This news makes us so sad, because we love Gerard Butler (hello, King Leonidas!), but his new movie, Playing for Keeps, is so. So. Bad. Seriously, look at the reviews. They’re scary!
Playing for Keeps is a romantic comedy, and the basis of it is pretty much this: a good-looking jerk with not much going for him makes all the women in town melt. They’re all needy, whiny, and the only one who resists him–played by Jessica Biel–is pretty much a frumpy, conservative mess (and, spoiler alert–but not really, because these movies are super predictable–she eventually falls for him, too). The gist is “Hey, treat women like crap, because they don’t know any better. They’ll totes love you for it!”
Basically, Playing for Keeps–and most other rom-coms–just make us look bad. And that’s bad enough in itself, but becomes even worse when you remember that they’re made, marketed, and sold for women to watch!
Most romantic comedies just make us look desperate, sad, needy, and like we can’t function without a dude. Even the movies in which the female characters are made to seem independent, at least on the surface, they spend the bulk of that time pursuing a guy–or finally caving into one. And honestly, most of them aren’t even funny. Another thing to consider? In most rom-coms, it’s an average looking guy who gets to land the Megan Fox-type girl. You never see someone actually sort of normal and human looking, like Rebel Wilson, dating Gerard Butler in a script unless it’s for a quick and easy joke, do you? And if there’s ever a feminist character, she’s usually either annoying, shrill, uptight, loud, unattractive, or a combination of all that, and she usually is portrayed as needing to “loosen up.” (And guess who loosens her up? That’s right, a jerky guy!)
It bums us out that stars we love are associated with movies so anti-feminist and annoying. This is probably one reason why Miley Cyrus isn’t a fan of rom-coms–she actually told a newspaper, “My worst kind of movies to watch are romantic movies. It makes me feel so uncomfortable. I can’t stand it. I really love comedies.” Because, hey! You can be funny without perpetuating gender stereotypes, and that’s awesome.
Perhaps the scariest part of the romantic comedy conundrum is that so many of us sort of look to these movies to see how we think relationships should be. But relationships should be based on mutual respect, admiration, interest, and affection. Most romantic comedies have the romance rooted in deception, sexism, or what would constitute in the real world as outright harassment.
This isn’t to say that you should stop going to the movies or be ashamed for liking rom-coms. But we just wish rom-coms, which are supposed to appeal to women and girls, actually portrayed us as the strong, multidimensional, and, yes, feminist characters that we are.
Do you think Playing for Keeps is sexist? Do you like romantic comedies? Do you think romantic comedies need to be more feminist? Tell us in the comments!