Calling on the collective brain!

Dear readers,

I would like to compile a list, and I’m asking for your help in making sure it is as complete as possible.

I do a lot of ranting, both on this blog and in real life, about the various sorts of ways female characters and relations between the genders are portrayed in film, television, and literature. Lately I have been thinking a lot about a certain kind of scenario that seems to come up a lot, usually played for comedic value. This is when:

1) a male character, finding a female character attractive, manipulates events in such a way that he tricks her into letting him see her naked, or…
2) a male character already in a relationship with a female character tricks her into letting his friends see her naked.

Some examples:
*American Pie, when Jim broadcasts his tryst with Nadia on his webcam
*Knight and Day, when Roy, having drugged June ‘for her own good,’ changes her into a bikini after reaching their tropical destination
*Kick-Ass, when Dave pretends to be gay to befriend Katie and they do some topless self-tanning
*The Virginity Hit, when Matt has all of his friends listening and is videotaping while planning to lose his virginity to Nicole
*Love & Other Drugs, when Jamie pretends to be a doctor so he can see Maggie’s breasts

Now, if any of these things happened to me in real life, I’d feel violated and in some cases be considering whether I could take legal action. In the movies, generally the female characters are mad for maybe a minute (if at all) before deciding that it’s no big deal, just boys being boys, and almost always end up in a romantic relationship with the guy who’s done the violating. We the audience are asked to root for these male characters, as if this kind of behavior shouldn’t take away any of our sympathy for them. Again, just boys being boys…I mean, if a girl is hot, her body is communal property, right? And invading her privacy is just good comic fun!

There are probably some examples of this going the other way, and I’d love to compile those as well. I am guessing they are far outnumbered, however. I’ll be adding examples to the comments as I think of them…please join me!


7 Responses to “Calling on the collective brain!”

  1. 1 Jen December 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I’ve never actually seen it, but the “pretending to be gay” scene you mention in “Kick-Ass” reminded me of a scene from the trailer of “I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry” which was similar in that Jessica Biel allows Adam Sandler to see her changing and perhaps in various stages of undress.

    • 2 Brandi Sperry December 22, 2010 at 7:54 am

      I never bothered to watch that movie either, but I remember that scene in the trailer. There may be a whole sub-category of “pretending to be gay” scenes. Because of course straight women are always stripping in front of their gay male friends.

      • 3 Aaron December 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm

        Yes, that is totally an everyday occurrence that has never happened to me ever. Straight men only wish it was that easy.

  2. 4 Jared December 22, 2010 at 9:41 am

    I thought Kick-Ass was pretty entertaining–the gay stuff aside. The young girl who plays Batgirl, one of the heroes, is a strong role.

    Another movie that fits your scenario is Revenge of the Nerds, where one of the nerds dons a Darth Vader costume and tricks the cheerleader-type into thinking he’s her jock boyfriend and letting him sexually assault her. When she finds out, her anger is fleeting because the script would have us believe that such shock was replaceable by the pleasure she received. Outrageous.

    • 5 Brandi Sperry December 22, 2010 at 11:30 am

      Agreed, Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl is the highlight of Kick-Ass, and the main reason I will go back for the sequel if it gets made.

      Revenge of the Nerds is a GREAT example. Can’t believe I forgot that. It takes this scenario to a new level.

  3. 6 Emily December 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    “Knocked Up” – after the earthquake, when one of the buddies shakes the naked girl’s hands and she accidentally reveals her breasts. Granted, her boyfriend does get angry and cover them up for her. But the basic ploy is there, though closer to tricking guys to drop their shorts. Frankly – and I’ve said this many times before – I think men’s and women’s bodies should be either equally sexualized or equally scandalous. Whatever your reaction to nudity, or your goal of gaining access to it, we should strive to bring the two genders closer together.

    Now, I’m not even touching on the assault aspect. Good luck!

  4. 7 Brandi Sperry December 31, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Suggested offline by Chelsea: locker room peephole “hilarity” in Porky’s. Definitely in a similar vein to what I’m thinking of here.

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Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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