You’re less of a man if you see this movie

This is a public service announcement to all men. I know a lot of men have suspected what I’m about to say for some time, but today it was confirmed by the powers that be: from today, henceforward, all men who choose to view so-called “chick flicks” in a state of full consciousness will be pointed at, laughed at, fired from their job, banned from the company of women, and forced to undergo a sex change operation. They will, in short, lose their manhood.

“In fact, women have always been going. But while women will see a movie like ‘Gone in 60 Seconds,’ that seems like it’s been made for men, and think nothing of it, a man would not go to a “˜Ya-Ya Sisterhood’ without some kind of a bribe being offered. It’s not a two-way street.”

From NYTimes.

This is, naturally, because watching a movie about women or women’s concerns makes you a woman. Luckily, women are immune from the reverse phenomenon and can attend all the Rambo movies safely without becoming men.

There is another option, fortunately.

Though tough-girl movies like “Charlie’s Angels” can appeal to both sexes, men may be embracing them for different reasons. “To women, these movies say ‘Girls kick ass. With men, it’s ‘Girls have ass,’ ” says Press. “That’s it in a nutshell.”

The real danger, of course, is that our young strapping boys – the Great White Fathers of tomorrow – will see a movie and identify with a woman characters, which would naturally make them women. While women often do identify with male characters, it turns out that our society has so little vested interest in what women identify themselves as, that no one has really looked into what women see in these characters. The general presumption – even among women – is that women watch male characters because they find them attractive. The fact that women are able to identify and empathize with men without changing who they are has slipped completely under the radar.

Which is a good thing. It doesn’t make up for getting paid less for the same work or any of the other inequalities women deal with, but it is nice to know that your core identity is strong enough not to be compromised by empathizing with another human being.

Note: guys, this is a tongue-in-cheek rant. I know you’re not really that lame. Well, some of you aren’t. This is what filmmakers think of you, though. If you don’t appreciate it, broaden your viewing horizons a bit and screw up their demographic numbers. I promise you, even though you won’t get to see it, somewhere some guys in suits will have their heads literally explode all over their cubicles. Now that’s my idea of an action flick.


  1. says

    Brilliant! What wouldn’t I give to by a fly on the wall when the head-exploding happens (entertainment with food thrown in for good measure – a fly take-away, though it might not be very nutritious). I hope that your rallying cry to discerning males has an impact!

  2. SunlessNick says

    I was about fifteen when I first read Lord of the Rings. I didn’t really have a favorite character, but I had a small clutch of characters who’d done my favourite things – one of them was Eowyn.

    On the offchance you’re unfamiliar with the story, she is a princess from a culture easiest to describe as Norse, but with horses instead of boats. She’s disguised herself as a man and gone to war to defend her people because she is’t prepared not to defend them. During the battle, she ends up facing the Nazgul Lord, a demonic creature that “no living man can kill” – it tells her as much, and she replies that she’s not a man – which makes it hesitate slightly. And ok, she isn’t able to win against it without help from one of the hobbits (who’s also not a man), but that’s not really the point – she has no expectation of being able to win, but is there to defend her people (and at that exact moment also her uncle) and won’t back down. And I remember thinking that I wished I’d be strong/brave/cool enough to do that in her position. Most of Eowyn’s portrayal didn’t really live up to that moment (something Tolkien himself regretted IIRC), and I’ve encountered much stronger/braver/cooler female characters since. But at the time, the only competition she had were the little girls from the Narnia books. And I had no qualms about finding Eowyn something of a role model.

    I hear a lot about positive female role models, and that’s great, but I wonder if maybe it would be even better for role models to ignore gender lines entirely, and just focus on virtues. Is it so weird for me – as a guy – to aspire to the fortitude of an Ellen Ripley, the loyalty of an Eowyn, or the strength of an Aeryn Sun? (Compared to the same found in Kyle Reese, Faramir, or Ka’Dargo?). If my manhood can’t survive that, it’s probably doomed anyway.

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