“Girl With a Pearl Earring”: Referencing the Viewing Guide and the Unit 1 PowerPoint presentations: You saw in the film a culture that was, in some ways similar to but also different from our own. It directs you toward some societal aspects that we share with 17th Century Dutch culture: a stratified social order based on the institution of social class and stratification based on gender status.
In social sciences, the term agency is defined as “the ability of humans to make choices and exercise free will even within dominating structures. “Structures” are large forces such as economy, social organization, political organization (government, but also “ground-level” politics governing interaction between two people).
a) Drawing on the introductory reading and PowerPoints and your own experience in your “culture of orientation” (the culture you grew up in): compare/contrast what you saw going on in the film with power relations in workplaces you may have been associated with.
b) What could have been the motivation for Griet to choose exercising agency in her situation in the form of proactively “giving herself” to Pieter, even though doing such would have gone against her religion?
c) What do you think was her strategic logic behind turning down Pieter’s proposal when marriage to him would bestow upon her a satisfactory ‘place’ in her community and a relatively secure life—with plenty of meat for herself and her parents?