Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Bit on Knocked Up

This gets at why I don't like what I've seen of the movie:

Meghan O’Rourke tackles the stereotype of women in comedies, especially romantic comedies, as joy killers, after Katherine Heigl got pissed on in the media for telling the truth about how Knocked Up fed off the standard trope of men as fun-loving (if irresponsible) and women as responsible but tedious and boring. It was hard not to be defensive of Knocked Up, and not just because it was so funny, but also because Apatow at least tried to show the parallels between men’s fears and women’s fears about adulthood. He grasped that women do have inner lives, but he just failed to write the female characters with the same understanding he brought to the male characters. He showed a glimmer of understanding that the endless rotation of work in a woman’s life is not necessarily something that women want but have embraced because they feel they don’t have a choice, whereas most movies and shows and commercials that position the men as boisterous children and women as disapproving authority figures seem to think that women are mysterious non-human creatures who get off on being fundamentally unlikeable.


Rapid Runner said...

It is always good to see people keeping an eye out for gender stereotypes that might perpetuate the problem. Somehow though, many have seen the solution to be systematic male bashing to somehow even the score. Watch some children's TV. Almost all the adult males are idiots or villains.

There is some fun to be had poking fun at very real gender differences but we should be equally diligent when watching for stories that cross the line whichever gender is stereotyped.

Feminists should be especially concerned because after all, boys are affected by the media too and the media is telling them they they are, by nature, bad, bad, bad.

Strayer said...

It seems to me most movies and TV shows are written from male perspective with little understanding of the female mind or female lives or roles. We need more women script writers.

Dennis said...

I love these two comments together: The claim that adult males are portrayed as idiots on TV and the implication that most TV writers are still male.

If the latter is true, why would a group of guys do the former?

For the record, I am not convinced of either point (especially the first).

Instead, I think it's often men who are laughing at the idiot males - every guy I know who watched Knocked Up loved the male characters.

Rapid Runner said...

I guess that we would have to watch some television and movies that are by women for women to have a full perspective on this. Chick flicks and Opera I guess.

You do that and get back to me.

Dennis said...

First of all, it's Oprah. Check your spelling.

Second, I think the message from the media is that boys should stay boys as long as possible, avoiding responsibility and preferring videogames and cheap alcohol (and the denigration of women) until the last possible second, when the woman they impregnated on accident gives birth to their child.

Gag me.

Also, what makes you think "chick flicks" are written by women?

Rapid Runner said...

My feet are starting to slip, standing here on this ice berg. And it is a very slippery slope.

Yes women have a hard battle overcoming cultural norms rooted in hunting and gathering and then agriculture. All that I am saying is that men do too. It was not that long ago that the best and most evolved men were those who had very good fight or flight instincts and who were good at knocking stuff over and dragging it back to the cave. These attributes remain with us but do not serve us well any more.

Today's criminals might have been epic heros in another time.

When not presented with a message that men are idiots, they see absolutely impossible ideals. Cops with lightening fast judgment and deadly aim. Independently wealthy rogues sporting about in a helicopter. Rap artists and athletes. Show me a popular media role model for boys that is realistic.

Let's stop breaking it down to victim roles and start talking about "we are all in this together."

Dennis said...

Rapid Runner - I think you and I are on the same page when it comes to overcoming nasty and harmful media stereotypes.

However, I wonder if we agree on where such stereotypes come from?

Also, the only "victim" card I'm interested in playing is the one that acknowledges that such prevalent cultural stereotypes have an immense effect on everyone. If this creates a "victim," then who is the aggressor?

Rapid Runner said...

We are all conspirators in this mess. Ultimately it comes down to respect and tolerance. Respect may entail accepting some biological differences and valuing them.

roxy said...

I'm sick of the blame the media cover. Really, I am.

The movie made a ton of money and is the 11th highest grossing movie of the year, so far with somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 million.

Maybe instead of blaming the media, we need to look at where as a society we place our values.

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