Reversing sexism in Hollywood
If I was a Hollywood producer, I would like to produce this kind of movie:
A woman is a crime-fighting lawyer. She is not a side-kick or a spin-off. It’s very clear the movie is about her, because the title of the movie is her name. She probably comes from a tough background. She learned to overcome it, however, by standing her ground and refusing to let the world run over her. She is inspired by her past to go into the justice system.
However, there’s a dark side: she’s has a terrible temper. Sometimes, when she is angry she gets very threatening and verbally abusive to the people in her life. She takes her stress out on the opposite sex. She picks up young, weak and naive men, has a fling, and then dumps them. She probably accomplishes this by saving them in court and then expecting their undying worship. That’s okay, however, because she’s very popular with the men, she’s very much a smooth anti-hero type. This beginning part of the movie should feature her in very commanding clothes, maybe with simpering male secretaries that purposely flash bits of bulges and butt cracks in their tight clothing to try to catch her attention. There must be some sort of gratuitous sex scene in which she is shown having sex with a man who moans and groans very loudly, and tells her how wonderful she is afterwards. In the morning, she tells him to get out and addresses him by a name that is not his own. The man should visibly look ashamed at himself for his wanton behavior as he walks out.
One day, she meets this really awesome guy. He’s a bit different from the others, because he talks back occasionally. That’s no problem though, because she does something for him (because he is weak and can’t do it for himself), and he obviously falls hard for her. She agonizes over giving up her high-rolling lifestyle and compromising her demanding job for him. Unlike all the other men she’s met, she is refreshed by his unsurpassed physical beauty and idealism. Thus, she also wants to “protect” him from the seedy things that she sees and works with in her job. The concept of commitment is threatening, but he remains understanding and infinitely supportive throughout. After all, she has the big important job, and he is just a pink collar worker doing something easy, meaningless, and idealistic. There should be a couple of scenes of happy couple-activities in which she does things like taking him out to dinner to places he cannot afford and sending massive bouquets of flowers to his work where all of his male co-workers (all conventionally attractive, perhaps with one minority for diversity and an overweight man for a witty non-sequitor fat joke) gossip about how they wish their girlfriends were as attentive and wonderful.
Eventually, the pressure to commit drives the main character to revert to her earlier ways, so she spectacularly screws up by verbally abusing her new love over something meaningless. He breaks into tears and leaves without a protest to go cry on the shoulder of his best male friend who cheers him up with shopping, food, or bad cinema. Eventually, the friend consoles him, telling him that she is just going through a rough time and that he needs to be as supportive as possible. Women just need space sometimes, he says, they get antsy when you want intimacy.
Meanwhile, our main character goes out to a bar. She proceeds to get really really drunk, and then throws bottles around, picks fights, and does other anti-social behavior because she is just so depressed by her lover leaving her. The other female friend accompanying her (whom must be a minority or ugly to signal her sick-kick status) spouts some cliche line about love. She is not convinced, of course, being stubborn, and goes about her life as if he had never wandered into it. She’s more cranky at work, and probably verbally abuses her male secretaries that still continue to throw themselves at her. One of them, in a moment of clarity, asks what is wrong. She tersely brushes off his concern and continues to do other anti-social behavior.
During this time, her male love has gone back to his simple job. He is visibly sad and depressed, and often sighs while he looks out the window. His co-workers notice that he is not receiving any flowers any more. They nag him until he spills admist tears. They cheer him up by berating him for making himself out to be the victim. If he wants something, he has to go get it! We are empowered men, they tell him, we take what we want. Encouraged, he drops everything (litterally), and rushes off to his lover’s work, but not before he returns home to change into his most fashionable and flattering outfit.
At her work, he awkwardly asks a male secretary where to find his girlfriend. He says that she is in a meeting, so he’ll have to wait. Knowingly, the secretaries gossip amongst themselves, and decide that she is too stubborn to come out on her own, because she won’t admit that she needs him. They call into her office, in the middle of a meeting, and tell her an important client is outside. The secretaries then all act busy and so they can watch the make-up.
