Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'll Have What She's Having?

"The women of "He's Just Not That Into You" probably have never seen "Thelma and Louise," but they've seen "When Harry Met Sally" a few times," writes William C. McLean. While I agree to a certain degree, I keep asking myself, did feminism even happen?
I definitely enjoy a good rom-com and would never identify Thelma and Louise as belonging to that genre, though I do love it as an empowering, albeit tragic, women's buddy film. When Harry Met Sally, though not as kickass, still offers more empowering moments for Meg Ryan's oh-so-cute Sally, than many of the women in get in He's Just Not That Into You. Granted, a rom-com should not be judged by how empowered the female characters are, but if the women in rom-coms are constantly preoccupied with figuring out what men want and seeking their affirmation, what does that say about the women in the audience, like myself, who watch this stuff. Ok, so it's not ONLY women in the audience, but still, I would like to think me and other women are not only obsessed with figuring out men and seeking their affirmation. Because for one thing, that's assuming a lot of straightness about my sexuality.

Movies aren't life. They may reflect it sometimes but I hate it when I leave the theater and a pack of girlfriends go on and on about how this rom-com is exactly like their life. Yeah, some awkward moments that the adorable Ginnifer Goodwin had ring painfully true with the trials and tribulations of my love life, but I really need to believe that I and other women are not that insecure.

For one thing, aren't the post-feminist women in the audience and on screen presumably fans of Sex and the City and therefore realize the importance of female sexual pleasure? The film is PG-13, therefore it lacks the full-frontal fun, but is made readily available for every girl and woman's adolescent (minus the raging hormones) fantasies. Sex is removed from relationship dynamics, and when shown or hinted at are acts of desperation and usually show the male, actually just Bradley Cooper as douchebag extraordinaire, in the dominant role. If this film is supposed to be considered THE relationship/chick-flick film, which I don't think it is, shouldn't depicting a woman's sexual experience be part of what gives this rom-com preeminent status? The film is definitely engrossing and will make you laugh and maybe even tear up a bit, but I'm left wondering do I really want what she's having?