GUBU
An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Tuesday, November 01, 2005  

What's a modern girl to do

Maureen Dowd in the NYT elaborates on women in the movies. A long article, but here's a relevant bit. All about how men still want to marry down and women want to marry up.

"Moviemakers these days are more interested in exploring what Steve Martin, in his novel "Shopgirl," calls the "calm cushion" of romances between unequals. In James Brooks's movie "Spanglish," Adam Sandler, playing a sensitive Los Angeles chef, falls for his hot Mexican maid, just as in "Maid in Manhattan," Ralph Fiennes, playing a sensitive New York pol, falls for the hot Latino maid at his hotel, played by Jennifer Lopez. Sandler's maid, who cleans up for him without being able to speak English, is presented as the ideal woman, in looks and character. His wife, played by Téa Leoni, is repellent: a jangly, yakking, overachieving, overexercised, unfaithful, shallow she-monster who has just lost her job with a commercial design firm and fears she has lost her identity.

In 2003, we had "Girl With a Pearl Earring," in which Colin Firth's Vermeer erotically paints Scarlett Johansson's Dutch maid, and Richard Curtis's "Love Actually," about the attraction of unequals. The witty and sophisticated British prime minister, played by Hugh Grant, falls for the chubby girl who wheels the tea and scones into his office. A businessman married to the substantial Emma Thompson, the sister of the prime minister, falls for his sultry secretary. A novelist played by Colin Firth falls for his maid, who speaks only Portuguese.

Art is imitating life, turning women who seek equality into selfish narcissists and objects of rejection rather than of affection."

Scary stuff. Is this true? Are men pissed off with challenging wives?

posted by Sarah | 13:02 12 comments
Comments:
Interesting, you seem to have a point about the movies. "Pretty Woman" and "Arthur" had similar features. I wonder is it that men don't mind their woman being intellectually strong, but insist on being wealthier, at least as portrayed in the movies...the old male provider syndrome. I don't know.

Regarding real life, I recall some years ago a social scientist saying something like...."You aspire to marrying the best person you can get who will put up with you!" This applies to beauty as well as other strengths. Ever notice how often good looking men marry good looking women and ugly people end up together?!
 
Actually, no. What I've noticed is that ugly men--if they have money and/or fame--end up marrying disproportionately more attractive women. Look at any number of CEOs. Look at (though that broke up) Billy Joel & Christie Brinkley, or Chris Robinson and Kate Hudson.
 
Female moviegoers think well of a woman who can spot a good, down to earth, honest, and just man, hidden behind his veneer of wealth and power. They think even more of a woman who has the ability to release that real man.

So from a woman's standpoint (and remember these films are aimed at women) romance will always prosper.

Of course from a man's prospect, if you can get a woman who loves you warts and all, then that's one of the most amazing things in the world.
 
very sensitive Johnny. Riddle me this - where does the "idiot husband syndrome", evidenced in about a thousand ads and sitcoms fit into this? Competent, attractive, clean and articulate wife looks on indulgently as moronic slob of a husband pokes appliance in his own eye or sets fire to his air attempting some simple task, often in the kitchen. I don't know what she is looking so smug about, she married the retard.
Seems to be a linked but opposite theme
 
"Are men pissed off with challenging wives?"

Men or boys?
 
Gerry,
She married a retard who:
A. Needs her just to survive day-to-day, and
B. Isn't likely to find another woman who wants him.
So she's certain of holding on to him.
 
Gerry, the idiot husband syndrome of the ads is just propaganda to persuade men and women that men shouldn't be let near housework and its best to leave it up to the ladies. Trust me, those ads aren't doing women any favours. S :-)
 
"...Are men pissed off with challenging wives?"

Everest is challenging you're another level...
 
Are you sure the "idiot hubby/son" is an attempt to keep men out of the kitchen?

I mean, if men were cleaning and scrubbing even more products would be used --> more profits.

I think it's an attempt to bolster women's egos, make them feel good about cleaning things and is not aimed at men at all.
 
I think the idiot husband is real, because I'm married to him. Those ads make me think, "that's my life. Those trashbags may make my life easier because his lazy self is never going to take out the trash. They would be perfect for hauling away his finely chopped corpse".

It's kind of like beauty and the beast. You grow up and think that one tiny thing doesn't matter if someone has a good heart. But how good can there heart be if they don't care enough about you to take out the trash?!
 
All of these films like pretty women etc highlight that men like to be the stronger person financially. The advertisements highlight however that women are stronger in the kitchen. This image is changing however with more and more women becoming empowered in the workplace which is potrayed in "what women want" the big question is, how are men dealing with this upsurge of power....women are doing well in the household and the workplace!
 
Let's freakin' hope so! As a woman who isn't and doesn't want to be a high-powered attorney, isn't into running in order to show my "inner discipline" and awareness of every last burp produced by the surgeon general I'm HAPPY to see average women get a break.

I don't weigh 3 pounds. I'm not bleedin' president of the United States and god help me I'd rather SEE my children than some cowering co-worker. I just don't get off on the power thing.

Hell, the Martha Stewarts of the world can make their own fortunes and welcome to it. The rest of us might prefer to go the family route without having it spell poverty and disaster.

These movies are fantasies for average women like ME! Give a maid a break.
 
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