In the Blog

more on the “sensitive male chauvinist”

August 9th, 2006     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

I haven’t seen Clerks II yet (and have no plans to, especially not after Thea’s scathing commentary - thanks for saving two hours of my life, Thea!), but I have to agree that even worse than blatantly misogynist directors are ones who pass themselves off as sensitive, artsy, boy-next-door kinda guys. Why does it infuriate me so? Is it because it seems like a sneaky way of turning all women into either heartless manipulative she-wolves or callow kittens too airheaded to “get” these guys? Is it because it can more easily pass itself off as a “realistic representation of women” that still doesn’t look like anything I’d like to call reality? For instance, I seem to be the only person who wanted to strangle John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity for using his sad puppy-dog face to bed women, rather than seeing him as the adorably bumbling goof he was made out to be (sorry John, I heart Say Anything forever but High Fidelity gets Low Credibility from me).

Incidentally, a while back Bitch ran a great article on the phenomenon of the “brohemian” - the sensitive artsy dude who’s, well, still a dude. He likes cuddling with his lady, collecting rare 7”s, and pounding brewskies with vigour. It’s not a put-down, but in typical Bitch fashion it’s a nuanced, insightful article. Wish I could remember which issue.

But back to women’s perspectives in the movies — this is going to sound a bit out of left field, but if you need an antidote to gross cardboard-cutout “independent” women who turn out to be essentially Playboy Girl-of-the-Month, I seriously recommend watching (or re-watching) the 1990 film Mermaids, based on the the novel by Patty Dann. I loved it when it first came out for Winona Ryder’s quirky, moody character, and Cher’s outfits. I saw it again last month and was amazed at how well it still holds up as a great coming-of-age story where the women (Cher as the mom, and Ryder and a pint-sized Christica Ricci as her daughters) have real, complicated lives and relationships that don’t begin and end with holy matrimony. I won’t spoil the ending if I tell you that nobody is going to jump through hoops for a wedding ring in this one. Seriously, rent it with some girlfriends. You won’t regret it.

Tags: film reel, media savvy

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