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.
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.
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.
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.