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Laugh, Don't Cry: Chick Flicks Are Sci-Fi Sub-Genre, Female Stereotypes Still Depressing in Media

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood September 28, 2011 at 7:47AM

The Office actress-writer Mindy Kaling's "Flick Chicks: A guide to women in the movies" in the The New Yorker takes a humorous look at a depressing subject.
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Thompson on Hollywood

The Office actress-writer Mindy Kaling's "Flick Chicks: A guide to women in the movies" in the The New Yorker takes a humorous look at a depressing subject.

Based on what she's learned in the industry, the actress foresees movies such as Crest Whitestrips, Streptococcus vs. Candidiasis, Human Quilt and Bananagrams 3D (oh, goody: call this series Movies That Make Me Want to Live Under A Rock). Kaling also professes her love for romantic comedies, which--while "essentially an admission of mild stupidity"--is not exactly the confession you'd expect:

"I regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world operates according to different rules than my regular human world. For me, there is no difference between Ripley from Alien and any Katherine Heigl character. They are equally implausible. They’re all participating in a similar level of fakey razzle-dazzle, and I enjoy every second of it."

As with sci-fi, there are also female prototypes in the romantic comedy genre that don't actually exist in reality: The Klutz, The Ethereal Weirdo, The Woman Who Is Obsessed with Her Career and Is No Fun at All, The Forty-two-Year-Old Mother of the Thirty-Year-Old Male Lead, The Sassy Best Friend, The Skinny Woman Who Is Beautiful and Toned but Also Gluttonous and Disgusting, The Woman Who Works in an Art Gallery.

This article, among the many we've posted on women in the media (see below), makes us laugh-- instead of crying.

- What Comparing Bridesmaids and The Hangover Reveals About Hollywood’s Gender Problem

- Gender Imbalance in Media, Geena Davis, Broken Models of Masculinity & Femininity

- Prom Early Reviews: Formulaic Tween Fantasy Flick or Stereotype Reinforcer?

- Anna Faris and Women at the Movies: Not a Pretty Picture

- More Than Just Funny: How Women Took Comedy by the Balls

- Geena Davis, Callie Khouri and Mimi Polk Gitlin Talk Thelma & Louise at 20

This article is related to: Genres, Stuck In Love, Media, Bloggers


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.