Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Power of "Chick Flicks"

The other day, was not so good. I was bummed out and in a bad mood so when I got home I decided to put on a couple movies that I already knew I loved and just relax, but in the process I discovered something really great about chick flicks.

It's no secret that anything that girls, particularly teenage girls like or do, will be attacked and deemed ridiculous and unworthy for anyone besides teenage girls, which is ridiculous. The music they like, the T.V. shows they watch, the way they speak, or dress themselves, and the movies they watch are always under attack, and this criticism of entertainment preferences stays with women as they grow into adults too. Romance novels are constantly snickered at and discounted from the category of "real literature" and any movie with a female lead and romantic plot is labeled a "chick flick". Personally, I don't think any male would die from watching a movie or reading a book with a female protagonist but I digress.

I started with Clueless as I had just finished an Emma by Jane Austen retelling and was in the mood to watch Clueless. I loved the movie even more than the last five times I watched it. I laughed constantly at the wit and satire and enjoyed Cher's journey from self-centered teen to a little bit less of a self-centered teen.

But behind the satire and humorous exaggeration is the common experiences and anxieties of a teenage girl. Whose cool and what's cool to wear, what group do I fit in with, how does this group rank, and even failing your driving test are HUGE issues to young girls, even though they are commonly mocked. Being a teenage girl is hard, particularly in a culture that always has something to say about everything you watch, read, eat, wear, or tweet.

The second movie I watched was Legally Blonde which has empowered me more than anything has in a very long time. I had seen the movie a long time ago but hardly even remembered it, so it was like watching it for the first time. I love Elle Woods and the message the movie stands for; women are capable of anything professionally regardless of their interests or appearance. Elle is beautiful and loves pink, shoes, and getting her nails done, and for some reason people seem to think this means she is incapable of being a lawyer. 

I love that Elle is motivated by a boy to go to law school at first but then discovers a real passion and talent for the subject on her own. Elle is so sweet and true to herself, and neither of these things stops her from being successful which is usually not the case with successful women in movies or on T.V. A woman of power is usually portrayed as mean and ruthless and it is implied or explicitly stated that this is how she got her power. Elle's compassion and beauty are seen by others as a disadvantage and a reason to not take her seriously, but she sees it as an advantage and never looses that compassion, even when others mistreat her. I think the message of this movie can best be summed up by Elle herself:

Although "chick flicks" are often discounted by critics and watchers as junk entertainment, that's just not true. A movie with a female lead is always empowering and worth equal merit as a film with a male lead. Really, what more could you ask for than a film that provides humor, romance, female empowerment, and a great wardrobe? 


  1. Great post, Mallory, with some very important points. :) I actually have yet to watch either of these movies (though they've been on my To Watch list for a long time), but a movie I always find really comforting is The Princess Diaries. I just love it. I adore Easy A, 10 Things I Hate About You and the adaptation of If I Stay, too. High school movies are so often degraded, but I find them so fun and often very self-aware, just like a lot of chick flicks out there.

    1. Yes! They are very self-aware which makes them so witty. I love both Clueless and Legally Blonde; hope you enjoy them.
      Thanks for stopping by!