Chix who love flix, analyzing so-called "chick flicks."

Do Chick Flicks Typecast Women Into Particular Roles?

May 5th, 2008 by Laurie | Posted in Posts

The movie 27 Dresses is a formulaic chick flick. it has the cute actress Katherine Heigl as the ultimate “good girl” while the actress who plays her sister is the ultimate “bad girl” Heigl plays the caring and loving bridesmaid who is there for all her girlfriends, there for her selfish sister, but also is pining away for her boss. Her sister comes to town, steals the boss away from Heigl, and plays the ultimate self-absorbed, selfish air head. In the end Heigl not only gets her man but also gets the dream wedding. This movie addresses not only the issue of pitting one women against another, but also touches on the fragile relationship of sisterhood. It typecasts women as being in competition with each other over a “man”. In the end the “good girl” wins the guy. The bad girl doesn’t get the guy. This good girl/bad girl dynamic is usually how women are characterized in chick flick movies. The female heroine wins in the end by being the “good girl.”

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  1. 5 Responses to “Do Chick Flicks Typecast Women Into Particular Roles?”

  2. By Kourtney H on May 7, 2008

    I love 27 Dresses! You are right, that is the typical situation with sisters in chick flicks. On another note, since that movie came out, I haven’t heard the end of ” you know who you look like?…..Katherine Heigl!!!” Geez! =) Good thing I don’t have an evil sister to fight over boys with, but if I did, I would win cuz I’m the good girl…I think…

  3. By nathan on May 8, 2008

    I would have to say that most “chic flix” portray a somewhat accurate account of how men ultimately view good and bad girls. Most men are momentarily attracted to bad girls but in the end all men want to marry a good girl. So it makes sense the good girl wins in the end of 27 dresses.

  4. By Mary S. on May 8, 2008

    I completely agree with what you are saying, every chick flick that I have seen characterizes women a particular way. Like you said there is always a good girl and a bad girl and somehow the good girl always wins. Now I can say from experience, in real life that isn’t always the reality of it. But when thinking about this a movie comes to mind, Ever After with Drew Barrymore, it is a complete fight for the “happily Ever After” and to win the man’s or shall I say Prince’s heart.

    I found this website that has a whole article on women in film and their roles and I thought it was pretty interesting… http://www.geocities.com/albanystudent/wif.html
    Although I don’t necessarily agree with the roles that women are always given, I find myself watching these films over and over again enjoying every minute of it!?!

  5. By Charles Hatfield on May 8, 2008

    Mary, nice to see the link there, thanks!

  6. By Charles Hatfield on May 8, 2008

    ‘It typecasts women as being in competition with each other over a “man”.’

    Is this competitiveness one of the themes in the “sisterhood” movies posted about earlier? What are the things that tear at the seams of sisterhood/friendship, and turn women against each other?

    This bad girl/good girl dichotomy seems to be getting at that, partly.

    Of course stories often use “bad” characters as negative examples, in contrast to the good characters, so as to define the good by what it’s not. This is evident in DEVIL WEARS PRADA (where the protagonist is contrasted with her more obviously self-serving office mate/rival). Hell, it’s even an element in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, where Indiana Jones is defined by opposition to his more obviously self-serving counterpart, the French archaeologist (Belloq). Bad characters suggest a road not taken, sometimes almost but not quite taken, by the protagonist.

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