Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This is why I hated "She's All That"

Tumblr user Justplainsomething posited an interesting question recently:
Why do we see a story where a guy falls for an “ordinary” girl as pandering? It’s one thing if the story’s message is “Your self-worth is directly connected to whether or not a boy loves you” because that’s problematic as hell, but why do we mock girls for liking stories where they’re wanted? Is the idea that girls like being wanted so off-putting to us?
Years ago, I had a thing for movies with vaguely schlubby/geeky guys who win the girl in the end, but often thought similar.. "Why are there no movies where a plain, kind of dweeby girl, wins over the hot guy by being herself?"

The answer is rather depressing.   While we see a plain schlubby dude winning over a beautiful woman as a hero, a beloved protagonist, I feel like a schlubby woman chasing a hot guy would be seen by most as kind of desperate and pathetic, or alternately, as frightening.

Male entitlement (and I'm going to piss some people off using that term) dictates that our schlubby dude is a hero because as a guy he deserves to win the pretty girl's affections.  He should be able to get the girl just by being himself.

How else does Seth Rogen get leading man roles?  Source
The only time we seem to root for the schlubby girl is when she earns the affections of the hot guy by becoming beautiful.  It's as though we schlubby chicks are not allowed to win over hot guys by simply being ourselves.  We have to be beautiful before we get to win them over.  Hence the popularity of the scads of Pygmalion archetypes in film.

Even Hollywood's idea of plain geeky women is rather skewed.  Skewed enough that I am having a hard time thinking of a particularly schlubby or dweeby leading lady that I'd like to see paired up with a hot leading man.

Sorry, even with glasses and a taco hat, you're still Rachel Leigh fricking Cook.  Source
The other time a small subset of us cheers for the schlubby woman is when she decides that she's better off alone.. but like I said, that's a small, small subset.

I'd love to see a movie where someone like,  geez, I don't know.. Mayim Bialik in Full-Amy Farrah Fowler mode gets paired up with someone like Kit Harrington (garrgghghh).. without a makeover, without her flinging her glasses off and becoming a supermodel.  Just a plain, geeky girl and the hot, hot dude who loves her.

I have a feeling I may be waiting some time.

In the meantime, I'll be over here, having a Kit Harington appreciation moment. Source

4 comments:

  1. Thoughts:
    I myself can't think of a Schlubby famous female actress. Most movies I can think of where the male wins a girl (who's out of his league) are comedies and the actor is a comedian. Perhaps its to promote schlubby men to try, since (in the movies) women aren't supposed to, without become overtly seductive. This would not work with a schlubby female. We can root for schlubby men because they're famous. Schlubby women .....well there's Adele maybe. Hollywood is more likely to ugly a beautiful actress and hand her an Oscar. Whatever sells. Maybe in reality men are actually more likely to date schlubbier women than themselves, women are more difficult (with their high standards and whatnot) so TV and movies brainwash them to give the average Joe a chance ......its a theory. The real bias in movies is age tho, men get older but the costar stays young.

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    1. 1) Yes, in real life, there are pairings where the guy may be more conventionally attractive than the woman.. which is why I find it sad and funny that Hollywood so rarely reflects this.

      2) I'm not sure I'd count Adele as geeky or schlubby. Yeah, she's fat, but also gorgeous. (I nixed using Melissa McCarthy as an example for this same reason). I also think its a shame that Hollywood would rather 'Ugly up' a beautiful woman or put her in a fat suit, than actually cast a real-life, less attractive, or fat, woman.

      3) Having high standards is most definitely not limited, nor universal, to women.

      4) Why does our society have such a problem with a woman being overtly seductive?

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  2. The closest I've seen to this storyline is "The Truth About Cats and Dogs". Though it gives the unpleasant feeling that the guy may still choose the model over the "brain", even after he understands that his blind attraction was to the brain. The rarity of the story has always made that film watchable to me.

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    Replies
    1. IIRC, wasn't Muriel's wedding along similar lines? It's been so long since I've seen that one.

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Engaging in discussion and/or general sucking up.. that's where it's at!

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