Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Thanks For the Misogyny, Hollywood

I've written before about movies, and how I've found so many of them to be incredibly boring even though they're considered to be sooooo great – something that I never understood until I got more into feminism and could finally put words to what was bothering me. Or just felt like I was allowed to express what was bothering me.

Since then, it's become easy to pick out the constantly repeated tropes that made me so uncomfortable and have done so much damage to the minds of all the humans in all the societies which are exposed to them. One of the worst of these tropes is the giving of women to men as rewards. It's the same pattern every time. Here is a man. Problem arises. Man solves problem. Woman then falls for man no matter how shitty he was before and during said problem solving. The woman is, of course, very conventionally sexy. If she wasn't at first, she is now.

And the problem can be anything, from alien terrorists are trying to destroy the entire world to “I can't remember where I put a thing.” The men can be gruff and violent and totally closed off, they can be any size and they can be outside of the conventional attractiveness bubble, they can be high all the time and they can totally misogynistic and terrible at everything. They can solve the problem with violence or with cheating or by pure luck, and they get the sexy women.

I could go on and on about how fucking awful this trope is and how it tells men that they deserve women as a prize for the slightest accomplishment, that they deserve women no matter how flawed they are, the way it objectifies women and the rage and violence that can occur when men are “denied” what they've been told they deserve. But I thought instead I would make a funny list of movies pointing out how ridiculous this shit gets.

I've noticed this a lot in the 80's and 90's and early 2000's movies that I watched so much as a kid, and rewatching them now, it amazes me how people don't notice how little men have to do to get women in these stories.


Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle: Two men get high and do a terrible job at reaching the desired fast food restaurant. One man decides to talk to a woman, does so, is rewarded with beautiful woman.

Jurassic Park: Man goes to island full of dinosaurs and is surprised to be attacked by dinosaurs. Runs away a lot, doesn't get eaten. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: Two boys cheat on their history presentation. Are rewarded with beautiful women that they failed to rescue.

Animated gif of Bill saying "How's it going royal ugly dudes?" with two maidens behind him

Highlander: Immortal man doesn't die. Is rewarded with beautiful woman. Repeat.

Twister: Man almost gets himself sucked into a tornado. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

Clerks 2: Man works at a burger joint, cheats on fiance. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

Fight Club: Man fails to realize that he has dissociative identity disorder. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

Men in Black: Man falls down a lot, kind of helps save the world a little. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

Animated gif of Agent J flailing around in a pile of large plastic tubes


Ace Ventura, Pet Detective: Weird man does his job. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

Office Space: Normal man doesn't do his job. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

Happy Gilmore: Man plays golf wrong, is nice to his grandma. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

Billy Madison: Rich man is given unfair path through the education system, passes high school. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

Animated gif of Billy Madison making the shampoo and conditioner bottles fight, then throwing them into the bath he's sitting in


Raiders of the Lost Ark: Man fails to prevent Nazis from stealing the Ark of the Covenant, doesn't look at it. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

The Nutty Professor: Man loses weight, gains it back. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

[EDIT] I removed Mrs. Doubtfire because they apparently don't get together in the end. I misremembered.

Here are the additions volunteered by awesome commenters:

Thor: Man bumbles around being an arrogant dick. Man realizes he shouldn't be an arrogant dick. Is rewarded by a beautiful woman. (Credit - Maggie)

Terminator: Man helps woman flee homicidal robot. Man admits to translating obsession over woman's photograph to love of woman. Is rewarded with beautiful woman. (Credit - nope)

Yes Man: Says yes to everything, is rewarded with a women (two if you count the mail order bride..). (Credit - Tribalmind)


I'm sure there's a ton more I haven't thought of yet. Feel free to add as many as you can in the comments.

33 comments:

nope said...

Terminator: Man helps woman flee homicidal robot. Man admits to translating obsession over woman's photograph to love of woman. Is rewarded with beautiful woman.

Maggie said...

Thor: Man bumbles around being an arrogant dick. Man realizes he shouldn't be an arrogant dick. Is rewarded by a beautiful woman.

shenanigans said...

It's as if movies were like made up and shit

Barbados Slim said...

...and then killed.

Brock said...

So what you're saying is, is that a storyline in a movie shouldn't have its end tied up in love as cliché as it may seem?

Tribalmind said...

While I agree with this post in the most part I'm a little confused about the Mrs Doubtfire one, I thought at the end that RW's character became a TV show host but never got back with his wife, he just got visiting rights. How is that getting a woman? Just thought I'd point that out as I'm sure the typical ragers will attack anything they can find the slightest error in with these style posts.

Also to add one, Yes man - says yes to everything, is rewarded with a women (two if you count the mail order bride..)

Tribalmind said...

I think it's more along the lines that the female character shouldn't just be seen as a prize for the male. A lot of these movies have little to no character development for the female 'leads' and they are basically just there for referance. While this is a common like of people for stories to end with guy and girl to hook up it is rather one sided as to who seems to be benifiting from the coupling in these movies. You don't really have any idea who the female is to a greater degree unless it's in referance to how they intereact with the male lead.

Drak said...

"Thor: Man bumbles around being an arrogant dick. Man realizes he shouldn't be an arrogant dick." and Then - Girl is attracted to the man (for some reason), man is also attracted to the girl (who hit him twice with her car) They try to start a relationship then stuff happens and they both end up sepparated. The man learns humility and the girl goes back to being an independent no-nonsense scientist to research a way to open a portal between worlds...

