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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Film buffs: what is your opinion on the portrayal of women and men in current Hollywood movies?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38980points) August 3rd, 2009

Is it true that movies often portray what society is concerned with – are these ridiculous comedies about men only thinking with their you know whats and women, if they have a career, having to be shrill and intimidating – who are the audiences of these films and why are these messages so? What do you think?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111419481

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34 Answers

cyn's avatar

my opinion: yes!

Facade's avatar

That’s exactly what they’re doing.

PerryDolia's avatar

Most movies are superficial distractions for an increasingly unsophisticated audience.

Film studios study what sells and make what sells. That is why there is Spiderman 1, 2, 3, Harry Potter 1,2,3,4,5,6 etc.

We who find the portrayals of men and women stereotypically silly have to look harder for good films.

Personally, I use NetFlix.

gailcalled's avatar

If you like to cook, if you like acting of the highest quality, if you want something other than the tepid summer pablum, see Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in Julia and Julie.

Julia Childs herself was a national treasure. Come to think of is, so is Streep.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I don’t think the target audience for films like The Ugly Truth are adolescent boys, as the essayist says. They were at The Hangover. I had a friend insist I go to see The Ugly Truth with her, and she paid for my ticket. I spent the entire time letting her know what was coming up next in the plot. She told me to hush, that all she wanted was to see Gerard Butler, and hopefully without a shirt on.

I assume all those young career women in the audience were there for the same reason. No one was paying much attention to Katherine Heigl at the screening I attended, except maybe to imagine themselves in her place, kissing Gerard Butler. What’s funny is that the last time Heigl did a role like this one, she complained to anyone who’d listen. So why is she doing it again? Oh yeah. She got a busload of money.

I think the target audience are mainly young women and the “shrill career woman” is written that way becuase it’s an easy trope. It’s rare that a mainstream film is groundbreaking. The point is to make money and if it can be done by the numbers, going down the same road that’s been trod for 30+ years that’s proven to make money, then that’s what’s going to happen, real life be damned. What that says about the audience that these movies do make money is another story.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@aprilsimnel but, hell, they don’t have to be groundbreaking – at least be realistic, in terms of what’s actually out there

aprilsimnel's avatar

No one goes to the movies for reality. They get enough of that at home! The audience goes to get away from reality, to see the fantastic, to dream while they’re awake.

Or in this case, to see a chiseled, handsome Scottish man pretend to be a horndog American who’s emotionally cracked open like an egg by the end of the picture to reveal that for all his loudmouth posturing, he wants love and that he loves the ice queen exactly as she is. I feel it was badly executed, but that’s the movie my friend saw. Those were the parts of the picture she noticed when we chatted later. ::shrugs::

efritz's avatar

Nowadays, movies exist as moneymakers, not art. Give the people what they want, instead of making them actually think. In my opinion, stereotypes are not as blatant, but they definitely exist, especially in depicting women as beautiful, silly shopaholics or whatever.

@PerryDolia – there are multiple Harry Potter movies because they are based on the Harry Potter book series. Although they are breaking up the seventh and last movie into two parts to cash in on an already hugely successful (at least in monetary terms) franchise.

Zendo's avatar

“The Curious Story of Benjamin Button” went a bit left of center from this…

rooeytoo's avatar

I agree on most counts, the other bit of trivia that seems to be at the center of so many current films are young women who apparently think of nothing but finding a man. It is all so ho-hum or even zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

However, have you seen Doubt with Streep and Hoffman, that really kept me awake and made my head work a bit. There is an Australian film called Samson & Delilah that star never before heard of Aboriginal kids, it is so true to life and sad and compelling. I also thought Grand Torino was quite good if not necessarily completely believable. If you go back a couple of months, Kite Runner was good.

But all in all, I agree, more duds than winners, that is for sure!

mammal's avatar

Formulaic, vapid, maddeningly vaccuous, bereft , one dimensional, bourgeois, profoundly unsatisfying, peurient, disturbing, indoctrinating, sinister in a seemingly innocuous manner, like advertising, masquerading as wholesome like Leni Riefenstahl, insidious, corrupting couch zombie fodder.

