Women On Film – The Week In Women, February 6, 2009 – MaryAnn Johanson

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More bitch bitch bitching about how Hollywood mistreats women… but this week we’re not alone in complaining.

BITCH BITCH BITCH: An un-bylined article in Wednesday’s Times o London laments the decline of the chick flick:

Simone de Beauvoir famously announced that “One is not born a woman, but becomes one,” in her 1949 treatise, The Second Sex. She might have added: “But it takes Hollywood to turn one into an hysterical fashion-mongering man-craving anorexic caricature.” For, increasingly, the modern Hollywood women’s picture or so-called chick flick has become home to the worst kind of regressive pre-feminist stereotype and misogynistic cliché.

The rest of the piece doesn’t really say much of anything we women don’t already know about the way Hollywood treats us, but at least someone–bylined or not–is saying it out loud.

WE LIKE HER, WE REALLY, REALLY LIKE HER: Sally Field really, really doesn’t like the idea of plastic surgery. She tells Good Housekeeping (via WENN News at the IMDB):

I see some of the women (who have had plastic surgery) who I thought when they were younger were so beautiful. Now I think, ‘Oh, dear, don’t do that!’ And it seems to be terribly disrespectful to who they are now.

But then she comments:

“I see myself on TV and I say, ‘Oh, I wish that weren’t happening to my neck. And your face is falling down, and your eyes are so puffy.’

We say: Love yourself, Sally. Love yourself just as you are.

GOOD GIRLS DON’T?: Penelope Cruz feels guilt pangs over her potty mouth improvisations for scenes in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. As WENN News at the IMDB quotes her:

A lot of the words were terrible.

I would go home and worry about it! I’d think, ‘Woody has given us all this freedom to improvise and he’s going to be in the editing room with a translator and then he’ll find out what I was saying…’

Yeah, and…? You think Woody hasn’t heard these words before? You think he’s never used them? You think he’s wasted any time worrying about whatever fucking words have come out of his mouth?

Then, why should you, Pen? And on behalf of a character, at that?

NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH….: Kelly Clarkson, who according to WENN News at the IMDB:

has laughed off rumours about her sexuality, insisting she could never date another woman.

The 26-year-old has been single for some time, prompting gay fans and gossips to speculate she is hiding a secret girlfriend.

But the singer insists she’s happily single and straight – although she admits life would be far easier if she really was a lesbian.

Oh, come on, Kelly, honey, get with the program. Either you’re slavishly devoted to a man, or you’re a lesbian. Everyone knows it’s true.

LINKY GOODNESS:

Nudity in Film: Why Bare Chests Do Not Equal Bare Breasts by Kim Voynar

2008’s Top Ten Best Written Female Characters by Susan Thea Posnock

Cinematical Seven: Women to Watch in 2009 by Monika Bartyzel

How Hollywood Insults Women by Mike McGranaghan

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Movies Opening Today: The Week in Women is celebrating Coraline, a lovely animated movie about a little girl with spunk, smarts, a huge capacity for pretend, and no time for silly boys. (Not-so-silly boys, she might make time for, but there are none to be found in her world.)

We’re pretending that a movie called He’s Just Not That Into You, the title and content of which imply that women are incapable of handling their romantic lives without being condescended to, is not happening.

Some might also say that the Thai martial-arts flick Chocolate is a blow for gender equality, what with its ass-kicking heroine whose only form of communication — she’s severely autistic — appears to be beating the crap out of people. But we’re pretending not to hear them, either.

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at FlickFilosopher.com, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her AWFJ.org archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).