Last time I checked, she wasn't. As I was driving back from Indianapolis today I listened to part of American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest. He had a little blurb about Sandra Bullock's new movie, The Proposal. He basically said something along the lines of "Sandra Bullock's playing a guy." (I didn't get a chance to hear his interview with Bullock because the radio station cut out). Now, I was thinking about going to see this movie already because it looked like an amusing, light movie, but after hearing that I had to go see it!
What Seacrest was expressing in his little blurb was the belief held by many people in the United States still today. Someone who is a strong, successful, hard-working business person has to be male. Bullock's character is an editor at a publishing firm and everyone in the office is scared of her, using instant messenger to warn co-workers when she's coming. She's even called a "poisonous bitch" when she fires someone who hasn't been doing their job. Granted, she is pretty unemotional and detached from the people around her, but when did this become a bad thing. If she were a man, people might still be afraid, but he would be respected. It's so sad that this kind of sexism and double standard still exists in our society.
Later in the movie, Ryan Reynolds' character avoids helping a struggling Bullock by saying, "she won't let me help...she's a feminist." So, what's so wrong with this? Women can take care of themselves and can certainly carry their own luggage. But using feminism as an excuse to help someone who is clearly struggling is the kind of thing that has turned feminism into the "f-word." This kind of use of feminism is what is turning people off from it because feminists are then seen as "crazy bitches" who hate men.
This movie would have never been made, though, if the roles were reversed. If Bullock's character were a man who was forcing Reynolds' character to marry him, it would not be a funny, romantic comedy, it would be sexual harassment. This is true. But why is it funny when it's a woman forcing a man to marry her? Why isn't this sexual harassment, or at the very least, a misuse of power?
Now don't get me wrong, I didn't hate the movie. I laughed during quite a bit of it. It was a light-hearted, romantic comedy that I did enjoy watching. But what message about women and feminism is this movie spreading? This is just the kind of thing that is adding to the perpetuation of our sexist society. I'm not saying don't go see the movie. It was funny. It was pretty good, if you like romantic comedies. All I'm saying is that you should become aware of the kinds of messages the movies you watch are spreading about different genders, sexes, races, classes, sexual orientations...and the list goes on.
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