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Ryan Stauffer

OF COURSE women don't want to see themselves portrayed as vapid, one-dimensional stereotypes, but that doesn't mean girls (and boys) don't want the same thing they've wanted since the beginning of time: to fall deeply in love with someone and be with them forever.

HJNTIY (from what I've heard) gets this more or less correct, portraying smart, successful women who are nonetheless bewildered (as are we all) by the roller-coaster ride of the dating game and just want to find THAT PERSON.

It's not sexist to portray women as wanting to find That Person; everyone does. If anyone's regressive, it's the pundits who think that feminism means women have to pretend they're only interested in their careers. Love is important to EVERYONE, and loneliness hurts even the most brilliant and successful people. This is a universal story, and it will continue to resonate with the majority of ordinary women and men who are un-blinkered by a false sense of progressionism.

But I do agree that, for the most part, the mainstream cinema does an appalling job of depicting three-dimensional women. Someone get on that, please.

Ryan Stauffer

P.S. Not to conflate the desire for love with a desire for marriage. I think this is where films like MADE OF HONOR and 27 DRESSES make their error. People are disenchanted with idealistic, happy-ever-after images of marriage—but that doesn't mean they don't believe in love.

Bill

I haven't seen a lot of these recent movies, just the ads and the reviews etc., but I wonder if the attraction of movies like these, as with TV's Sex and the City, is less in the romance and more in seeing women as friends and interacting with one another? As opposed to guy movies where you get one loner with a big gun blowing things up. Is the credibility of the plot (a wedding or whatever) less important than the recognition, however tenuous, of women as women together, as friends? (Even if they're all stereotypes?)

I'm also a bit skeptical about the experiment. As is often found in testing, what people say and what they do are often quite different. It's not unusual for people to say what they think you want to hear. I'm not saying that's the case here, but it's worth questioning the results.

I don't have an answer to your question but it may just be that the romantic aspect of some of these movies is just a MacGuffin for something else. The characterizations may also be simplistic and stereotypical but the who of these movies is less important than the how. In other words, it isn't who the women are when interacting together so much as how they are interacting. In fact, maybe that requires stereotypes.

Just spit-ballin', as they say ...

Bill

I just realized that was a long-winded way of saying these "chick flicks" may be less about a couple's relationship, such as His Girl Friday, than with a woman and her relationships with her friends.

Christian H

I'd perhaps say that "ditzy" women are better than no women. It could also be the appeal of the actors. I mean guys go to see John McClane types.
Isla Fisher does have that cute "every girl" look; not too sensual, yet not boring. The HJNTIY cast fits that mold also.
And perhaps the ensemble is the way to go as SATC theorizes.
It is always better to have contrasted characters before single leads.
Women also are more group-oriented I think so they will be more attracted to groups of women.

I have been saying that audiences now aren't as demanding as they used to be because CGI has made anything possible so the audience has nearly "seen it all" and they want just that escape to no particular place.

I really don't get the fad towards the "ditz" because that's not the type of woman you want generally; but then Hollywood has long perplexed me. It hasn't changed my aesthetic though as I LOVE the strong, independent female, character or otherwise.

christopher

i think it's a mistake to call a few films a recipe for success. it's seeing a pattern where there isn't one. for example, why isn't 'twilight' in that mix?

i also don't see the logic of this statement: "This strikes me as simplistic, especially since all the chick flick rom-coms cited were made before our current economic downturn..."

what does it matter when they were made? more likely these were random attempts by whoever signed off on them to capture the female market. their success may well have to do with the time of their release as much as anything else. if they'd all failed or just done mediocre business we wouldn't have seen a blog post saying the reason they did was because there was something "deeper within our collective unconscious" against those films.

perhaps we simply can't underestimate the need for female lead roles, quality or no. yesterday my friend posted this comment on facebook as to why she's sticking with watching 'dollhouse': "Yeah, I'm a glutton for punishment. If its scifi and the lead is a woman who kicks butt, I have to watch. I even kinda liked the new Bionic Woman show."

Rachel Hauck

I was just as horrified that women would vote for Hilary because she was a woman or that any one voted for Obama because of the color of his skin... but they did. ;)

I love strong women movies. But I like movies that don't make them man haters or b!itches because the producer and screenwriters are afraid of real women issues. Or want to write their anger and wounds to to silver screen.

There is a whole wide world of woman out here Palin appealed to and the elite in Washington and Hollywood need to figure "her" out.

We're strong independent women who are pro life (we can't understand why women fight with nails bared to kill the unborn.) We want solid relationships with good men. We want to raise our children with our values. We believe in and love our country. We are women of faith in God.

