Thursday, May 08, 2008

Gender roles in Hollywood films

In The New York Times, Manohla Dargis wonders whether women will ever get the chance to take the lead in Hollywood movies.
Nobody likes to admit the worst, even when it’s right up there on the screen, particularly women in the industry who clutch at every pitiful short straw, insisting that there are, for instance, more female executives in Hollywood than ever before. As if it’s done the rest of us any good. All you have to do is look at the movies themselves — at the decorative blondes and brunettes smiling and simpering at the edge of the frame — to see just how irrelevant we have become. That’s as true for the dumbest and smartest of comedies as for the most critically revered dramas, from “No Country for Old Men” (but especially for women) to “There Will Be Blood” (but no women). Welcome to the new, post-female American cinema.
Elsewhere in the NYT, A.O. Scott asks why men in Hollywood must always be boys.
The attachment to the emotional world of childhood and adolescence — along with the fetishistic, fake-ironic clinging to tokens of that world — is so widespread that it almost escapes notice. Impulsive, self-centered, loyal to our pals, anxious about women, physically restless, slow-witted and geeky: that’s just what we’re like, isn’t it? John Updike once remarked that in America “a man is a failed boy,” but it increasingly seems that a man is, at last, a triumphant boy, with access to money, sex and freedom but without the sad grown-up ballast of duty and compromise.

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