When I first started researching about the movie "Bridesmaids" I ran into a very interesting (but disturbing) article from the magazine Vanity Fair. The title of the article is “Why Women Aren’t Funny” written by Christopher Hitchens. He ends his introduction by asking the question, “Why are women, who have the whole male world at their mercy, not funny?” I think we can all agree that we still live in a “man’s world” so what could Hitchens be thinking when he says women have the male world at their mercy? Considering it is a proven study that women are still struggling against gender oppression (such as equal pay and gender equality in the workplace) I could only assume he was alluding to the sexual relationships between men and women. My theory was confirmed when he later stated that women have no need to be funny because, “Women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way. They already appeal to men, if you catch my drift.” As ridiculously skewed of an outlook Hitchens has he is not alone, and the number of people who share the same opinion is reflected in the media today. This is why I praise the movie "Bridesmaids" because it is breaking down the barriers into a male dominated industry. What a relief to finally watch a movie where the women were not only the main cast not being pushed aside as secondary characters, but more importantly women were represented in real perspective. As writer Elizabeth Williams puts it, "Bridesmaids" is the “first female black president of female-driven comedies.”
Why haven’t more movies like "Bridesmaids" been produced? "Bridesmaids" grossed a total of $169,106,725 exceeding movies such as “Knocked Up” and “Superbad.” Consider switching the cast of Bridesmaids with a group of males… Would you doubt it would have been just as great of a success? Our nation is obsessed with dividing gender and many gender stereotypes have resulted from this. As explained in the article, “Ladies and Gentlemen Femininity, Masculinity, and Identity”, when it comes to the media, a common notion is that women and men will always consume movies that are about men, but men will not consume stories that are about women or “chick flicks.” Maybe people actually do believe that women are not funny but it could also very well be that it is hard to see the truth exposed that women do partake in “guy humor” or “bathroom humor.”
The producer of "Bridesmaids", Judd Apatow, was hesitant and considered they were “drifting into territory we should leave to the men.” Although it may seem all that needed to happen was to add a few explosive diarrhea and vomiting scenes to a movie with a female cast, there is much more to “Bridesmaids” that makes it a revolutionary movie. Yes, the humor is grotesque and raunchy but the characters are still acting as modern day women dealing with problems in the female world. The plot of the story revolves around a wedding with realistic female relationships. The lead character, Kristen Wiig, is not a glammed up Reese Witherspoon or Jenifer Lopez. Wiig’s character, Annie, and her other co-stars expose the side of women never revealed in chick flick movies (a few examples: Annie fixing herself up in the morning before the man she slept with wakes up, Wendi McLendon-Covey’s character, Rita, lamenting about her semen covered home). The characters of "Bridesmaids" let women be seen as what we all have the potential to be… raunchy, gross, but at the same time humans with heart felt emotions.
How can we help to reform the media? One way as a consumer you can help women in the movie industry is by simply giving positive reinforcement. Applauding the works of women can be done through buying tickets and increasing the box office results. A high box office income can serve just as well as a protest. If we want to compete for media structural reform we must encourage the head figures of the industry (who are usually men) that we want to see more of women in a comedic, but still realistic, representation. Women have already proven that they can have a great impact on the industry from other successful female driven shows, like "Sex and the City". All the media officials need is an economic incentive for reassurance and encouragement to create more female focused movies.
“How to Reclaim, Reframe, and Reform the Media, A Feminist Advocacy Guide” by Jennifer L. Pozner. “BITCHfest” 2006.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Feminity, Masculinity, and Identity” by Lisa Miya-Jervis. “BITCHfest.”
Mary Elizabeth Williams. “Bridesmaids”: A triumph for vomit, and feminism. Salon.com
Rebecca Traister. “Seeing ‘Bridesmaids’ is a social responsibility”. Salon.com