I just finished doing the dishes and drying my now soft-and-lavender smelling hands on a clean towel. I then used that towel to clear up some water off the counter. I also clean bathrooms, do laundry, and change diapers. Well, I did change diapers when needed, but my youngest is now potty trained and all we deal with now are the occasional accidents.
I used to think that all meant I wasn’t sexist. While none of the above qualifies for me anything remotely cool (like being a metrosexual, since I don’t shop enough nor care about appearance enough), I did think it meant gender roles and misogyny were not present in my life. And don’t take that the wrong way; I don’t hate women (love them, in fact) and I don’t think there’s any harm in a man doing any household chore or making less money than a woman.
But, after going to the movies twice this week, I realize there is sexism and misogyny present.
Let me explain.
Day or so ago, the wife and I went to see the Seth Rogen flick “This is the End.” As you can imagine, it’s a foul-mouthed, physical, ridiculously raunchy comedy. I didn’t love it (though, when Michael Cera is impaled by the street lamp, I did love it a little bit), but I did enjoy it. It’s not every day you get to see actors do shit like that, you know, making fun of each other and their professions in such a way. At one point, James Franco and Danny McBride have a three-minute argument about coming all over each other and their mothers and everything else. There’s fart jokes, fat jokes, piss jokes, cock jokes; it’s fucking garbage humor. Who can say or do the most outrageous fucking thing next.
Today, the wife and I went to see “The Heat” with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. It’s a generic buddy cop movie with your stiff partner and your over-the-top, nutty one. If this were a reimagining of “Lethal Weapon”, Bullock would be Murtaugh and McCarthy Riggs. McCarthy is a foul-mouthed, violent cop. I think every third word out of her mouth is fuck and well, if you know me, you know I appreciate the word fuck. Carlin and I agree on its many uses.
And the movie was okay; it certainly didn’t completely suck. I chuckled at times, even laughed out loud once or twice. However, if someone gave me a choice between “This is the End” and “The Heat,” there’s no contest. I’m watching a house full of dudes make dick jokes and drinking their own piss.
I wondered, momentarily, if this was more to do with “The Heat” being the overdone buddy cop movie. There’s more than a few of them, for sure. Turns out that’s not it, either. How do I know? Because I’ll watch “Lethal Weapon 4” before “The Heat” and LW4 was fucking horrid. We all wish Murtaugh would retire and Riggs along with him.
Okay, Chris, you’re saying. What’s your point?
Well, after the movie was over, the wife and I were debating the merits of each movie. This was, of course, before we left the theatre itself. Most of the people had already cleared and the usher was sweeping the aisles. He stopped and looked at us, we looked at him, and he goes, “Weren’t you the two in here the other day arguing over that other movie?”
We agreed we were (though, argument is too strong, see above and DEBATE) and he nodded, laughed. I’m sure he sees this kind of thing all the time. Then he leans in, almost conspiratorially, to my wife and whispers something.
“Say what?” I said.
“He said this movie was better,” my wife answered.
We left the theatre and things ran through my head. What was it about this movie that put me off? It wasn’t either of the actresses: I haven’t seen McCarthy in much and I don’t mind Bullock. Granted, I tend to stay away from Bullock’s movies because they are, by and large, chick flicks… AHA! As we were driving past Kroger, it dawned on me that “The Heat,” branded a chick flick, was off my repeat radar for that single reason alone.
That’s when I got home and did the dishes, cleaned the counter, ate an oatmeal scotchie cookie, drank a cup of coffee, and started typing. I’ve tried to determine if this is just a one off, you know, the exception to the rule. And no, no, it’s not. I haven’t rewatched “Titanic” or “Pretty Woman” or “27 Dresses” or anything and none of those (except maybe 27 Dresses) are horrible movies. In fact, “Titanic” and “Pretty Woman” are pretty fucking good. I may be biased with “Titanic” though; it was the movie my wife and I saw on our first date.
It might be prudent, considering the topic, to point out that “Titanic” was her movie choice, too.
Now, some might be saying, it’s like a genre thing. But is it? Is “chick flick” a genre? Let’s face it; I love horror and science fiction movies. War movies and comedies are next. Dramatic movies are at the far end of the likability scale.
Before we call chick flick a genre, we need to develop a workable definition. Is a chick flick a movie about love only? Is it a movie with primarily female leads ala “Bridesmaids?” There’s very little love in “The Heat,” at least in regards to romantic sense of the word. So are chick flicks just movies bogged down by emotion? There was emotion in “The Heat” but there was also emotion in “48 Hours.” And believe me, no one would ever mistake that particular Nolte and Murphy movie as a chick flick. “Schindler’s List” is highly emotion and so is “Saving Private Ryan,” but they’re not chick flicks, despite Nathan Fillion’s turn as a whiney soldier in the latter.
It’s obvious (at least to me) that chick flicks must encompass more than this romantic or emotional base, so let’s also throw in movies that have multiple female leads, and the movies focus on the majority of these characters. So while Sigourney Weaver was the lead in the “Alien” franchise, the movies were far more ensemble in nature and therefore don’t qualify. The same thing goes for like “The Hunger Games” or “Tomb Raider.” Romantic movies make up the bulk of the chick flick genre, but I think it’s important to note that subgenres do exist.
The buddy movies, such as “The Heat” and “Thelma and Louise.”
The horror movies, such as “Descent” and “Ginger Snaps.”
The sci-fi movies, such as… well, I can’t think of any here. Surely someone out there knows of a female led sci-fi movie or two?
The comedies, such as “Bridesmaids” and “Pitch Perfect.”
Other than the movies in the horror subgenre, none of the others was particularly bad, just not what I’d watch again.
I don’t think it’s a matter of taste, either. But maybe that’s all it is. Yeah, you know, I don’t rewatch movies with lots of women in them. It’s not that I don’t like these movies, I like them fine (well, not the rom/coms, those suck), so is it “Hello, welcome to Sexism 101?” I doubt I’m the only one, but fucking hell, the guy at the movie theatre was up front that he liked “The Heat” more.
Speak up, people. Men and women, I want to hear your thoughts, so weigh in. Good, bad, ugly, I want it all. Do you share my sexist movie preferences, do you feel it’s just my “taste,” or do you have different ideas?