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Melissa Silverstein

Melissa Silverstein

Posted: July 22, 2009 11:29 AM

Women & Misogyny: The Ugly Truth


It will come as no shock to anyone that women can be as sexist and misogynistic as men. That's a fact most of us have figured out. But it's so much more depressing when women get kicked in the teeth by other women on a great big movie screen.

I was looking forward to seeing The Ugly Truth because of Katherine Heigl. She is a TV and movie star which is a hard thing to pull off nowadays. She's also developing her own material with her producing partner and manager, her mom. And she stood up to Judd Apatow in saying that Knocked Up was sexist. But she has lost a lot of credibility since her new flick The Ugly Truth is sexist and misogynistic.

Raunchy R rated comedies are one of the "things" now in Hollywood. Think The Hangover and all of the Judd Apatow flicks and the knockoffs of his flicks. Most of those films are about guys where women are basically missing and underwritten. According to a Variety article Hollywood thinks that it can make money doing R rated comedies from a women's perspective. The article says these comedies are part of a "naughty girl" movement (could that be more sexist?) that is supposedly led by members of the Diablo Cody "fempire."

Lumping women writers together is a common technique but Juno is nothing like The Ugly Truth. Now I know Diablo Cody doesn't need me to defend her, but Juno didn't sell out women the way the way The Ugly Truth does. Incidentally Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith who wrote the script of The Ugly Truth with Nicole Eastman were not included in the story about the fempire so there is no way to know whether they are a part of the group.

Heigl plays a type of woman we have been seeing a lot lately. The good at work but bad at life woman. She is the producer of a morning show who turns into a walking idiot when she allows Gerard Butler's Mike to school her in the ways of dating. He basically says no guy would want a woman with your personality so dump who you are and pretend to be someone else cause that's how you will get the guy. The film is riddled with cliches about competent women and how they are all control freaks, have cats, wear ponytails, wear comfortable clothes, don't masturbate etc. Basically the film's premise tells women to throw out 40 years of women's progress cause it's such a turn off. BTW the film also sells out and demeans men.

I can understand the excitement that McCullah Lutz, Eastman and Smith must have had when they were given the freedom to write like a guy after years of being reigned in. Here's what they said in the Variety article.

"When they told us to make it R, the heavens opened and the angels sang," Lutz says. "We always pitch our dirty jokes to each other knowing we can't use them. Suddenly, it was like, 'Oh my God! We can write like we actually talk!' "

But just because you have the freedom to say f-ck or c-ck as many times as you want does that mean that you should? And does this mean that we are now going to see women's comedies, that are just as bad as the guys in the theatres, where the ones that are actually subversive and stand up for women like Spring Breakdown get relegated to the DVD shelves?

Is this progress?

Can Girls Out-Gross Guys at the Box Office? (Variety) Originally posted on Women & Hollywood.

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