No Boys Allowed: Introduction

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in No Boys Allowed | 0 comments


“In Douglas Sirk movies the women think;
it’s something that gives me hope.”
– Rainer Werner Fassbinder

I’m just a little bit bothered by people referring to certain movies as “chick flicks.” These are the movies marketed more toward women/girls, and are often love stories, rom/coms (romantic comedies), or musicals. I’m not bothered by the term itself, but the fact that there isn’t a label for movies marketed to men/boys. (The way “Penis Pics” or “Dick Pics” rolls off the tongue, it surprises me they haven’t caught on yet. Also, is it too late for me to change the phrase “rolls of the tongue” to something else?) Certainly those would be shoot-em-up action movies or westerns.

The term “chick flick” doesn’t just denote who the target audience is. Hasn’t it also come to be known as a mark of quality? Calling a movie a “chick flick” immediately knocks it down a notch. Herein lies the problem, and the reason “chick flick” terminology needs to change or else a male term (whether it references genitalia or not) needs to be adopted. Many “chick flicks” are total garbage. That’s true. But so are many shoot-em-ups and westerns. In fact, the vast majority of cinema is garbage. And the terms “sucks,” “lame,” “awful,” and myriads of others are just as effective in passing this message. So saying “chick flick” as a mark of “quality” actually has nothing to do with that. Something else is at play.

What “chick flick” does is signal to other “men” that they will not enjoy it, and if they do, they aren’t a “man.” In the case that a gal convinced him to see it in a theater, they are “whipped.” If they enjoy it or remember any specifics about it, they are “gay” or have a “mangina.” Something to that effect. Women, meanwhile, are automatically expected to tolerate the shoot-em-up movies or, even more hilarious, learn to enjoy them. Because that’s what a woman is supposed to do, and never the other way around.

I’m not passing on some hippie moral like “everyone just get along and like everything and eat barley.” I’m just saying: like what you want to like. There should be a world where a man can like a musical and a woman can dig machine gun fire. And it should be especially OK to enjoy films, regardless of their shitty marketing schemes, that are good. I think feeling insecure about watching a Meg Ryan movie is a way bigger “pussy move” than actually watching it. A man’s man, to me, is one who can admit to watching You’ve Got Mail. And if he liked it, who cares? He’ll still look badass when he’s chopping wood later.

So when you read the title of this chapter, I don’t want to you think that I’m perpetuating this societal miscarriage. I am, however, recognizing that it exists and will use this space to implore parents to watch these films with your children (no matter their gender) as you would any other movie (those from the Ready to Rumble chapter, for instance). There are just as many enjoyable romantic movies as action movies out there (The Princess Bride ingeniously combined the two), so let’s stop labeling movies based on the audience they’re intended for. But feel free to reduce them to the one-word reviews that you pass in conversation (“sucks” or “awesome sauce-um”). As you’ll notice, the movies in this chapter aren’t necessarily romantic or musical – in fact, Mulan would probably qualify as an action movie. They do, however, have one thing in common: the lead characters are all positive female role models that young girls can look up to. Also, they’re pretty damn good. And I’m not afraid to say it.

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