Vital Statistics of a Citizen, Simply Obtained


This movie stereotyped women to act, feel, and think a certain way. I felt that this movie portrayed women as feeling alienated, to feel below standards, and to change their appearance depending on the situation.

The egg sequence, the point they were trying to make it doesn't matter what on the outside only what in the inside of an animal, person, or object.
--Helene Dacey, 2000


This film by Rossler was one that portrayed her opinion of the subject of women and society. The film was made in the 70's and the times then and now are different. They do however hold the same message. Although times have changed, they have not totally changed. Women are still stereotyped by society and they still struggle with their own individuality. Society often holds an image of how women should be and it is hard for a woman to meet these goals and expectations. The film contained a scene where a girl was measured in almost every possible way. After the measurements were taken, they were compared to averages. The "doctor" would state whether she was above average, below average, or average. This scene portrayed how society takes measures humans and compares them to these averages. It is dehumanizing and ridiculous for anyone to try and become these numbers. Everyone in this world is different and the beauty of this world lies within these differences. In order to overcome these pressures and expectations, people need to learn to love themselves for who they are. Rossler was very strong and angry in the opinion that she presented within this film. Although I cannot relate to this strong feeling of anger, I can see and relate to some of the ideas that she presented. Fortunately, in today's world, if you love yourself and feel confident, these unfair standards and expectations can be forgotten and ignored.
--Erica Ferry, 2000


This was a very informational film, which dealt with the discrimination and degradation of women. As the film was narrated with information regarding this issue, a woman was having every inch of her body measured. When measurements were held at a standard, an associated sound was initialized.

Another part of the film showed Rossler naked, cracking brown and white eggs into a bowl. She then raises the bowl towards the camera so the yokes of the eggs are visible to the viewers. Her point of this was to show that regardless what the outside shell may look like, it is the same as the rest on the inside. All people are the same on the inside, regardless of color.

Rossler mentioned that this film was based on perception. Without paying attention to the narrative aspects too much, it seemed as if the woman being measured, not only performed the task that was intended by the examiners, but also learned a bit about herself...almost as criticism. I do believe that Rossler touches upon this issue a little bit, but not in detail. She mainly dwells on that of men critiqueing and dominating over the female gender...taking advantage of them.
--John Bartruff, 2000


Martha Rossler's Vital Statistics of a Citizen Simply Obtained was a very powerful film. The overall theme of the film was very strong and symbolic of human destruction of other humans. As is introduced in the beginning, there are three parts of the film in which the narrator considers an opera. The first part contained a doctor judging whether human naturalities are standard. With this first part, Rossler demonstrates the power we as a human race give to science. As the subject is further examined, her self becomes further damaged. This judgement that the subject endures is unnecessary, pointless, and has no realistic stand upon what is good and what isn't. After the doctors leave the room, the assistants hand the woman things to wear. Hence, these things that the woman/subject puts on are picked out for her. The subject is told what to wear as in society where there are roles in which people are told to fulfill. As the second part of the film comes to us, we see pictures of women being measured (hence, judged)with the narrator orating crimes against women. This portion of the film specifies a feminist theme. However, while feminism is on Rossler's mind, the third act once again refers to humanity as a whole. The third part contains a woman breaking eggs in a bowl and then holding the bowl so that the camera can see the eggs within. I found this to be a statement against the tyranny of science and technology. The eggs within the bowl are in their natural form. As science progresses, it compells humans to change from their natural form. (Within the film there is a concentration upon the feminist movement as women were not treated equally within society for many years.) The eggs also depict as similarity amongst all humans because we all are natural. Hence, Rossler leaves the spectator thinking about society's judgments and how credible or personally each individual should take these judgements.
--Eva Jones, 2000




Martha Rosler Work