Downfall of comedies: Mistreating female characters (part 2)

At this very moment, I’m traveling towards Copenhagen airport to fly back home after being an exchange student in Sweden for 5 months. I’m excited to go back home but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to post something on my blog today – responsibilities people, responsibilities. So, as some of you might remember, I posted part 1 of “Downfall of comedies” on Wednesday and promised to talk more about the overall process of mistreating the characters and especially focusing on women. As I already mentioned in my post about romantic comedies, I’m not happy how female characters are nowadays being portrayed.

With all those humiliating situation described, such as bodily liquids, cursing and god-knows-what, I feel as if it is even more offensive when that kind of behavior is put upon a female character. As if making them desperate for love and incapable of being successful and happy at the same time isn’t enough, now in top of it all, they are stupid as fuck! Yes, I said “fuck”, which is a word I try to avoid in my blog but I can’t describe this situation without using this specific multifunctional curse word. It’s just so annoying, it is actually unbelievable how many stupid things women do in movies nowadays, and not just the stupid characters like the Playboy blondie from House Bunny, but also the smart ones like Kirsten Dunst’s character in Bachelorette. Obviously, she isn’t the best example of being smart but she was among her group the closest to a person of intelligence and yet, things she did were complete disasters.

Another factor that comes to mind when thinking about women in comedies is now the “cat-fight” or the constitutional need to add girlfriend dramas into the mix of comedies. Everybody, let’s think back to some of the latest comedies revolving around girls doing outrageous things over something specific – the number one premises of the latest comedies I can recall from the top of my head is a wedding! The Hangover started it, Bride Wars, Bridesmaids and Bachelorette followed – while the first focused on making men look like cavemen, the following movies made female relationships look like a pile of horror. Honestly, the fact that all the bridesmaids in Bachelorette hated Rebel Wilson’s character, or at least were focused on only portraying a dislike towards her, raised an important matter.

One thing is showing women incapable of coping with their own lives, something romantic comedies have been doing ever since I can remember, but the other is showing them off as evil beings who mistreat other women. Of course, it is an essential factor in real life but those comedies I mentioned deal all with friendships between these women! Therefore, these women should love one another not try to ruin their wedding day or destroy a party of your best friend – I would never treat my friends like that, so why should movie characters do those things? Before you tell me that all that screaming and yelling and slapping is funny, I would say that it’s funny to a point where it becomes humiliating and that pretty much happens almost right away, for me at least.

My criticism might be based on subjective feelings towards the portrayal of female characters in comedies but not all those feelings are negative. One of the best examples of a strong female character, who in her very core is not mistreated by any means, is Olivie from Easy A. She shows that making mistakes is okay, she also proves that telling the truth isn’t that bad and though she and her friend have a fight, they don’t start purposely ruining their lives or crash their parties to throw things. And let’s be honest, that comedy is funny and no mistreated female characters were needed to make that movie happen. Though the role Amanda Bynes might have taken things too overboard but that in some ways also comes down to acting.

Ending this post will be hard, because I could go on and on about things that bother me with female characters, not just in comedies, but also in many other films including TV. As I have tried to start watching Girls, I can’t get over the horror I witnessed in the first episode. There is something about that leading character that I can’t grasp and it feels as if the writer herself mistreats the “underdog” character to a point where she feels uncomfortable. But who am I to say what Girls is all about, I haven’t even been able to get past its first episode! Anyway, to rally up these thoughts, I would  like to hear your opinions on female characters, especially from ladies and maybe even from men, because while women are mistreated as characters, men always seem to like them in the movies. As if being stupid as fuck but meanwhile hot, makes you so irresistible to the opposite sex.

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9 thoughts on “Downfall of comedies: Mistreating female characters (part 2)”

  1. I can’t argue with you on this point either. I don’t think it’s necessarily worse to treat women this way than to treat men this way (I try to be fairly egalitarian when it comes to depictions of the sexes), but there’s definitely something wrong with the way that comedies are treating characters nowadays. For a long time, women were treated as the flighty romantics, or shrews. Men were idiots or jerks. Now women can be idiots as well; there may be some flighty romantic men in there too, but none come to mind. Ostensibly, this bridging of the gender gap on the “right to be an idiot” should be a good thing, but there’s a bit of a flaw in it.

    It’s OK to depict the occasional woman or man as an idiot, or as a jerk. What’s not OK — and what they seem to be doing — is depicting every woman or man that way. There’s nobody normal, no everyman character who is just having a comedic bad day out of sheer bad luck, the way Bill Murray and Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn used to. And if there is a normal character, that’s all they are — there is literally nothing to their personality beyond “He’s not stupid or mean-spirited.” They’re a cipher with nothing interesting to them.

    The end result is that there’s nobody in the comedy who feels like a real character. And it really makes me wonder about these writers, directors, and actors that keep producing these films… is that really how they perceive the world? If so, it goes a long way towards explaining why Hollywood relationships are so unstable. There’s no respect for each other.

    1. Oh wow, I see you share my opinion on the matter. I should write these types of articles more often to see if people have the same feelings. Anyhow, yes, totally agree but I do think indie comedy, come to think of it, is in a better place but they are not blockbuster famous so they are a bit harder to stumble on. I’m gonna watch one today and give it a review soon, so who knows, maybe it has potential.

      And clearly this issue can be discussed further and further to a point where psychology comes to play and so on – I bet the stupidity and all is actually a part of a big conspiracy to make people as stupid and then scam them from their money. Hah. That would be a plot for a great comedy!

      1. I agree that you should do a few more posts like this, it’s really interesting 🙂 Good call on Easy A, It’s worrying that I’m scanning my mind and off the top of my head I can’t think of another example. Except perhaps Juno; she makes several mistakes, learns from them and comes out not only still as sharp and funny as she was at the beginning of the movie, but also more adult and understanding.

        1. Juno indeed, but I wouldn’t say it is a main stream comedy, more indie type.. and I actually think that indie comedies are in a good place at the moment, but they are less heard of so that’s why I can’t even recall any of those on the top of my head.

  2. I have to say it’s very hard to come by a female character I actually enjoy in modern comedies. Even when women do stupid things the lengths to which it is taken is just beyond my understanding – like the gross sex the main character in Bridesmdais and Girls that is being endured, but why? for what? It is just humiliating, not funny and actually pitiful.

    Other characters are just evil bitches – all the chicks in Girls except for Zosia Mamet’s character – or they are dull – like the protagonist in Pitch Perfect. Thank God for Emma Stone – she was very likable and human both in Easy A and Crazy Stupid Love. Though I hear she is in Movie 43 so this cannot be good :/

    1. I know, it is just horrible how I can’t relate to any characters. I started watching Miranda though and I enjoy it a lot because she is so awkward and clumsy and insane and yet, she herself doesn’t understand why. Brits still have my respect when it comes to comedy.
      Movie 43 is supposedly awful, I’m not even going to suffer through the trailer. And I will erase the memory of everybody I love being apart of it.

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