Debunking Gender Specific Movies

One form of entertainment media that everybody seems to love, are movies.  Going to see a movie is just about the most popular thing to do for a fun date night or a night out with friends.  This is especially true in the cold weather months of the year.  Which movie to go see is a debate that is particularly prevalent when it comes to couples of all ages. The guy will usually want to see action, but the girl wants to see romance, so who caves? (*cough* usually the guy *cough*).

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The most popular choice for a bunch of guy friends is of course the balls-to-the-walls action extravaganza that recently exploded into theaters, featuring the gun-toting superstar that is seemingly impervious to bullets and injury and has sex with about 6 different women before the credits role.  For the female groups, it seems the preference is the movie about the young and spunky but frumpy woman who is down on her luck but finds Mr. Right out of the blue when he pulls his shirt off exposing his ripped abs and jumps into the water to save her after she accidentally slipped and fell into a pool of water of some sort.  Of course, there are exceptions to these.  No doubt there are plenty of women who love action flicks, and plenty of men who like chick flicks.  I’m here to examine which movies are seemingly chick flicks or action flicks but both genders can’t seem to get enough of and why they seem to appeal to both genders.

Before I discuss some of the movies that appeal to both genders I want to first say that I’m a huge movie buff, and I strongly believe that true masterpieces of cinema transcend genre.  For example, nobody would say the Star Wars movies (the original trilogy mind you) or the Indiana Jones movies (excluding that travesty The Crystal Skull) are pure action movies or pure romance movies and appeal to only men or women.  They have something for everybody in them.  Whether you’re male, female, black, white, yellow, blue, young, old, or middle aged, these movies are loved by all.  So I won’t be mentioning these movie favorites because they are already on this list by default.  Some of these movies include:  Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future Trilogy, Shrek, The Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy, The Avengers, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and many many others.  This blog is simply about some of the movies that were made for one gender or the other, but appeal to both genders for different reasons.  In doing so, it will be explaining why the gender specific movie is being re-thinked in our culture.

Guy movies Girls will Love

Aliens

This was one movie that I was highly contemplating whether or not it should be put on the “default” list.  This movie is widely considered to be one of the best films ever made from a technical standpoint as well as an entertainment standpoint.  I didn’t put it on the “default” list because it seems to be obviously reaching towards the male audience who love “testosterone fueled balls-to-the-walls action extravaganzas” and was even marketed as such.  So I decided to use it as a prime example of how an action movie can appeal to its female audiences as well as keep the men energized with awesome explosions…and aliens!

This movie obviously appeals to the male audience, but what about it seems to appeal to the female audience?  The most obvious point is the incredibly strong female lead.  Sigourney Weaver plays Ripley, a rough but sentimental alien slayer in this movie.  The simple fact that she outlasts most of the men in the movie speaks volumes about how tough and strong willed women can be when put in an extraordinary situation.  The motherly love towards the surviving little girl named Newt is a relationship that speaks to every mother.  Despite Newt not actually being Ripley’s daughter, Ripley develops a motherly attachment to her and even goes so far as to risk her life to go into the bowels of the alien hive to save her.  If you ladies can get past the violence and gore, this is a movie that is a true work of art for both genders to enjoy.

Fight Club

I know what you ladies are thinking, “Fight Club!?  Yeah right!  Watching a bunch of guys wail on each other just to prove to each other how tough they are?  No thanks!”  For any other movie, you would probably be right, but this movie is different.  This movie appeals to women for an entirely different reason than Aliens does.  There are hardly any women in this movie, with the exception of Helena Bonham Carter’s character, so there are no strong female leads for women to root for.  This movie not only expresses the carnal testosterone fueled desire for men to pummel each other, which every guy will probably love about it, but it also “pokes fun at it” in a way.

Being quite violent and having plenty of graphic content, if you ladies can get past it all, you’ll be treated to an incredibly interesting story line as well as one of the biggest movie twists in cinema history.  This movie is also a deep look into the male psyche, so pay close attention, and I hope you’re taking notes.

Girl movies Guys will Love

Now we are getting to the other side, what chick flicks do guys not mind enjoying with a lady friend or spouse?  Being a guy, this side was a bit more difficult for me to write because I’m not into chick flicks in the least for the most part.  However, the ones listed are ones that have lots for men to like despite being either marketed as chick flicks or being widely considered chick flicks:

Titanic

This one is a bit iffy for me to put on this list.  Simply because personally, this is not one of my favorite movies and I would not give it high marks due to my belief that the characters are not well formed.  However, James Cameron certainly directed another truly well-crafted, effective film all around, and money doesn’t lie, it’s considered to be one of the most successful films ever made.

Again, the romance story is more than enough to keep the ladies interested in this movie, but what in the world could guys like about this movie?  Well, believe it or not, this movie, very far in development, was originally going to be marketed as an action movie.

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For good reason, this movie has plenty tension and action sequences in it.  The second half of this movie is a nail biter that keeps the audience engaged, both male and female, by the chaotic nature of a sinking ship.  This action is effective at keeping the women engaged because of the protagonists direct involvement with the hazards that present themselves.  Instead of just action occurring for action sake.  Despite what I said previously about Cameron not fleshing out the characters properly, what he did do properly was create desire for the protagonists to succeed.  This is essential to caring about what happens in the second part of the film, when things go pear shaped as we all knew they would.

Definitely, Maybe

This is one of my favorite movies.  Unlike Titanic, this movie has no action sequences to keep a man’s adrenaline up shortly after all the romance garbage is over and done with.  What this movie has that appeals to everybody is the comedy.

Ryan Reynolds is one of my favorite actors, and is one of the most talented actors in Hollywood today.  He can be an awesome action star, as well as a sentimental, loving father as he is in this movie, and make you laugh when playing both roles through his body language and facial expressions.  At first glance, all men would probably steer clear of this one.  If I wasn’t such a big Ryan Reynolds fan, I probably would have myself.  The comedy isn’t the only thing that is appealing to men in this one.  The trio of lovely and talented women in this movie is something that appeals to men. This is particularly true for Rachel Weisz who is also quite talented and likable in this movie.  This is one of those rare cases that a movie made as a chick flick, is actually liked more by men than it is by women by a tiny fraction.

Wrap up.

Movies are a massive part of our culture, and the simple thought that some movies are just for men, and some movies are just for women is continuously being challenged by talented filmmakers.  These movies are just the surface ice of a massive hidden iceberg (sorry Titanic) of movies that are excellent for both men and women but are seemingly ideal for one or the other.  Next time when you’re at the video store, or about to go out to see a movie, don’t write off an action movie or a chick flick just because it’s an action movie or a chick flick.  It may just turn out to be one of your favorite movies.

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About mbrow2013

This is my first blog, and I'm still getting used to the topic. Working on my criminal justice degree, and will be graduating within the year if all works out.
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4 Responses to Debunking Gender Specific Movies

  1. Lexo says:

    I see you did not have horror films on there but I know both male and females enjoy that genre of film!

  2. mziar001 says:

    Males love horror films because it gives them a chance to show off their “masculinity”.

  3. What really works within the horror conventions but totally subverts them is Buffy, much in the same way that Xena was both a fantasy-epic and making fun of fantasy-epics.

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