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Analysis: Deconstruction of a "Chick Flick"
Sunday, 2004 April 25 - 5:40 pm
There are many movies which have been tagged with the not-so-flattering label "chick flick". Sometimes people think a movie is a chick flick because it features women in strong leading roles. But I'm not sure that's really what it is.

We men go to great lengths, sometimes, to distance ourselves from the dreaded "chick flick". "Steel Magnolias"? No thanks. "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood"? Bleah. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? Aieee.

Why do we dislike these movies? Are we threatened by the strong female characters? Do we dislike movies that focus on emotions and relationships? It might be these things, but another theory has occurred to me: we dislike these movies because of their portrayal of men.

The common theme seems to be that male characters are one-dimensional and easily categorized. You have the sensitive dreamboat prince, the sex-crazed villain, the befuddled but lovable dad, the rough but alluring tough-guy, the sweet and harmless geek... in a chick flick, you just don't see male characters with complex emotions and deep thoughts. That seems to be reserved for the women.

Now, "guy movies" do the same thing to women: the female characters are just as easily categorized. There's the beautiful but supportive wife/girlfriend, the whiny and bitchy ex-wife/girlfriend, the patient and loving mom, the sinister dominatrix, the damsel in distress, the neurotic and inscrutable single girl... the women are concerned with family, safety, and shoes, but never philosophy, achievement, or enlightenment.

I think both of these kinds of movies are dangerous, because they perpetuate the divisions between men and women that keep us from having healthy relationships. Women: it may be easy for you to think that all men want is food and sex and sports, but that thought will prevent you from ever understanding what a man really needs. Men: it may be easy for you to think that women are needy, weak, and illogical, but that thought will prevent you from ever understanding what a woman really needs.

The fact is, we are all capable of complex and subtle emotions, and to me, the really good movies are the ones that recognize that.
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Posted by Ken in: movies

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