Opinion : Chick Flick Films

January 29, 2017

The other week I was completing my Film Studies coursework focussing on the Chick Flick genre. Unfortunately, after analysing the films it was evident that Hollywood was still presenting women through stereotypes.

Throughout the years, I have really struggled to watch films that depict women in this manner. The other day I was sat with my dad watching the James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. The film was so sickeningly sexist I got up and left. God knows what happened to Diana Riggs’ character by the end of the film!? 

Yet, Chick Flicks do the exact same, so why do I continue to watch and endorse them? 
Part of me thinks it’s because I find the protagonist identifiable. A Media Student from NYU put it perfectly- 

“For women chick-flicks are an array of hope for their own lives. They feel like they are in the same position as the protagonists of these movies who are suffering in some sort of way, such as family problems or problems with friends at school. Thus, watching these movies gives them happiness and hope that their lives will turn out to be the same as the character.” 

In turn, this has allowed the film to exploit some of the generalised problems the average young female faces and portrays how they overcome their obstacles and live ‘happily ever after’. If only life was that perfect (sorry kids it’s not), however it provides optimism that *maybe, just maybe* if we follow the protagonists actions, our troublesome lives will lead to a similar happiness. 

Per say, every time I watch Legally Blonde and see Elle studying rather than socialising and attending frat parties and subsequently being accepted into Harvard Law School; subconsciously Elle’s actions become my actions- I study hard because according to the films that’s how you succeed. What the film fails to show is 1. The extensive periods of procrastination and 2. What I like to call the ‘burnt out phase’/existential crisis stage. 

What these films show is the ideal, the ideal that is impossible for the average person to achieve. Thus, when I realise that reading textbooks on an a cross trainer (Legally Blonde reference) does not work, I go to another Chick Flick for more ideas on how to achieve success… again and again…

Even though, Chick flicks have many downfalls I still love them. 

So, pass me the popcorn I am off to watch Mean Girls!


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