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Laugh, Don’t Cry: Chick Flicks Are Sci-Fi Sub-Genre, Female Stereotypes Still Depressing in Media

Laugh, Don't Cry: Chick Flicks Are Sci-Fi Sub-Genre, Female Stereotypes Still Depressing in Media

Thompson on Hollywood

The Office actress-writer Mindy Kaling’s “Flick Chicks: A guide to women in the movies” in the The New Yorker takes a humorous look at a depressing subject.

Based on what she’s learned in the industry, the actress foresees movies such as Crest Whitestrips, Streptococcus vs. Candidiasis, Human Quilt and Bananagrams 3D (oh, goody: call this series Movies That Make Me Want to Live Under A Rock). Kaling also professes her love for romantic comedies, which–while “essentially an admission of mild stupidity”–is not exactly the confession you’d expect:

“I regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world operates according to different rules than my regular human world. For me, there is no difference between Ripley from Alien and any Katherine Heigl character. They are equally implausible. They’re all participating in a similar level of fakey razzle-dazzle, and I enjoy every second of it.”

As with sci-fi, there are also female prototypes in the romantic comedy genre that don’t actually exist in reality: The Klutz, The Ethereal Weirdo, The Woman Who Is Obsessed with Her Career and Is No Fun at All, The Forty-two-Year-Old Mother of the Thirty-Year-Old Male Lead, The Sassy Best Friend, The Skinny Woman Who Is Beautiful and Toned but Also Gluttonous and Disgusting, The Woman Who Works in an Art Gallery.

This article, among the many we’ve posted on women in the media (see below), makes us laugh– instead of crying.

What Comparing Bridesmaids and The Hangover Reveals About Hollywood’s Gender Problem

Gender Imbalance in Media, Geena Davis, Broken Models of Masculinity & Femininity

Prom Early Reviews: Formulaic Tween Fantasy Flick or Stereotype Reinforcer?

Anna Faris and Women at the Movies: Not a Pretty Picture

More Than Just Funny: How Women Took Comedy by the Balls

Geena Davis, Callie Khouri and Mimi Polk Gitlin Talk Thelma & Louise at 20

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Regarding Kaling’s claim that romantic comedies have been terribly degraded in the past twenty years: that would erase a great decade of cinema. The Nineties were a golden age of film, including romantic comedies, and many high quality romantic comedies were still being made in the early Aughties. 2000 in particular was a very good year. Some of the years since then have been pretty rough, but there’s been a smattering of good romantic comedies in the past decade. Some of my favorites of the past 10 years include The Mexican, Wedding Crashers, A Very Long Engagement, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. There were many lesser films that were enjoyable and hardly degraded the genre. I liked Maid in Manhattan, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Love and Other Disasters and The Ramen Girl. Just because there have some failures is no reason to give up on the genre. You’ve got to have hope. ;-)


I’ve had a couple of scripts rejected beause the female leads were “too smart,” “too strong,” “too independent,” etc.; I even had three different producers say they’d buy one script if I changed the female lead to male. I politely declined. Bottom line: I just think they’re frightened of smart, strong women. ALIEN was a lo-o-o-ong time ago.

BTW, there IS a difference between Katherine Heigl and Sigourney Weaver: Weaver can act.


There’s a big difference between a “chick flick” which I along with 99.9% of all men avoid and a “woman’s picture” that Hollywood used to make in abundance blindfolded and now have completely forgotten how to make. (Personally I blame it on all these nerds who run Hollywood and still read comic books when the cut off used to be 15 and never even kissed a girl until they were over 30)

Bridesmaids was definitely in my opinion a “woman’s picture, just a very funny one. And that fact that Katherine Hiegl wasn’t in it no doubt helped a lot. Can she kill a film or what?


As an adult professional woman, I find little more depressing than movies made, ostensibly, for women. It’s a testament to institutionalized sexism, akin to the overwhelming racism that plagues this country. While Bridesmaids is the funniest live-action movie this summer and certainly not the best movie ever made, it’s the best female-oriented genre film to be released in decades.

Anything starring Katherine Heigl verges on being a horror film as far as I’mconcerned. The movies are an insult, playing to the grossest stereotypes and lowest common denomenators. The House Bunny was more feminist than most of the mainstream material that is green-lighted. When I watch movies like “Team America: World Police” or “Role Models” or even “Bridesmaids”, I don’t understand why the film industry is categorically unwilling to allow for intelligent movies starring women.

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