Women's views



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  • Women's views

    I am asking a serious question here, from a screenwriter's perspective. I have witnessed the women's movement progress for the last four decades, from burning pointy brassieres in the sixties to trouncing Judge Bork in his bid for the Supreme Court in the 90's. But - what I see going on nowadays in comedy movies is the antithesis to everything near and dear to a true feminist's heart. In spite of this, the young women I see in the theatres are howling in sheer delight at the "male adolescent fantasies" portrayed on the screen, e.g. "American Pie", "Road Trip", etc.

    Q: In the comedy genre, is it okay to portray all women as mindless, eager sexual targets? Is this no longer offensive to you? Is it a "generation" thing?

    Bill confused M.

  • #2

    Not in my book but I'm not in the American Pie generation.

    What were you doing at the local movie palace watching American Pie anyway? And Scary Movie?

    Are you sure you're as old as you say? Oh, market research, OK, I get it.



    • #3

      Seriously, I am confused by what's going on nowadays. I thought women wanted to go beyond the sex toy thing, but every comedy movie that comes out seems to portray women as eager "victims", and the young women who watch the films seem to enjoy it. I really do go to the theatres to watch the films and this is my observation. And yes, I am "over thirty".

      Bill M.


      • #4

        Take a look at the real world to see what's accepted by women.
        Did you see women unite against Pres. Clinton?



        • #5
          Re: Rat

          Rat Guy,

          In my original response to Lilybet I referred to Clinton, but I accidentally erased it. But think about it, the NOW challenges judges Bork and Thomas for the Supreme Court because of their so-called anti-female attitudes (contrived or not) and yet accept any and all transgressions by the prez, including charges of rape. Then I watch comedy movies that perpetuate the "willing sex object" view of women, and I observe acceptance by the girls/women that watch these movies. Are movies a reflection of our attitudes/mores as Hollywood claims, or do they influence them? I do not wish to make political statements, as I am neither Republican nor Democrat. It just seems to me that the so-called Women's Movement has been set back by eight years. That's the Clinton Legacy. Maybe it has nothing to do with Clinton, but what is it then?

          Bill M.


          • #6
            Good question, Bill

            And I have been storyboarding (nice deduction!)

            Of course it leads to many others. Like a potential-opposite: If there was a "high-brow" comedy starring J. Garofalo and Margaret Cho that went for the nads of male stereotypes, would women support that film? I'd wait in line for over an hour to see it. Then again I hated American Pie (and films of that genre).


            • #7
              Rat - Maybe some of us were more concerned about Starr and his ilk than Clinton's tawdry peccadillos. Some of the other things he's done for women were more important such as appointing so many women to power positions.

              Bill - I can't even pretend to answer your question, I don't know. I don't go to those kind of movies.

              Some maybe factors:

              What are their viewing options?

              Young girls will do a lot of silly things to please boys. In fact, so do women.

              What are their viewing options?

              I think there is a backlash against women's progress in some ways.

              Where are the film heroines for role models?

              What are their viewing options?

              The dismissive label "chick flick."

              Maybe they don't want to bloody their heads knocking them against the wall like their older sisters.

              What are their viewing options?

              No drive-ins so they can make out during dumb movies instead of watching them.



              • #8
                you ask: In the comedy genre, is it okay to portray all women as mindless, eager sexual targets? Is this no
                longer offensive to you? Is it a "generation" thing?

                women are people - any steroptypes, be it man. woman, black, whatever, will offend some... if it is clearly comedy less so, but i ask "is it necessary?"

                sure, have a ditzy dumb blonde, or a penn/spicolo character, or a pyschotic libber or a klan-wannabee who washes his sheets with a red t-shirt and shows up at the crossburning dressed in pink - fun can be fun - but do not make all the characters that way. show the other side, maybe add a foil for each major boob in the story

                but expect to offend.. is it ok to portray them all like that? i say no.
                is it no longer offensive? i say yes. to some at least.

                my suggestion for a great comedy? trash the amish. big time. make fun of them 'til their cows come home. because they can't see it, or read about it they can't complain. the amish are likely the only safe audience for comedic exploitation that exists in modern america.

                and remember, dumb&dumber offended any male... and anyone with intelligence and yet made a bundle


                • #9

                  Thanks for responding. In all truthfulness, if I were not trying to become a screenwriter, I would not be watching those movies either. Not because I am a prude. Not because I believe in censorship. Simply because I am not entertained by them. Apparently, you and I are in the minority.



