By Amanda Awanjo
If my love life mirrored most of the romantic comedies that have been overtaking theaters, I would be an outrageously successful and attractive woman who is wildly out of touch with the real working of the world, and a tall brown haired man with severe douche bag qualities would knock me off my high horse and into his arms. Thank God these stories are not based in reality.
In recent movies, “27 Dresses,” “The Ugly Truth” and “Dear John” women have taken a step back in character development. These women are depicted as weak willed and crazy. In all of the above examples the women are in positions of power over men in their various careers, but something is missing. That something comes in the form of a 6’2” Price Charming. These men come in a save the day, help these career women understand that while success and career are important, so is a hot man to please and take care of every night.
All the more outraging is the theme that these men are below these women in intellect and moral standing and the women are made to change in efforts to mold their wild crazed deranged feminine ways to the social forms in stereotypical male female relationships. The most enraging example of this comes in the film “The Ugly Truth.” Depicting a brilliant television executive, protagonist Katherine Heigl is cast opposite a ridiculous offensive Gerard Butler. Butler immediately realizes that Heigl’s problems lie in the fact that she is too dignified, moral, intelligent, and self aware to ever be in a relationship with a man. Throughout the course of the movie, he works to transform her into an artificial version of herself with vibrating underwear, a push up bra and blonde weave, all the while making offensive jokes about female genitalia. Heigl conditions herself to the crudeness of Butler’s character because she believes this is the only way to get a man, by dumbing yourself down and sexing yourself up.
The same story line of defective women in high positions being brought back down to earth can also be seen in “27 Dresses,” “Post Grad” and “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.” With the number of women in the work force continuing to rise, these movies and their plot lines seem to be sending a subliminal message to female viewers. For centuries men have dominated positions of power within the workplace and families, but in recent years that has been changing. With the rise of single parent households in which women are at the head; colleges where more than half the population is female and where women are more likely to graduate on time and with honors; and in the workforce where women are pushing furiously against the glass ceiling. The old status quo where women worked underneath men and found purpose in keeping house and husband is shifting to a choice between homemaker and corporate executive. These movies have very real themes. Often times women are forced to choose between family and career, considerably more often than men.
The message that Hollywood is sending by consecutively having women choose the guy over her job, is discouraging to all the women, who are focused on their career and the goals they have set, as well as to the years of struggle that women have had to fight for equal rights and pay. In the recent film, “Up in the Air” (and others films too, of course), the strong female characters drive the plot and are not attractive based on only physical beauty but their confidence and they are praised for their intelligence and drive. This is the lead that Hollywood should take, praising women for their strengths, not calling fault to their successes. Women deserve it.