After watching the Special Edition <again> Cameron goes into detail on the corset as a metaphor for Rose, including the scene where she was originally (as written) corseting Ruth. It makes more sense the other way around in the re-write/as filmed.
Rose hates the thing, and by her final costume change she's wearing a free flowing dress sans corset.
One of the funniest scenes involved Mom dismissing Trudy and then she proceeds to imprison Rose in her corset as the poor dear child hangs on to the bedpost for dear life. During this charming Mother/Daughter moment, Mom orders Rose that she is not to see Jack again and she yanks on the corset even harder to make sure her errant daughter gets the message loud and clear!
Personally, I think this scene was ripped off from Gone With The Wind. Who can ever forget that equally memorable moment when Mammie laced up Scarlett into her corset, telling her to hang on and suck in? Being imprisoned in your underwear was probably the ultimate female nightmare and all I can say is thank God for sports bras!!!
Corset problem solved--Winslet wasn't wearing the corset for all those strenous physical scenes during the sinking part of the film. In the special dvd (I forget which disk) Winslet hikes up her skirt to reveal all she is wearing is the long 1912 style bloomers.
At the risk of sounding like a graduate school English lit cliche, maybe Rose's corset was a metaphor for the cloistered type of life she led, barely a step above jail. She was entrapped by her lifestyle which included wearing corsets which restricted movement and freedom. It was almost as bad as Chinese footbinding.
>>At the risk of sounding like a graduate school English lit cliche, maybe Rose's corset was a metaphor for the cloistered type of life she led, barely a step above jail. She was entrapped by her lifestyle which included wearing corsets which restricted movement and freedom.<<
Or maybe she was just trying to stay true to the time period she was trying to portray. After all most, if not all women of that era wore corsets people.
In Rose's day, the university was a stopping off place where young ladies prepared for their MRS degrees. College back then for women was more like finishing school rather than preparation for a serious career.
The corset scene was most definitely a metaphor for the restricted existence Rose was leading. It wasn’t just a matter of being true to period clothing. Sharon is right that most women didn’t consider careers seriously in 1912 but there was an increasing number who did. Many who had never been to college managed to carve major careers, achieving professional goals despite limitations placed on them by men, and paving the way for the modern business woman. Titanic had its share of interesting examples of emancipated gals. I’ve written of some of them ——Lucy Duff Gordon, Helen Churchill Candee, Dorothy Gibson. They are interesting beyond their Titanic relevance. To me, they’re fascinating case studies of the evolving status of women in the early 20th century.
Granted, most of these women were upper class examples of liberation, but in a world of deep class prejudice, it substantially aided the cause of suffrage to have women in high social positions breaking the mold, as it were. Society women in those days were leaders in public taste and opinion, and as more and more of them left their rarefied realms to find independence in business or politics, careers in these fields became respectable feminine aspirations and the suffrage stereotype of butchy or frumpy women was overhauled.
The post-WWI years are seen as a time when everything changed. But really the decade of the 1920s was only the RESULT of change that had been taking place for a good long time. By the 1910s, for instance, younger women of the type personified by Rose were casting off their corsets, smoking cigarettes, traveling unescorted, having romantic relationships outside the norms of society, entering careers dominated by men, in fact doing a lot of things we don’t usually associate with the Edwardian period. We think, perhaps, that because women then were still wearing flower-decked hats and lacy dresses that they were all toeing the prescribed line. But they weren’t —— wheels were actually turning in those dainty heads!
I like that Cameron captured in Rose’s character the freer spirit and thinking of the ultra-modern woman of 1912. Her inner struggle was what many real women of that day were experiencing —— some of them were our own great grandmothers!
I was idly leafing through Cameron's big coffee table book and discovered this little gem about the Corset Scene--it was originally intended for Rose to help her mother into her corset, not the other way around to show her playing the good daughter. It got switched around to depict Mom yanking Rose into her Corset Prison to emphasize the gilded cage she would be living in for the rest of her life. Sweet, huh!
But the purpose of a university is to find a suitable husband. Rose has already done that. This also bothers me. For one thing most schools and universities weren't co-ed in the early 20th century. And Cal is at least 10 years older than Rose, so it is unlikely she would have met him on campus. A great prequel idea--how does Rose meet Cal.
"But the purpose of university is to find a suitable husband. Rose has already done that."
Once again Sharon, this was to portray what the role of a woman was back in 1912. Ruth thinks that University is only good for meeting a husband, not for her daughters education. The conversation was to show how trapped Rose in her world.