In terms of Rusty being a gold digger, I don't entirely disagree. Rita Hayworth played a gold digger in other films - Gilda, for one. But, she wasn't really a gold digger in that, either. Just pretended to be.
The point is, while there is no single paradigm, it's common for sex symbols to play gold diggers - Harlow (Dinner at Eight) in the 30s, Monroe (Gentleman Prefer Blonds) in the 50s. Those two were pure gold diggers. Hayworth in about 1/2 her films (Cover Girl, Gilda, Lady from Shanghai, Carmen) is a variation of the gold digger - it plays into Hayworth's characters, but her persona was much different in that she was never tacky, cheap, dumb or easily bought. It was also not a funny gag. Rita was modern, intelligent, and independent - so her characters had those same strengths, and they kicked in at some point in the film. If she was a gold digger, it had to do with her salvation and survival. Harlow's gold digger lays in bed all day wearing fancy negligees and eating bon-bons. The amount of gold digger allowed in RH characters was based how studios shaded the shifting ideals of women. If she was sinister (Shanghai) then she paid a price for being a gold digger - by death. If she had a heart of gold - she revealed that through song and dance - and ultimately ended up with the right guy (Cover Girl). Gilda and Carmen are more complex.
So while Rusty might have Gold Digger intincts, she's justified because she's tired of working - she has clearly paid her dues. The problem is Rusty has too much talent to be a Gold Digger. Which is why in the end, she goes back to Brooklyn - to dance. This concept also plays into Monroe's persona - in real life and in film. See, I'm so enteligint.
---I grew up in, was the time of the war plants, that could not have been run 24 hours a day without women. My Mom worked in one on the swing shift. My Dad was too old for the draft so worked at the Post Office for the duration. After the war, Mom worked outside the home for money, off and on the rest of her life. Being a Housefrau and kids just wasn't enough for her.
I watched my tape of "Cover Girl" yesterday. I cringed at Rusty cowtowing to pouting Kelly. Every time he gets that hang-dog look, she has to pretend that she isn't what she is - a talented woman on the way up.
I don't remember as a kid, seeing this in a theater, thinking the message was "get back to your kitchens and have babies, and smile pretty for your Man", but I see it now.
It is the way with power - if you have it, you want to keep it. And men have always had the power.
But Rita was gorgeous, and she ended up a real life princess, even if it didn't last.
"When I am old I will wear purple with a red hat that won't go and won't suit me"