How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days Essay
Media has a big influence in how gender is socially constructed. For example, in the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Andie bets that she can lose a guy by acting needy while Benjamin bets that he can win any girl’s heart. This movie gives misleading messages to an audience of young adult women into believing that there has to be a certain way in how they should behave. By examining the presentation of gender in the scenes from the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, this essay will explore how the media impacts gender messages, which negatively affects the audience in the end.
To start, many women are controlled by gendered ideologies in the workforce. Andie Anderson, played by Kate Hudson, gets undervalued in the type of work that she does. Andie, a journalist for a women magazine called Composure, had to settle with writing how-to articles on girly things such as clothes and makeup. This is disappointing considering the fact that she went to grad school. She wanted to write about interesting things like politics, but the magazine did not want anything to do with it because it was not about what women are into.
Having the capabilities of writing something powerful like politics, but settling for stereotypical writing suggests to the audience that women are still oppressed in gaining opportunities to be respected in the job industry. In the article, “Sex Segregation in the U. S. Labor Force” Christine Bose and Rachel Whaley pointed out that jobs are gendered where women are forced into lower skilled jobs where many women felt that these types of jobs “did not allow them to utilize all their skills and felt they were overeducated to receive these lower skilled jobs” (Bose and Whaley 200).
This article as well as the scene in the movie gives the impression that women cannot speak up for what they believe in and would rather just give in when they are shut down from opportunities. Next, this movie punishes those that do not abide to the gender norms. This can be seen by the way Andie acted in order to try to get Benjamin, played by Matthew McConaughey, to not want to date her after ten days of dating. She tried to push Benjamin away by acting too needy and too clingy. This gives a negative connotation to the female viewers watching this movie because it criticizes women’s actions.
This message could lead women to not want to speak up for themselves in their relationships because of the fear of being labeled “needy. ” For instance, Andie smothers Benjamin by calling him all the time and leaving at least seventeen voicemails. This action exaggerates women’s actions and deters women from performing these actions. Women have different personalities, and for the movie to pinpoint what actions are not okay for women to perform puts all women in a box. Rather than try to be duplicates of each other, women should be praised for their personalities and flaws.
Also, the movie fails to show that a woman can be interesting and desirable not because of her physical beauty but because of her personality, intelligence, and interests. For instance, the way that Andie had to hide her true self in order to succeed in her work suggests that women should be discouraged from acting out of gendered norms. If one would describe the real Andie, she would be known for her humor, intelligence, and her love for basketball, yet one would realize that she intentionally hid these characteristics from other people.
The message that Andie is giving here is that relationships are formed through false ideas of the opposite sex and a distrust of the opposite sex. Moreover, the movie shows that women on top are cruel, which can be seen by Andie’s boss as well as two female co-workers of Benjamin. To start, Andie’s boss is an example of this stereotype because she is a driven woman who had gotten into a job position that many people would associate with men being the ones on top.
She is stereotyped as the boss who did not care about the feelings of her workers which suggests that she is someone who is so consumed by her career and her drive to stay on top. One can suggest that the boss had to act in this manner in order to feel respected in the job industry. Interestingly, there were two female workers who were competing with Benjamin over a major diamond campaign. One notices the cruel intentions of the two female workers when they picked Andie to be the woman that Benjamin will to win over especially since they knew that Andie already had her own bet.
This scene implies the idea that women cannot work together to make it to the top. This gives a wrong message to the audience because it tells them that everything is always a competition. Many women already face oppression and for the two females to not want Andie to succeed shows how scarce it is to see women be the leader in society. Next, the idea of what Composure magazine stands for is very demeaning to women. Andie’s boss states that Composure magazine is all about beauty, salacious gossip, cosmetic surgery, and diet.
Composure magazine emphasizes pleasing others as the primary focus of women’s lives. This message is supported with the idea that if a woman fails to comply with these gender ideals then her partner will leave her. An interesting note, it seems the topics found in female magazines are always the same and very generic. It never seems to evolve even though women are evolving as years go by. In other words, female magazines are still old-fashioned.
In theory, women are becoming more educated and becoming career women, yet the magazine only focuses on superficial things, which many women are into, but it fails to encourage new interests for women to explore. Body image is a problem in this movie because it generalizes that all women are obsessed with their image. For example, Andie’s boss made a comment to Andie’s friend, Michelle, that she looked good after her breakup. Michelle says that she has not eaten since the breakup yet Andie’s boss says that that is good for her.
