Viet Given Name Essay

2045 Words9 Pages
In Trinh T. Minh-ha’s film, Surname Viet Given Name Nam, Vietnamese women are interviewed about the constant repression they faced during the time of the Vietnam War, yet what is repeated throughout the film, and as the title suggests, is that being Vietnamese, despite what they struggled through, will always remain a part of their identities. The series of interviews given in the film recount hardships experienced by women and show what they had to endure in Vietnam on a daily basis in regards to their gender identity. The expectations for women to marry and have children were unforgiving and provided another means for them to be scrutinized under even more regulations. Minh-ha’s use of song throughout the film gives the viewer a sense that…show more content…
Near the end of the film, the husband’s role is reintroduced as it relates to the four virtues and three submissions (the husband, father, and son) of the Vietnamese woman. Perhaps this claim over Vietnamese women’s lives is what makes their identity as distinct members of their country even bolder; rebelling by claiming they are worthy of their cultural identity and therefore their social identity as well. A statement like “surname viet given name nam” is one that elicits the connection that these women have to their country, something they can exclusively call their own. This is offset a bit by a line in the credits that reads “special thanks to: the husbands of the women in the film for their patient cooperation” as if it was a burden to them to have their wives speak in a documentary highlighting their individual voices. This only stresses further the need for these women to be recognized as individually valued members of
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