Fighting with the Sky

People Hate Chick Flicks

Posted on: December 8, 2009

I used to read the website Television Without Pity a lot.  Since then, I have found more…um…critical pop culture blogs that I find more interesting.  But I still have TWoP on my Google Reader.  Recently I noticed that they have a list of the favorite and most hated movies of 2009.  These lists were created by the same person and have an overwhelming theme — chick flicks are horrible and the only good movies are those that are stereotypically for men (of course there are a couple exceptions to this, but that’s the overwhelming picture).

Just so everyone is clear…I hate the term “chick flick” but I thought it was appropriate for this analysis because of the cultural prevalence of the term.  I am using the term in the traditional, stereotypical understanding as movies that are traditionally marketed towards women and are primarily fluff (don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a lot of these movies, but they traditionally don’t have a lot of substance).  I am comparing chick flicks against movies that were primarily marketed towards a male audience, most of which are action movies.  These movies don’t have a term like “chick flick,” so for this post I will be calling them “guy flicks” (sorry, best I could come up with).  On the lists were also some kids movies and indie films that weren’t overwhelmingly marketed towards either men or women.

So, let’s get to these lists…

The “Most Hated Movies of 2009” is a list of 13 movies, 8 of them are chick flicks (62%) and 4 of them could be considered guy flicks (Paul Blart, Transformers 2, GI Joe, and 2012).  And then on the other hand, the “Favorite Movies of 2009” list only contains one movie that could possibly be considered a chick flick — Away We Go (I didn’t know if I should put this under chick flick or indie.  It’s kind of both, because I do think that it was marketed primarily to women, but I also think it had a good amount of substance, where as most other chick flicks do not).  Where as 13 of the movies on the list are guy flicks.  And there were many more kids movies on the “favorites” list (5) than on the “most hated” list (one teen movie).

Now that we’ve got the statistics out of the way, I want to talk about some of the specific movies on the list.  How the hell did Observe & Report make it onto the “favorites” list?  I haven’t seen the movie, but it looked like a horrible movie with an unforgiving rape scene in it.  I was interested to see that New Moon made it onto the “most hated” list.  I know that this is only one person’s opinion on these lists, but I’m wondering if it is based off of personal preference or society’s reaction to the movies.  I’m hoping that it’s just personal preference in more areas than this one.  New Moon was bad, but I seriously doubt it is one of society’s most hated movies of 2009.

I also think it is interesting that I have seen statistically more of the most hated movies (62% of them) than the favorite movies (32% of them).  But I do have a tendancy to watch chick flicks to zone out.

So, obviously chick flicks are horrible movies where as action movies (that probably have about the same substance as the chick flicks, just packaged in a different way) are amazing.  There are definitely some movies that I agree with on the “favorites” list (Adventureland, Away We Go, and Watchmen) and some that I agree with on the “most hated” list (GI Joe, New Moon, The Ugly Truth, Ghost of Girlfriends Past)…and those are only out of the ones that I’ve seen, because I can acurately judge those for myself.

I encourage you to take a look at these lists in detail and decide for yourself which are accurately on the lists and which are not.  I would also like to see more of a distribution of movies that are marketed towards men and women.  It’s lists like these that made me move to different blogs to get my pop culture criticism.

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4 Responses to "People Hate Chick Flicks"

I didn’t get a vibe from the TWoP lists that they were documenting society’s most hated/favorite films – but rather those that the TWoP writers put there.

I agree with you that some of the favorite films were quite horrific…..but most of the hated films are just as misogynist. I personally loathe all those “chick flicks” for their demeaning portrayal of women as insipid twits who need a man to complete them (New Moon, Time Traveler’s Wife, All About Steve) or evil bitches who just need a man to settle them (The Ugly Truth, Bride Wars).

Action flicks and rom-coms may, as a genre, all be about as deep as a puddle, but I’ve found the former genre to allow for a more feminist view of women than any ‘chick flick’ in recent memory.

The problem with best/worst lists is that they are entirely subjective. Any individual or group will end up with completely different lists because they will be grading them on different criteria. Without any objective standards to judge, no one will be able to agree. And I am one of those people who constantly challenge ‘most successful’ lists based on inflation, number of screens, advertising budget, DVD sales, overseas distribution and torrent downloads.

Perhaps instead of the term ‘guy flick’ the term ‘dick flick’ could be used lol. Not very PG13 friendly though is it :P.

I disagree with draconismoi, I think chick flicks can have some very redeeming qualities to them and can have some very strong women in them. Chick flicks in recent years for example, The Holiday, The Accidental Husband, The Proposal, and Last Holiday. While all have a central romantic focus, they have some truly redeeming qualities (in particular Last Holiday) and none of them have the women sacrificing something in order to gain a man.

There are also films that are chick flicks that don’t center around romance like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Julie & Julia – where do they place.

Action movies usually do have some strong women in them – yet they are defined by their ability to look good in a latex suit. I find that just as problematic as women in chick flicks searching for a man, but at least in the latter its for personal reasons and not so that men will tolerate looking at them. There just aren’t enough action flicks like Flightplan, Girlfight, and Mary Bryant

And where would a film like Whip It place? Its neither action flick nor chick flick, but definitely has elements of both.

In regards to these lists though, its just another symptom of Hollywood dismissing female-focused films. They agree to produce them, but claim they have no value to them.

Great post though. I just found your blog the other day and I love it.

I would call it Dick Flicks! haha, you may have inspired my next video blog!

(Oooo… the person above me posted it too *laugh*)

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