She walks commandingly into the lobby, only to find her ex-boyfriend there. Before she can angrily ask her secretaries what the meaning of this is, he confesses that he really loves her, and that he is dreadfully sorry for walking away and not being there for her. He throws himself at her and they make out to a rising orchestra. When she opens her mouth to say something, presumably sorry, he hushes her and says that he already knows. This should be accompanied by a happy giggle from him, and barely contained exclamations of glee from the onlooking secretaries.
Then, we cut scene to the wedding that happens sometime in the future. She is wearing a very sharply tailored outfit, and he is wearing designer clothes that display his body for the maximum effect. She should look visibly stunned by his beauty when he walks out in his wedding finery, and he should look bashful and adoring. They exchange wedding vows, and then they kiss.
As far as casting goes, the lead female should be older and refined looking. She should not be overweight, but she doesn’t have to be physically perfect either. The appeal will be for her character, not her body, and she doesn’t have to do any gratuitous nude scenes. In the sex scene, we will make sure to cover up all but flashes of her moderately attractive arms and abdomen. The male lead must be young and idealistic looking. He needs to be physically perfect and willing to do at least full-frontal nudity. Other male extras must be just as young and physically perfect unless they are used as side-kicks or a token fat-dude for comedic value. Other female extras can be of all shapes and sizes and ages as long as they aren’t completely hideous and aren’t as dashing looking as the main actress.
When the movie goes to the editing studio, we will be sure to push for including as much shots of male sexuality as possible. Butts, packages, pecs, ass cleavage should always be put in at least every five minutes, especially on the characters that should come off as shallow and “bad” males. The lead should only be explicitly unclothed in sex scenes, but still extremely attractive at all times.
This reads like the conventional romantic comedy or drama. The only thing strange about it is that I have switched the genders. Even attempting to picture a movie like this being made is impossible. The very thought of men being objectified and shown as weak throughout an entire movie is objectionable and quite bizarre.
A thought-experiment such as this should illustrate my point clearly: the depiction of women by Hollywood is usually extremely sexist. If we cannot picture men in the roles typically given and played by women, it is clear that a double-standard still exists.
What also struck me is that if nay-sayers were to be believed, movies like this, an objectification of men, would be common. The argument is that the popular media is just as sexist towards men as women, especially when the intended audience is women.
That is false. In movies marketed towards men, women are objectified. In movies marketed towards women, women are objectified. I could write the same kind of movie proposal for an action movie, only it would feature a man being a prostitute and his suffering (whilst wearing little to nothing) as something sexual. He will be billed as powerful in a male way, while the female is powerful by keeping her clothes on and suffering in a very non-sexual way. I decided not too, only because really thinking about movies like Sin City that sexualize violence against women makes me physically sick.
In fact, I re-read my post, and I was struck by how my lead female comes off as an enormous bitch, and the male comes off as gay.
When men are objectified in the same manner that women are in the popular media–by being visibly worried about their appearance, physically and emotionally weak and expressive, or dressed in skimpy tight outfits–they are homosexual. When men are displayed as sexual they are for the gaze of other men. When do women get to look at men in a sexualized manner? Nowhere, really, unless it is a firmly “adult” risque performance like Chippendale’s. Even then, the we gossip about how the men displaying themselves for women might be gay.
Men fuck women. Subject verb object. In the media, men are always the subject. If by some bizarre chance a man is objectified, the subject of the piece is still another man. In short, men always express their sexuality, in the media, by the act of domination unless they are submitting to another man. Women always express their sexuality by submitting. These roles have never been reversed.
However, when the roles get too close to reversal, like I’ve displayed above, the woman is perceived as a complete and utter bitch for acting in the same fashion the male protagonist or hero acts. The thought that a man is submitting to a woman is so alien that we perceive that he is submitting to another man. He is a “faggot”. She is a “bitch”. Reverse the roles back to the norm and she is a “good girl” and he is a “handsome successful man”.
Talk about a double standard.
Next time someone tries to convince you that men are objectified in the popular media as much as women, please direct them to my thought experiment. The simple fact of the matter is that the roles have never been reversed, men are never asked to submit, and women’s “power”, as it is portrayed by the media, is almost always in acts of submission or in which the man never submits to her.
Nobody likes a bitch, nobody likes a faggot. Hollywood knows this, and the double standard persists. Same shit, different day.