I’m actually a pretty big sucker for holiday movies. I have no idea why – the plots are non-existent, the acting is schlocky and the feel-good payoff at the end is already known within the first five minutes.
But let’s talk about the women. Women in Christmas movies ultimately find romance and love by the end, and they usually realize that’s all they’ve ever really wanted anyway and, like, whoa, how cool that it came at such a magical time of year? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been luckier in love around the holidays than I have during the rest of the year…magic, schmagic.
I have a few examples from movies I’ve watched this season, predominantly on Lifetime (television for women, ugh, really?) and ABC Family.
Santa Baby featured a powerful executive-type woman who happens to be Santa’s daughter. Santa has a heart attack, and she has to go home and help out. She applies her real world experience in streamlining and making things more efficient…and fails, of course. She also runs into an old flame and rekindles the love, much to the annoyance of her current beau, with whom she has to schedule simple dates. By the end, she figures out she didn’t really like the current beau. All she really wanted was her old flame, who she got. Yays!
Under The Mistletoe featured a woman who’d lost her fabulous husband a year prior and is struggling financially to keep her and her son alive. Ignore the fact that she still lives in a ginormous, expensive-looking house, because we all know there’s no way anyone in financial straits would think to sell the house and move into something cheaper. I mean, where would we get the angst? Her dead husband, by the way, lingers around as a spirit and colludes with her 11 year old son to hook her up with a new man – he wants his wife happy, after all. It just so happens there’s a contest that offers $50,000 to a “winning couple.” I never quite figured that bit out, but anyway…the woman goes out on dates, finds the guy she thinks is perfect but really just wants the money and eventually (though I don’t know how, as they shared very little screen time) falls in love with her son’s school counselor, who spent more time with the kid than she did during the course of the movie. Yays! She gets the perfect man (and he was hot – I watched because it was Michael Shanks in that role, heh.) and the money and her husband can finally rest in peace. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
I could probably give lots more examples of how these movies tend to portray women as strong and independent at first, but really they just want a man. All She Wants For Christmas was an actual title, and she actually wanted her man (despite having a brilliant business mind and lofty goals – she settled when her rich boyfriend offered her a job at home so she’d stick around. Why leave home when all the good stuff comes to you – the man, the job the man promotes you to…). The Road To Christmas portrayed a woman as a successful, snobby photographer who wanted nothing but the safety and security of marriage…to a man she discovered was gay, but that’s okay because on the road trip she took to meet him in Aspen, she hitched a ride with a charming, blue-collar man and fell in love with him in two days and so managed her safety and security anyway, and this time with the right guy.
Awww, pass me the tissues.