Response moderated
kibaxcheza's avatar

why cant movies just be about ENTERTAINMENT…... who cares that james bond cant really surf on a tidal wave in the arctic circle on a piece of scrap metal and a half dead parachute…....

Zendo's avatar

@mammal Do you really think there is a fluther clique?
@kibaxcheza That dude surfing the big wave into Korea was Laird Hamilton, not Pierce Brosnan!
Laird surfing Jaws in Maui

kibaxcheza's avatar

PSH, what a chump… using a surf board…. tell me when he does in on the hood of a busted truck…. then ill be im pressed lol

mattbrowne's avatar

I think there’s less sexism in Hollywood movies than in real life. Very few characters smoke in Hollywood movies unlike in real life. I’ve heard it has a certain effect, the number of smokers in real life decreasing. My hero doesn’t smoke, so I don’t smoke, many teenagers will say. I think the same could be happening with sexism. Trend-setter Hollywood!

gailcalled's avatar

@mattbrowne: Have you seen the French indie flims lately? Everyone still smokes all the time, it seems.

@kibaxcheza: One man’s entertainment is another’s terminal coma.

That said, I recommend the French movie, based on a true story, “Séraphine.”: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1048171/ No one smokes. Some of my friends think it one of the best movies they have seen; others dozed off.

The language is spoken slowly; the sentences are short; there is little dialog, so if for nothing else, go to practice your skills in understanding French. If you are an artist or interested in painting, making your own pigments or life in rural France in 1917 and the next three decades, this is a visual treat and a cautionary moral tale.

mattbrowne's avatar

@gailcalled – Is the film set in the 50ies? Everyone smoked back then.

gailcalled's avatar

Film begins in 1917 and ends in 1942. There was little smoking in it. The main character could barely afford to eat and make her own pigments from calves’ blood, mud, paraffin from votive candles at church and flower petals.

Many contemporary French films have smoking.

mattbrowne's avatar

I recently watched the French film “Je vous trouve très beau”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0450664/

and found it very enjoyable. Not a single cigarette ;-)

gailcalled's avatar

@mattbrowne: I’ll add that to my list. It sounds wonderful.

mammal's avatar

@Zendo do you mean the self same clique that lobby the moderators to have my comment removed? Lol

kibaxcheza's avatar

@gailcalled
@mattbrowne Uhh, this is America…. We speak American…...

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@kibaxcheza you can’t be serious.

kibaxcheza's avatar

room full of movie “buffs” and this is what i get? cant even pick up on a talladega nights quote?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@kibaxcheza well I didn’t say I was a film buff

kibaxcheza's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir True; but the question implied that only such were inclined to answer.

kibaxcheza's avatar

Would you like to hear the story of sammy jenkins?

mattbrowne's avatar

@kibaxcheza – This French movie was dubbed into English, but for some reason the title remained French. The movie was a hit not only in France but also Germany and the UK. It’s really worth watching.

noodle_poodle's avatar

there are some really good movies with realistic portrayals you just have to hunt them out I especially like ameli ,,,,thing is tho different stuff appeals to different folks and at different times..i often get frustrated with how women are portrayed in films and the existence of sex in the city makes me cringe but even I will occasionally watch crappy films when I am in a crappy film mood…I think men are often poorly portrayed aswell you could switch many leading Hollywood men mid movie and no one would care so long as they have a six pack and save the day and blow a lot of stuff up…so i think all things considered the scale is probably equal its just that crap movies are crap

noodle_poodle's avatar

wait sorry that didnt really answer the question did it?

tiffyandthewall's avatar

wait, women have roles in movies?
i thought they were just in the movies to show their boobs for a scene, regardless of whether it actually has anything to do with the plot. wait, are there plots?

edit: i’m basing my answer on the majority of well-received movies in america.

mammal's avatar

i luuuuuuuuuuuurve hollow-wooden movies,
as soon as the plot gets lost…..um er….
.....whip out the gun! give it to a super ninja babe
and you have the added bonus of a movie that isn’t sexist in the classic sense.

cos chicks can shoot people dead just like the guys

kibaxcheza's avatar

Bow chica wow wow

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