Must We Kill The Chick Flick So That Quality Movies Starring Women Can Live?

The Times of London talks to feminist historian and Fellow of Oxford University Diane Purkiss, who says of chick flicks: "The heroines are getting dumber and dumber." She continues:

"The entertainment industry allows you, the audience member, to pat yourself on the back and say: 'I'm smarter than her, I'm more together than her, and I'm not as stupidly anorexic as her.'" The Times' Kevin Maher notes that ten years ago, we had spunky heroines like Bridget Jones (and in music, the Spice Girls). But now?

The recent Anne Hathaway/Kate Hudson catfight Bride Wars or the forthcoming Confessions of a Shopaholic are aimed exclusively at women, and yet feature female characters who are variously neurotic, idiotic, label-obsessed, weight-obsessed, man-obsessed or weddingobsessed, and often all at the same time.

And! He doesn't hold back:

Increasingly, the modern Hollywood women's picture or so-called chick flick has become home to the worst kind of regressive pre-feminist stereotype and misogynistic cliché.

Maher has an explanation for the state of chick flicks, and here's another blockquote, because he is just so good at breaking it down:

The chick-flick heroine that emerged then was often ditzy, yes, but she also had recourse to irony, self-satire and intelligence. When Bridget the movie appeared in 2001 and eventually scooped more than £150 million at the international box office, the chick flick became a hot Tinseltown property. However, for every smart-thinking Bridget Jones, Legally Blonde or Devil Wears Prada there appeared a slew of movies that appealed to the genre's baser instincts.Films such as 27 Dresses, Made of Honour, License to Wed and What Happens in Vegas were cookie-cutter movies defined by lazy stereotypes (wedding overkill, anyone?) and explicit anti-feminism.

Melissa Silverstein of Women & Hollywood counters: "Women go to these movies, because they want to go to the movies. And most of the time there are no other options out there." But Maher has good news: The glut of "chick flicks" — that is, dumb, cheap-shot movies aggressively targeted to women with the sole purpose of taking their money — may die down. Once the market gets flooded, the appetite wanes, and actual quality films — with women in them — like Michelle Williams' upcoming road movie, Wendy and Lucy, can shine.

Is It Time To Kill The Chick Flick? [Times Of London]