the isssues and dynamics around the concept of a Welfare Queen and how that plays a role in the destruction of the black family. Claudine, as I mentioned before, was not the typical Hollywood film of its time. I do believed it tried to look at some of the challenges of the time regrading the Black community, many that still exist time and move beyond stereotypes and charactures.

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  15. There is no doubt that the screen writers of “Claudine” were trying to display her transformation of character throughout the film. In the beginning of the film, we are introduced to a “welfare queen” named Claudine. Claudine was depicted as the typical black woman sustaining everyday needs for her and each of her six children with the help of welfare (public assistance). In addition to being depicted as a “welfare queen”, Claudine is also characterized in some ways as a sexual deviant. Toward the middle of the film, Claudine is approached by a sanitation worker named Roop who evidently has no other intentions with Claudine other than to have sexual relations with her. Although Claudine appeared to be making ends meet in her household, some challenges were beyond her control. For example when there was a routine visit in order, they would have to hide the more expensive items in the house to appear that they were living way below their means. Throughout the film it is interesting to see the transition of Claudine’s character go from sexual deviant (object) into a love symbol (object). Although Roop did not have the best intentions with Claudine in the beginning, in the end he winds up marrying her and taking on the responsibility of her 6 children. In relation to the articles, Claudine was a typical black woman of her time trying everything she could in order to make ends meet. While she was interested in Roop for the influential aspect of his character, he was only seeing things on the surface. All in all, in my opinion the screen writers have done a great job at transforming Claudine’s character from sexual object into a love object–ultimately shining that positive light on black women in film.

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  16. After watching the film “Claudine” I feel that Claudine was more of a Love object than a sex object. When Roop and Claudine first met she didn’t really want to give him the time of day because she thought he was just an ordinary garbage man. But after she seen how he handled her employer when asked to take the heavy trash out she took an interest in him. I don’t think Roop ever looked at Claudine as just a sex object from the start because after all he lived in building full of prostitutes and if all he wanted was sex he could have easily have gotten it. From their very first date Roop was a gentlemen. After they slept together they both agreed that their relationship would be nothing more than a fling. But I feel they both secretly liked each other more than they led each other to believe. Another reason why I think Roop never looked at Claudine as a sex object is because he still came back to court Claudine even more after they slept together knowing she had six kids of her own. Most men who just want sex would never get back in contact with a woman who had six kids once they’ve slept together but Roop started taking on the role of a positive male role model for her children. Some might say Claudine went from being a sex object to a love object but I like to think that they knew all along that their relationship would grow into something more than what they wanted it to be. Claudine was comfortable with the idea that it wouldn’t last because she knew most men wouldn’t be able to handle the fact that she had six kids and eventually leave. While Roop had the idea that he didn’t want to get to involved because he was scared to take on the burden of being the main provider but not because he didn’t love her.

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    • Great observation regarding how Roop didn’t view Claudine as a sex object. He had his choice of women at his disposal and although he wanted sex from her he didn’t push himself on her like the male characters from Coffy and She’s Got to Have it. In my opinion, this film attempted to go beyond the typical stereotypes of black male/female relationships and attempted to show some real depth and emotion between two people who are stuck in very real challenging situations.

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  17. Unlike most of my colleagues, I do not believe that Claudine started off as a sex object. Before Roop attempted to court Claudine, she had stopped in place to gaze at him. Evidently, these demonstrate a sign of interest for one another from both Roop and Claudine. I believe many may have perceived Claudine solely as a sex object rather than as an interest for Roop after this scene because he had initiated their encounter. However, what many failed to take into account were the gender roles that influenced courting and romance between a man and a woman. Although Claudine had initially taken interest in Roop, it was essentially Roop’s “role” as a man to woo Claudine in hope that she would accept his offer to take her out on a date. Perceptions of Claudine as a sex object may have strengthened due to the fact the she had sex with Roop after their date, and stayed the night at his place. However, I believe that sex was mutually desired by the two. If Claudine truly did not want to have sex with Roop, she could have easily denied seeing as though Roop was polite and gentle towards Claudine throughout the night, and would have respected her wish. Furthermore, Roop’s decision to continue pursuing Claudine after their first night together shows that he is committed to having a possible relationship with her rather than just using her as a sex object.

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  18. I believe that this movie shows the true transformation of Claudine that many movies would not show. Her transformation is from a sex object to an actual love object because of the way the film was being shown from start to finish. If you see the beginning the ladies say Claudine has nto gotten sex in a while which means that she had been going around with men for quite some time. The example you see this to be true are the different kids in which she has and these kids show a more concern to their mother’s ways. The children know that with Roop coming in there can be a chance that there might be another child if she is having sex that is why i believe they show a hard time on him. Roop looks at Claudine as a sex object a black female that needs a man but only needs a man for sex which is not true. Claudine tries in the beginning to play hard to get but it the idea of she feels safe and more relaxed with Roop that she starts off having sex on the first night. but Claudine shows she is changing and moving closer to Roop with the idea she knows he is a serious man. The reason i believe she is more of a love object is not only the marriage but the protection she tries to give to her children with a real fatehr figure in their life. I believe that the love object is best because she wants her family to accept Roop and in the time that they do she herself connects. The children and her personal self creates a change from the sex object of having the topic of pregency and sex to the love object and the topic of a real stable family or a more better family.

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  19. Great comments! Even though some of you have different opinions about whether Claudine is a sex or love object you are allmaking some good points to your arguments. Good work!

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  20. Claudine is set up to stand in as the stereotype of the Welfare Queen. She has 6 kids whose fathers aren’t in their lives, she’s living off of government money and has a job therefore she is “abusing” the system. Since Claudine is portrayed as a Welfare Queen in the beginning of the movie, we are not expected to see her in the same light as a madonna. Claudine is seen as a sex object to Roop initially, but she transforms to a love object. This shows that Black women were deserving of love.

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    • The welfare queen was a common stereotype from the lates 60’s to the early 90’s. You dont really see or hear about these stereotype as much in the news or popular media. True, poor Claudine is far from the Madonna or the wife. She actually has more elements of the whore since we first see her as a sex object. Through her challenging relationship with Roop, she eventually moves from sex object to a romantic love object.

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