We don't identify with NOW or lesbians or women who want to run down men. Most of the time we don't relate to women who think sleeping around is dessert.

If the women on Sex in the City were real, they'd be dead or nearly dead with sexually transmitted disease.

Can someone make a movie where there's a visible difference between kissing and sexual intercourse?

We are women who like shoes and shopping but don't necessarily need the latest Louboutin's. We are cost conscious and bargain shoppers.

We want women to be women because if we are all would-be men, who will fulfill our roll in the universe?

We like romance. We like to laugh. And we like to believe, in some small way, we are Rebecca Bloomwood who wears a green scarf in black and gray wearing NY City and gets noticed.

We might want to pretend for five minutes the hunk with the English accent "gets" us. That true love will prevail. That we will face our fears... finally.

As for the ditz character? She's the type Hollywood creates cause otherwise women would never buy a what they make some women do on the big screen. The character must be a ditz. ;)

I plan to see The Proposal, but avoid those ditzy, teen flick, every one is sleeping with every one movies. Good grief, I can't imagine coming across it in real life. (And I was a sorority girl at major, large university.)

Just my thoughts. I love your blog Billy though I occasionally disagree with you. :)

Rachel

E.C. Henry

Billy,

I'm praying for your father's recovery.

Usually your posts grab. This one... not so much.

"To each his own."

Romantic comedys AREN'T for everyone. Romance and intimacy makes some people squeamish. THUS their bent from the beginning.
The last classic rom-com I can remember watching was "The 40 Year Old Virgin." And even that isn't you typical CLASSIC fare.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

christopher

"There is a whole wide world of woman out here..."

indeed, but apparently you don't want anything to with them. if they aren't prude, straight and pollyanish they apparently aren't worth portraying on screen.

"Good grief, I can't imagine coming across it in real life."

there's a lot more to real life than your narrow charlie brown version of it, but it's not surprising you haven't noticed it.

JamminGirl

Wow! Christopher and Rachel, both your extreme responses portray the epitome of foolishness.

Christopher:
If a woman thumbs her nose at spreading her legs to every and any tom, dick or harry she's a "prude"? Maddeningly cheap!

Also, while I'm not sure what pollyanish refers to(sorry, my knowledge of white american lingo goes only so far), almost every film and television program is saturated with some portrayal of homosexuality whether they are so represented in the vast population or not. Maybe because most in the film and entertainment industry are so inclined. She has a point.

Rachel:
Do you seriously believe 'women of faith in God' fall within that achingly narrow category you described?
I've always found it offensive when men are anti-abortion but equally bewildering that some women agree with them.
While I, a woman, am not pro-abortion, how can I make a determination of what another woman should or shouldn't do with her body? A baby(person) is a vast financial, labour intensive and physically taxing responsibility that a woman/girl might just not be ready for. Who am I to tell her otherwise when I won't shell out funds to lessen her burden(as most who have had an abortion think). You might think a baby is a blessing(as *I* will agree) but until you are in her shoes, leave her right alone.

Ok, let me get off my soapbox now.

JamminGirl

Now addressing Mister Mernit's article:
honestly, sometimes these 'feminists' are like myopic geldings(referring not merely to being sterilized but to be tunnelled visioned like those horses they have to 'adjust').

What is so undesireable about being married? What is the point of being 'career successful' when you lead a barren existence that will end with your death?
Also why are the two so 'mutually exclusive'?
Often I think it's their brain-dead rigidity and extremism that has cheapened women to the point where most men expect us women to slut around with them and pay for the date to boot.

That aside, I think the problem with these 'Rom-Coms' is that they are being written by talent-less dum-wits. They draw not from real-life, but from variation of what another writer has interpreted of his/her world. This is why we have these one-dimensional sterotypes that hardly ever exist outside of the silver screen or hollywood itself.

Why are they successful? What's their competition? Seriously, it's just one after another.
You know Billy, you once asked about black romance on film and I referred to 'Daddy's Little Girls' by Tyler Perry. You may wonder at my taste if you've never seen it but here's why it was a success for me: It depicted realism. It didn't seem or feel contrived. The characters were multi-dimensional and relateable.

But then I tend to prefer films that show real-life. 'Taxi Driver', 'Ordinary People', 'Kramer vs Kramer', heck even Jane Austin's 'Pride and Prejudice'(novel, not film) depicted realism albeit with a bit of female fantasy thrown in, are all worthwhile in my estimation because I can actually learn from their very human interactions and choices.

But eh, I'm just a commenter who really should be beating out my screenplay right now.

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