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"Woman-Girl Syndrome": Hollywood's Latest Malady

Illustration for article titled Woman-Girl Syndrome: Hollywoods Latest Malady

There are many actresses who have built careers on their innate adorableness — the L.A. Times mentions Cameron Diaz, Meg Ryan and Melanie Griffith, though Kate Hudson also comes to mind — and one Hollywood agent terms this studied cuteness the "woman-girl syndrome." You see, according to LAT writer Rachel Abramowitz, when these women find themselves in the throes of "cinematic middle age...their biceps are well-honed, but their options are limited." Apparently "cute" is not so cute with crows feet, according to the Hollywood establishment. Diaz, Abramowitz points out, "skyrocketed to fame essentially playing grown-up girls. But that's not a stereotype she can keep playing deep into her 30s." It doesn't help that romantic comedies don't even have female heroines anymore, as "the creative Politburos that run the studios have collectively decided that only men are entitled to their romantic fantasies, that love stories should preferably be told from the male perspective."


I can't help but wonder how Diaz et. al. got pigeon-holed into these cutesy roles in the first place. It seems that most of the roles for women — ten years ago, as now — are designed for nonthreatening cyphers. Of course, one way to break out of the adorabox is to take on an "edgy" role. Kristin Chenoweth, who made her name playing fairy tale characters, has signed on to play a hooker in the forthcoming film Into Temptation. And not just a regular, garden variety hooker. A suicidal hooker. Clearly all Cameron Diaz needs to do to solidify her Hollywood longevity is find a nice heroin-addicted streetwalker role and she'll be all set.

When The Box Office Fire Cools, What Are Actresses Like Gwyneth Paltrow And Cameron Diaz To Do? [Los Angeles Times]
Kristin Chenoweth Lured To "Temptation" [Reuters]

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I always thought Sandra Bullock fell into this too. When she plays anything other than "romantic love interest who falls down a lot" people don't seem to want to see her on screen.

In fact, if I were a Hollywood agent I'd advise all of my female clients to turn down movie roles where they are only expected to fall in love whilst being clutzy and dropping things.