This week my lovely husband started his new job. He is working nights, which as a chef isn’t all that strange, but he has been working days for the last 3 years so we have pretty much been on the same time zone the whole time we have been in Sydney. The change hasn’t been too bad, except that I have been exceptionally spoilt for the longest time and now suddenly am forced to cook for myself (as a result dinner this week so far has consisted of 2 strawberry freddo frogs and some hot chips). His working nights has meant that I have had lots of time after work for completing all sorts of very important stuff in preparation for our move overseas wasting time and watching stupid movies that are saved on my Foxtel IQ.

Last nights time waster was Miss Congeniality. I don’t really know what I was thinking when I hit play, something along the lines of ‘brainless easy fun’ most likely. I have seen the movie before, many years ago when it was quite new, so I knew what to expect.. standard romcom formula mashed in with a little ‘ugly girl becomes beautiful in the end’ storyline, some funny jokes, a bit of ditz humour.. you know the type. The problem is that somewhere between my last veiwing of Miss Congeniality (around the time I was a country girl moving to the big smoke for the first time followed closely by years of drunken shenanigans and gothed up partying and sharehouse adventures) and last night, I have taken what I like to think of as ‘the red pill’ and become somewhat of a feminist.

As a result, what was once a relaxing zone out type movie is now a jaw clenching/rant about the blatant misogyny type movie. The worst part is that the whole thing is packaged up in the lovely little psuedo feminist/girl power box and tied with a lovely pink ribbon. *puke*

To give you a bit of an idea here is some examples of the dialogue:

1. After one FBI agent brings up the photo of a female FBI agent and – using some doll dressing software – transforms the photo from one of her in her uniform to one of her in a bathing suit: “what did I tell you? Hot, right?” *insert enthusiastic noises as they leer at their collegue*, This is followed by groans of horror and disgust as the rest of the “unhot” female staff members are shown on screen with saggy arms and bellies.

2. The male and female lead are wresting and arguing about whether or not the female lead is going to wear a dress and she asks “where am I gonna put my gun?” he replies “no place I want to know about” and pats her on the butt. A harmless joke you say, except for the intended imagery of this woman being penetrated with a loaded gun.

3. The female lead appears at the welcome breakfast and she meets the other Miss America contenstants for the first time while the male agents sit in their office watching the footage (from her hidden camera) on screen. You hear them say “I love my job!” (who wouldn’t if you get to sit around objectifying women all day long!) “Not a bad view. Not bad at all!” “Look at all the hoochie mama!” “I like that – oh yeah!” *rolls eyes* it gets worse though when our protagonist enters the female dressing room and all the men gather round intently. One man says “You see the legs on that girl? Who’s your daddy?”

4. Then there is the female organiser of the event who talks about the people who are against the ‘pagaent’ she says “You know who I mean. Feminists… Intellectuals… Ugly Women” Because of course the only reason why you would be against it is because you are green with envy.. and of course it’s about more than leering men, you only have to see the reactions of the men supposedly hired to protect these women to see that!

5. The worst part though, and by far the most disturbing for me, wasn’t in the form of the spoken word but was a scene where ‘Frank’ the organiser’s son was testing out his bomb. The bomb – in the form of a tiara – was placed on the head of a naked female mannequin which was standing in a dark carpark. The figure of the naked woman was then blown up and her charred, smoking body – some parts still in flames graced our screens.. now if that isn’t misogynistic imagery what is?!?

The worst part of all of this is that this movie – and all movies in the genre – are aimed at women! This chick flick was made for – and marketed to – women the world over. No one expects that men are going to be queueing up to see this movie.. it really makes you wonder doesn’t it? I mean just what kind of anti-woman sentiment goes on in movies designed for men if this is what we see in a genre targetted at women? And what message are we sending to women when a ‘feel good’ girly movie is filled with so many negative references about body image and beauty? What are we teaching young women when men in a position of trust are shown to be ogling women and making negative remarks about their bodies as a form of comedy? When the female lead is considered ugly until she puts on heels and a dress and only then does the male lead fall in love with her?

There are so many more things I could say about this movie, but to be honest I’m just too freaked out by the fact that I once watched this movie without a second thought. In a way I suppose it shows that I’ve come a long way – in terms of ‘feminist’ enlightenment and that is something to feel good about. But at the same time it is a very stark reminder of just how insidious this stuff really is.

Advertisements