"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Beauty and the Doofus

Last summer, when I was making my way through every episode of 90210, I posted about some stereotype-breaking, gender-flipped scenarios I'd love to see on television.

The other night, Dan and I watched Anchorman, and not only was it way less funny to me than it was six years ago, but it got me thinking about how annoyingly common this premise is in comedy:

Absolutely ridiculous, unattractive and/or unintelligent male protagonist actively and creepily pursues and/or sexually harasses a beautiful (but not funny), intelligent female love interest. She is either immediately or eventually (and often without explanation) won over by him and falls deeply and madly in love. They work together to resolve some sort of plot conflict. He remains comically strange and unattractive. She remains beautiful. They live happily ever after. The end.

(See Wayne's World, Austin Powers, Anchorman, Zoolander, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and a million others.)

Just ONCE, I'd like to see the gender roles reversed. Can you think of any film at all where a super-quirky, not necessarily beautiful female lead lands a strikingly handsome guy with little to no personality? The only examples I can think of that come close are the ones where the female character is a robot, alien, mannequin, or mermaid, and she is quirky by virtue of her non-humanness. However, in these movies she is still incredibly beautiful, and the story is still told from the point of view of the male character who falls in love with her.

It's just nauseating sometimes.

(See here for an example of a similar conundrum.)