The movie “Evita” revealed much about gender and politics as well as other dimensions of personality and socio-economic status during the early post-war period of Argentina. Beginning with the fact that Eva was not only an illegitimate child, but also a young girl, she faced many hardships. She grew up in lower class society and desired to change her status as a poor Argentian woman. ThusEva became an actress, but struggled to stand out in Argentine society.
She wanted to do more with her life and began sleeping with aristocratic men, until she met the right one, Juan Peron who was the president of Argentina. As a woman in Argentine society, Eva could not become a politician on her own and had to rely on the power of her husband to elevate herself. Women were looked down upon when joining the political sphere, especially after the post-war period. Argentina became more regulated and Eva used Juan Peron to her own advantage. She wielded charismatic legitimacy, which made her controversial. The poor admired her as a saint because she was giving back to lower classes and she was even the administrator of labor and health care.
Eva did much for the people of Argentina, especially women and lower classes, which only encouraged the wealthy to despise her. Eva Peron was also known for writing multiple checks to the poor and the wealthier classes saw this as vote buying. She did many of these small manipulations to increase her own power among the Argentine people. The movie showed the contrasting views of the Argentine people towards Eva and Juan Peron. At one point it showed the wealthier classes of Argentina throwing food and rioting/protesting against the Peron’s and in another scene, the middle and lower classes are seen crying in celebration and praise.
It was interesting to see the perspective of a lower class citizen and how Eva was so revered because she used to be one of them but on the other hand there was the Che character who deemed Eva as being devilish and conniving. Furthermore, towards the end of the movie when Eva ran for vice-president, the higher class protested against her. They thought that a person of Eva’s background of being born an illegitimate child as well as being a poor woman did not qualify her to become vice-president. She built her political status by sleeping with other men and used radical methods to improve others of her own background. These people believed that Eva cared too about “style” and not about substance and ruling.
This could be seen in the song “Rainbow High” where she talked about impressing the people. “There again I’ve more to do Than simply get the message through I haven’t started Let’s get this show on the road Let’s make it obvious Peron is off and rolling Eyes, hair, mouth, figure Dress, voice, style, movement Hands, magic, rings, glamour Face, diamonds, excitement, image I came from the people, they need to adore me So Christian Dior me from my head to my toes I need to be dazzling, I want to be rainbow high” Here Eva sang about impressing her Argentine people with her eyes, hair, mouth, figure, jewels and celebrity. While “Evita” did seem like a superficial, over exaggerated film about Eva’s journey into politics and her use of charismatic legitimacy, there was some accuracy to that. Because Eva’s life was characterized by a darker past, it only propelled her to want more and more as she got older. While there was the small group of people who called the Peron’s fraudulent, the majority of lower and middle class Argentines admired the Peron’s leadership, especially Eva?s. As wife to Peron, Eva helped to elevate the status of women in Argentine society, which also encouraged public support when Eva declared she was running for vice-president.
However, Eva soon became gravely sick and she was forced to step down asking the people of Argentina to not give up hope. So in certain ways, the politics of Eva Peron helped to increase the status of women’s lives as well as the citizens of Argentina. Eva Peron’s story was not just a “rags to riches” one. Her story had meaning, but to what extent that is evaluated by the viewer. Eva established herself in a world where womenon their own would not have had the platform to do so. She established an Argentina as well as a Latin America that for the first time accepted women.
She was above her time in leadership and while, she grew up poor, she did care about the Argentine people, who gave her praise. This praise helped herself to become the leader that she became.