Because movies... right?

Lindsey Weedston said...

I'm pretty sure that it's implied that the man and the woman are going to get together at the end of Jurassic Park. As for MiB, I was talking about the first one, and again, heavy romantic overtones. Just because it doesn't literally show them smooching doesn't mean a woman wasn't portrayed as a reward.

Lindsey Weedston said...

I love how dudes will fawn over movies and other pieces of fiction as though they're the most important things in the universe. Men will write dissertations on how fiction is a reflection of real life but as soon as women start pointing out sexism in movies, it's "OMG IT'S JUST A MOVIE IT MEANS NOTHING A PERSON'S WRITING ISN'T INFLUENCED BY CULTURE AT ALL GEEZ."

Lindsey Weedston said...

Exactly this, but also obligatory romance in movies does bore me.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Did they not get back together? It has been a super long time since I've seen Mrs. Doubtfire. I'll remove that one.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Best part of the movie.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Geez, men just don't know how to take a joke. LIGHTEN UP, guys. :P

Tribalmind said...

Truthfully its so expected that it's written on instinct I think. It's like watching a movie where the heros all die at the end, peolpe just can't cope with the change to the norm.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Same. Part of the reason I love The Dark Knight is because the damsel in distress dies and everyone hates Batman at the end.

deathlordfgf . said...

You're literally cancer.

memeteam said...

Uhm im pretty sure he is married in jurrasic park...

TheRiseOfTheTrolls said...

Why the hella dis matter anyway? get a life nigs for real?

Lindsey Weedston said...

Aw did I hurt some feelings?

Lindsey Weedston said...

Pretty sure not.

deathlordfgf . said...

go bitch about something that matters.

Lindsey Weedston said...

I don't think you quite understand what we're doing here.

Ranger Jack Walker said...

Nope. Yes, there are romantic undertones but there is no conclusion. They are partners at the end. Nothing more.


You seem to think that any instance of a man and woman getting together is somehow sexist. Jurassic Park is a really poor example. Both the leads contribute to the story and are badass and capable on their own. How is this translate to "being rewarded with a woman"?

Drak said...

You are trying to call out a trope that you find offensive/dumb/misogynist about the male protagonist getting the girl after the story/adventure ends just because he is the male lead and because he didn't do anything extraordinary.


Thats what I got from your article.


But I don't believe those movies were made to be offensive or to spread misogyny to the masses, I think those movies were just made to entertain

Tribalmind said...

You are correct the movies were created to entertain. The issue raised here is not that it was directly intended to be offensive/misogynist, the issue is that this style of movie is so mainstream dispite the storyline design being somewhat man wins woman in nature. Heck I love a lot of the above movies, I even watch the occasional harem style anime but that doesn't change the fact that these kinds of movies don't really show any form of character development in the female leads. This is not a 'these movies are bad so stop making them' this is more a 'this theme is rather common and somewhat gender bias isn't it?" Its trying to get acroos the point that this is what is seen as the norm ATM and that it would be nice if the majority of movies weren't as gender bias as they are.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Exactly. Half the point is that this trope is so common that misogyny is never intended when applying it. We actually view this storyline as "normal." That's what makes it so messed up.

Drak said...

Oh, I see your point, I agree that we could use some more developed female protagonist (Did you see the movie Lucy? I thought it was great!)


In a 1 1/2 hour movie, you need to get the main story across and many of the protagonist will not be as developed as the others (sadly) so if you want to put some romance in it, it will always come out rushed and forced (and silly) no matter who the lead is and the best way to convey that 'romance' quickly is to use the tropes.


i believe that the real problem is that the writters have been using the tropes too much just to play it safe. Specially in big budget productions.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Nobody cares about your opinion, dude. Shit doesn't have to be overt to be obvious.


Also, it makes it even worse when the woman is a badass. Even women who are strong and smart and awesome in every way get thrown into romances or are implied to be attracted to these loser men. It sends the message that no matter how shitty you are, you deserve any woman you want.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Drak, please avoid using ableist terms on my blog. Check the comment policy for more information.

Tribalmind said...

Ranger, refer to my reply to another post below, it's not so much if they get together or not its more the fact the female character is not developed at all, what can you tell me about her? she is a scientist.. anything else? MIB and JP may not be a 'perfect' example but this is a point that is trying to be established not everything fits exactly but there theme is there.

Tribalmind said...

The problem with this is often it's hard to get people to understand that the female characters are underdeveloped and just sterotyped. I think some people are a little to close to the matterunderstand and state their case roughly or angrily . Often a lot of conversations like this are simply poorly worded and it causes anger in people before they stop to actually think about the subject brought up. The use of emotion over logic in the arguments is often the major failing of such things. This post was decently done but again it's hard to get people to understand without a lot of effort at times.

Drak said...

Took me long to answer...

Well, the male characters are also stereotyped and underdeveloped too but we have seen so many movies/stories that follow the same script over and over again that we feel that we know those characters because its in essense the same guy just in different scenarios.

But I don't think thats a problem that goes beyond the movie screen and the hollywood bussiness model.

We don't watch movies all day, we spend most of our time at home, school, job, etc and interact with other people, its those places and our experiences with the people within them that shapes our interactions with other people.

Sure, a movie/show CAN make you angry, and that's ok but you are probably angry because it doesn't fit with a norm/point of view that you have learned somewhere else.