                  • #10

                    I cannot disagree with you. If the Wayans or the Farleys came to me and said, "Bill, write us a stupid teenage everybody likes to f*, there are no consequences to your actions screenplay, and we'll pay you $250,000", I would take the money and write the movie. I guess that makes me a hypocrite. I just don't understand.



                    • #11
                      women in film

                      I understand your confusion on the women's issue. I had the same problem not so long ago. It's never OK to treat women (be they real or be they characters) in the manner we've seen in those juvenile movies you describe. You're right: Those movies are there just to make money & attract adolescent males to theaters.

                      As GIG suggested to me back when: "Just write people".

                      Two points I'd make now:
                      1) Why cloud your mind with this issue if you are not writing that type of screenplay? Sure it's a valid issue and one that needs attention, but you shouldn't let it stop your screenwriting.

                      2) Write a female character as you envision her, based on the women you know/admire/loathe.

                      We have the advantage of age. We write & view from points of respect. Adolescents who think mostly of sex will tend to think that way towards women/girls. They'll grow out of it.


                      • #12
                        Teen movies are fantasies and that's why women are portrayed that way. Nerdy screenwriters act out their fantasies of getting the hottest girl in the school. Boys like that stuff.

                        Note that American Pie also threw in a gorgeous, stupid guy character too. But then he ended up being honest, loyal and nice so there's a fantasy or the female viewers.

                        I think most of the teenagers that see these movies are smart enough to realize that they are fantasies and that's why they aren't offended. It's us older folk who get ticked off by it.


                        • #13
                          Look at Election

                          not-too-smart jock (stereotype male)
                          conniving intellignet overachiever (female)
                          and the smart one, the gay sister

                          female stereotypes... not really
                          and written by a man

                          a good example, perhaps?

                          do like gig says (and i think i did too): write women as people, 'cuz they are.

                          look at your work: could your protag/antagonist change gender and still work (other than say, breasts or a penis?)

                          if so chances are you have a rounded character.

                          push the envelope: make your female a stereotype, but a male stereotype. (think ripley in alien??)


                          • #14
                            Its all very simple guys The women's movement taking a step back hasn't been in the last 8 years, it actually happened further back than that and we are just starting to see some of the results. First I'll deal with President Clinton and why he has nothing to do with this. Regarding the charges that have been made against him the only thing that we KNOW happened was the Lewinsky affair. It is unfair to speculate on any of the other things unless anything is proven, he is innocent until proven guilty. Don't forget it is not unusual when a public figure gets into some sort of trouble for all sorts of people come out of the woodworks with claims, often dubious, of prior misconduct. As for the Lewinsky affair, well thats none of our business really and is between Mr. and Mrs. Clinton. The fact of the matter is the man screwed up and betrayed his wife's trust and his marriage, a mistake for which he is lucky to have her forgivence. It doesn't mean that adultery is suddenly acceptable, perhaps it is a recognition that a strong relationship CAN survive a colossal and selfish mistake on the part of one partner? I would like to think that this is a signal not that women (or men) are suddenly willing to acquiesce to infidelity on their partners behalf, instead maybe it is the beginning of a recognition in an age of high divorce rates that love is not something to be tossed aside in a moment of anger or pain but sometimes requires alot of work and a willingness to forgive.

                            Now as for the decline of the Women's movement, here's what the problem is. The fact of the matter is, for all our differences, for everything about each other that infuriates us, men and women like each other and want to be together (well except gay men and women :lol ). Unfortunately what happened was the women's rights movement got hijacked by the "right-wing too ugly to find a guy therefore frustrated non-sexual man-hating feminists" whose extreme message was what people came to associate with "feminism" Now this is not particularly attractive to guys, and since girls still like guys (for all our flaws) they don't want to be associated with a movement which will make them less attractive to potential mates and which not so incidently has lost touch with the issues that are really important to them in carrying out the "Anti-Male" agenda it has rabidly devoted itself to. Sadly to be a "feminist" has taken on negative connotations for many young women and hence an increased willingness to behave in a stereotypical manner in order to distance themselves from those "crazy feminists"! :eek

                            Does that help?


                            • #15
                              I repeat, will you marry me?