sunoftheskye (sunoftheskye) wrote in ontd_political,

Sexism in films - for and against (rated adult advisory!)

Quelle surprise, nerd gets hot gal: She's Out Of My League (Dreamworks SK)

There is so much for a woman to hate in the multiplexes (see The Bechdel Test). But don't say us ladies aren't complicated creatures as some of the things we hate are also some of the things we love...

Sexist things that annoy me:

1. The ubiquitous pole-dancing scene. Even Oscar-winning films have them these days! Just look at The Wrestler! Watch Date Night for a send-up of the scene.

As leading lady Tina Fey says: “I'm obsessed with portraying that trade (stripping) as being as grim as I think it is. I keep thinking: 'What are they doing for the other 22 hours?' That industry needs to die, by all of us being a little bit better that that.”

2. The fact that horror still hasn't moved that far away from the 70s slasher movie. As a horror fan, it frustrates me that the promiscuous 'Topless Party Girl' is the first to die and the virgin is the heroine (for an alternative pastiche to the Scream films, see Cherry Falls).

Or the “attractive girl is in dark house, girl doesn't turn on lights or phone for help, girl scrambles upstairs or outside where girl keeps falling over while screaming as serial killer (man) advances at a snail's pace”. Aargh! That's me, screaming in frustration.

3.Female nudity. I know men are often bemused when I speak of sexism in the cinema as it seems to pass them by. When I argue that there is too much female nudity in films, I am told that no-one wants to see a man naked on screen.

Really? Who made these rules? While I can appreciate Kelly Brook in a bikini does indeed look hotter than your average man I still don't want to sit through the promised perv-fest that is Piranha 3D.

And I am sick of men only being portrayed as attractive in a comedy sense (ie the naked, slightly pudgy man in comedies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall or the tongue-in-cheek top-off shot of Bradley Cooper in A-Team that tries hard not to be too overtly sexual and threatening).

4.The totally unacceptable sexualised rape scene. Now, I get why we have violence in films. I even like violence in films (see point 5). And I even see the point of female nudity and violence against women – BUT NOT TOGETHER!

I think it is wrong to sexualise violence against women and I think so-called 'art' films are the worst. I know the average man is disgusted by these scenes but if even one mixed-up guy goes out to commit an act of violence against a woman after seeing one of these scenes (and there is plenty of evidence to show that men are affected by how women are portrayed in films), then we need better censorship.

5.Chick-flicks. Okay, a lot of women like so-called 'chick-flicks'. And a lot of women prefer Jennifer Aniston to Angelina Jolie. But there are also women (including me) who like silly action adventures, sci fi, and unsophisticated comedy with lots of toilet humour.

So please include scenes that women might like! Which leads me on to: 6.The ugly man/beautiful woman combo. Bor-ing! Yes, women are generally less shallow but cinema is supposed to be escapism.

How come it's hilarious when the ugly/fat/boring geek gets the supermodel but the plain girl gets the... (uh, wait a minute, there are no plain girls in cinema! It doesn't happen! (And I'm not talking about the beauty who disguises her looks with a pair of glasses and messy hair.) It can be funny the other way around. Bring it on.

7.The skinny brunette femme fatale. Okay, there are exceptions. But most films seem to think that feisty, intelligent leads can only be played by brunettes. This is most recently borne out by Angelina Jolie whom, when she's the 'nice' girl, has blonde hair, and when she's the kick-ass assassin, has black hair.

And even the so-called feminist writer Stieg Larsson insisted on an anorexic woman with cropped black hair as his heroine in the Millennium Trilogy (starting with the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo).

For instance, Linda Hamilton was a muscular size 12 dirty blonde when she played Sarah Connor in Terminator. These days, that would be deemed unacceptable, with waif-like proportions the way to go for action heroines. (For instance, scrawny Lena Headey got the role in the TV series). The exception was Michelle Ryan (though still a brunette!), who was heavily criticised for being too fat (!) in the remake of The Bionic Woman, despite being a healthy toned and curvy size 10.

8.The bunny-boiler/romantic. Why are stalkerish-type men rewarded with winning the beautiful women (aww, it's romantic!) while women end up being labelled as mentallers.

I agree, faint heart never won fair maiden but still, there are limits!

And 'sexist' things I love:

1. The heroic, good-looking leading man (who might scoop the women into his arms but has enough old-fashioned charm and chivalry, as well as morals, to be the perfect man, whom men want to be and women want to be with.

2. Bizarrely, Woody Allen films. I know I shouldn't, and I know he's a bit of a deviant after running off with his young daughter, but I can't resist his earlier films and I love Melinda vs Melinda. Same goes for Ingmar Bergman films and anything with Hitchcock blondes in.

3. Roger Moore as Bond, James Bond. I'm sure many will indict my opinions on this alone but I love Bond as this cheesy ladies man with the ready wit. Forget the sullen Daniel Craig, it's the tongue-in-cheek charm of The Man With the Golden Gun.

4. Any Carry On film. So dated, so sexist, but oh so funny.

5.Pamela Anderson. Ok, she's blonde and she's the sexist man's Barbie made flesh. But I still can't help liking her. She has morals and she has heart (and I loved Borat).

6.Old-fashioned black and whites. Somehow, it all seemed so romantic in the olden days when men actually respected women (I should point out I am a 30-something female!).

And often female characters were stronger. Mae West was always ahead of her time as the wise-cracking tart with a heart, while Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were often intelligent leading ladies.

7.Shallow chick-flicks. I like Jennifer Aniston. And, after seeing Salt, I've fallen back in love with Angelina. Plus I still heart the Sex and the City franchise.

Male reviewers gave it a drubbing but it was just The Expendables with pretty shoes. And I don't always want to see the worthy foreign film (which is often sexism dressed up in a pretentious package anyway).

8.Arnie, Stallone, Dolph, et al. I especially rate the scene in Total Recall when Arnie's character Quaid points the gun at double-crossing wife Lori (Sharon Stone). She sweetly whispers, Honey... you wouldn't hurt me, would you, sweetheart? Sweetheart, be reasonable. After all, we're married!” And he replies with a bullet to the brain and the line: “Consider that a divorce!”

Tags: celebrities, feminism, sexism, women

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