As I mentioned a few times in the last few posts, we went to see Bridesmaids on Saturday. I enjoyed it on several levels, the first being that it's crazy funny. I have had all sorts of thoughts about it the last few days that may or may not lead to a coherent blog post but here we go.
First of all, it makes me nuts to hear people call it "The Hangover" for women. Plenty of women enjoyed The Hangover AND Bridesmaids is a straight up funny movie whether or not you happen to have breasts. Even after devoting five years of my professional life to a women's footwear brand, I get really eye-rolly when I hear the words "for women" attached to something. When ESPN decided to launch ESPNW, you know, sports info "for women" my first thought was "will the Red Sox scores be cuter over there?" I'm a female but if I want to know how Rickie Fowler is holding up at the Crowne Plaza Invitational this weekend, I'm pretty sure my little girl brain can figure out how to read the leaderboard on "regular" ESPN. It's insulting and a little bit demeaning that the only way to describe something with women in it is to do it context of something male dominated. I'm sure the entertainment industry is a lot like the sports industry where I have enjoyed a career surrounded by strong, smart women and yet somehow it manages to feel like 1955 when wonder of wonder, some ladies get together and make a funny movie and they have no idea how on earth to spin it.
I read Tina Fey's "Bossypants" in one sitting last month. I consistently laugh my head off at Mindy Kaling from the Office's tweets. I watched the entire first season of Parks and Recreation today while I was home sick and found Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones to be the highlights of a pretty delightful show. And you guys know how I feel about Connie Britton's Tami Taylor character on Friday Night Lights. What thrills me to my toes about these women and these projects is that they aren't just good "for a girl". These are women who are standing toe to toe with a very male dominated industry and instead of using sexuality or crying "sexism!", they are just rocking at what they do and letting their work do the talking. One of the reasons I have such a gigantic girl crush on Tina Fey is that she strikes me as the kind of woman who would look at some jerk saying "you are just a girl" and say "suck it d-bag!". It's 2011 and even in the last year I've had men I work with call me sweetie and pat me on the head. I thank my lucky stars every single night for the opportunities I have and how wide open the world is to me compared to what it was for women just a generation before, but it's still a place where you are damned if you do damned if you don't no matter what you choose. Stay at home moms swipe at working moms but often feel restless and like they've lost a part of themselves, working moms feel enormous guilt and get their digs in at those SAHMs when they can. Ambitious single women get accused of choosing a career over a family but when husbands die or get sick or walk away, plenty of women who didn't get an education are forced into the self-improvement Mr. Right was supposed to make irrelevant. So i love seeing these funny and talented women who aren't apologizing for being women nor are they trying to make some statement for ALL women. They are just using their talents and being awesome, giving all the rest of us a big fat thumbs up to do the same.
My final two cents is that I loved this movie for being more about female friendships than it was about dudes saving the day. Hollywood gives us a lot of movies like "Bride Wars" where two women who are supposedly childhood best friends become enemies because they both want their weddings in the same venue. I read one review of that particular film that said the writers of that script either didn't actually KNOW any women or hated the ones they DID know. Female friendships are complicated for sure and girls can be bitchy and backstabbing and competitive but as I get older I see less and less Housewives of New Jersey behavior and far more taking care of each other. I've watched nearly every girl I've ever been close to get married in the last fifteen years and even though for the most part they've married great men, the need for female friendships never goes away. I've been a discreet ear during rough spots and a landing pad for weekends away. Even the healthiest marriages aren't perfect and loyal female friends fill an important role. So I appreciated that at the core of this film was a solid and realistic friendship.
Maybe that's a lot to take away from a silly movie. I've run across some fun old girlfriend photos while loading my computer. I miss these gals.