As the film begins we witness two women in stereotypical feminine positions. First we see Louise, positioned as the sarcastic, hard-core waitress with a cigarette always in hand. Thus the first scene is of a restaurant, a typically feminine domain… in the kitchen. Next there is Thelma, the first glimpse reveals the housewife-type in hair rollers and housecoat. While Thelma waits on her husband, Darrell, and tells him to have a good day, he is busy acting annoyed, talking down to her, and pronouncing her complete incapability.
Thus we view the oppression of two women stuck in the day-to-day humdrum of being a woman in our society. As the film progresses with see a vast change in the lives and attitudes of these two women. They are friends and are planning to take a weekend vacation. Thelma, fearing her husband’s refusal, decides not to ask his permission at all.
This is her first act of rebellion – a very empowering scene of Thelma preparing to leave to the rhythm of .”.. and the wind catches your feet and sends you flyin’… wild night is calling.” The following scenes are shot in such a way as to assure the viewer that Thelma breaking away from her established role is a good and powerful decision. When Thelma reveals to Louise what she has done, they laugh hysterically in celebration. Thelma spurts out between bursts of laughter, “I left him a note.” The gaze interchanges between that of an anonymous third person – the viewer – as we watch Thelma and Louise driving down a highway, and the view of the two women, scanning the open landscape ahead. It is important to mention that although the third person gaze is anonymous, it does not have the dangerous and mysterious voyeuristic appeal of seeing someone who can’t see you.
... woman's voice is never louder than a man's. One example of a cathartic, yet controversial scene would be that in which Louise kills Thelma's ... a child'. Darryl's role as the domineering and protective husband / father figure has created the Thelma introduced ... a husband, defines Thelma's role. 'For Christ sake, Thelma is he your husband or your father? Its just two days... Don't be ...
They are, after all, driving down the highway in a convertible T-bird. They are not in the least concerned with who sees them and who doesn’t. They are both feminine, attractive women sporting pretty curly hair and shades. Louise is wearing a feminine scarf and red lipstick, while Thelma is in a sexy white dress.
Yet, they are adorned only for their own pleasure. No men are present, and men are the last thing the two women are hunting for. They are feminine and sexy, but not for the pleasure of men, rather for themselves. Things take a drastic turn when the women stop in a bar to take a break from driving. While Louise goes to the restroom, the man Thelma has been drinking and flirting with all night takes her outside because she needs a breath of fresh air. Then he tries to rape her, which he almost accomplishes, being that he his physical strength is superior to hers.
Thelma tries to fight back, first in the passive way that society ideologies, saying “I don’t feel good… Louise is gonna wonder where I am.” Eventually she unsuccessfully attempts other tactics, by hitting him. At the last moment Louise appears, gun in hand (Thelma brought the gun on the trip due to her fear of “loonies,” ) and tells the man to leave Thelma alone.