This gives a wrong message to society, especially to young women because it glamorizes the concept of thin women. In the article, “A Way Outa No Way” Becky Thompson argued that eating problems that women face with are not just because they want to be thin. There are other reasons like poverty and abuse” (Thompson 342). The movie limits the audience in understanding why many women find themselves affected by eating. Such effects like bulimia and anorexia are dangerous things, yet the movie teaches the audience that being thin helps to make women appear prettier.
All women come from different backgrounds and stories, and the movie’s message about body image gives the wrong lesson in diversity of women. The movie is encouraging every woman to strive to fit the image of the ideal women, but the movie fails to realize that in everyday life that is not possible for everyone to look the same. This movie also discusses stereotypes of what an ideal woman is. This can be seen by the contrast between Andie and Michelle. Michelle mentioned that if Andie did the things she did then the men would not care, that it is considered sexy.
One may suggests that Michelle would think this way about Andie because she has blonde hair and has a cute and bubbly personality, which many women would agree that these characteristics describe the ideal woman. This description of Andie contrasts to her friend because Michelle has red hair and can be described as a normal looking girl, with no outstanding features. One can assume who has the advantage because Michelle ended up getting dumped after calling her partner so many times and telling him she loves him after only two days of dating.
This misguides the audience into believing negatively about themselves if they do not fit into the category of the ideal women because they do not possess the same looks. Having depictions of what an ideal woman should look like presents these women to start to feel negative about themselves which can lead to greater problems such as depression. Instead of having women love themselves for what they are, they are forced to confront their flaws because society makes it seem that they are not good enough. Furthermore, the movie shows that women cannot function in their life without having a partner.
For instance, Michelle was visibly upset after a breakup with a man that only lasted less than a week. Here is a stereotype about women because it shows that women are not capable of being themselves after a breakup. It should be empowering that women should not need a man, but Andie’s friend shows that women needs a man in order to function properly. It shows that women are dependent, insecure, and weak. Another problem is that it glamorizes the idea of going back into an old relationship. This can be seen where Michelle ends up going back to her old boyfriend.
It gives the notion that there are no complications to getting back into a relationship when there are possibilities of more problems like abuse. Though it is uncertain what went on into that relationship, the fact that Michelle was happy going back into it shows women should ignore the problems because being in relationships bring happiness. Andie also portrays this idea because she too was not truly happy until she was with Benjamin even after her article was published in the magazine. This movie conveys the message that despite women’s success, they are still unhappy because of their inability of finding a relationship.
There are also stereotypical representations of males in the movie, where Benjamin, the man who Andie is after, tries his best at the theme of hegemonic masculinity. These representations enforce a number of harmful beliefs about men. For one, it underlines the requirement that men must succeed and conquer in order to be worthy. In the article, “Masculinities and Globalization” R. W. Connell argues that there are “different versions of masculinity and they are linked to a global gender order” (Connell 91).
In one scene, Andie gives a nickname to Benjamin’s private members, and Benjamin becomes angry about the name Princess Sophia. He says that it was not masculine enough. His reaction to the nicknames suggests that he worries about his image. This is interesting because usually it is women who are associated with feelings rather than men. The male gaze, where men try to appear more masculine in front of other men, can be pictured in the scene where Benjamin’s friend pressures him into trying to win Andie’s love back when they almost broke up after a fight.
He was originally going to let Andie go, but the pressure from other men and the original bet of getting her to fall in love with him alludes to the pressure to conform to gender behavior of masculinity. In conclusion, gender stereotypes are greatly in the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. General themes throughout the movie that relates to feminist issues included body image, hegemonic masculinity and the male gaze, as well as women having to conform to gender norms in society such as being dependent of a partner to feel happy.
All of these themes allude to negative messages to the audience of young and older adult women because it teaches them that the way to succeed in life is if they can find a partner and idolize the gendered ideologies that are expected of them to perform. Works Cited Bose, Christine and Whaley, Rachel. “Sex Segregation in the U. S. Labor Force. ” Feminist Frontiers, 9th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2011. Print. Connell, R. W. “Masculinities and Globalization. ” Feminist Frontiers, 9th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2011. Print. Thompson, Becky. “A Way Outa No Way. ” Feminist Frontiers, 9th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2011. Print.