Tag Archives: Feminism

In Defence of: Romantic Comedies

Young Couple Kiss in the Rain

Image shared by ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevisser on Flickr via CC

Is this a title you didn’t expect to see on my blog? If so, why? Did I not seem like the ‘type to like romantic comedies’? Well let’s stop right there, shall we. Since when was it OK to dismiss a whole genre? I’d struggle to find even a sub-genre that I’d feel comfortable dismissing as universally rubbish, probably Snuff, though is that a form, not a genre? Sub genre of documentary? Anyway, killing people is fucked up. Stop it.

Back to point.

I AM SO BORED of the lazy dismissal of romantic comedies. I was having a discussion on Twitter yesterday about Space Westerns, I like the genre, and I thought I might try one, probably in a comic book collaboration I’m vaguely starting. Cue much self-satisfied snarking of ‘you mean like Firefly’ as if a) I had imagined I had invented the genre (srsly) and b) Firefly was the only one of its kind (try Star Trek (‘the final frontier’?) Star Wars, Halo Jones, Mass Effect, Cowboy Beebop, and they’re only some of the good ones). I tried to put this point to someone who suggested it could be nothing but a Firefly copy, by suggesting that had I said I was going to write a Romantic Comedy, he would not have suggested it must be a ‘Singing in the Rain’ ripoff. He responded that if that had been the case he would have considered it immediately rubbish anyway.

Though this made me facepalm, I’m willing to admit that there was, many a year ago, a point at which I would have agreed with him. That was the point, probably in my early teens and recognising something in society, I was in full-blown tomboy mode. I did not like musicals and romantic comedies because they were all rubbish, weren’t they? Why? The same reason I was imitating male clothing, academic ambitions*, sporting prowess. Because I have always wanted to be good at things, score high, understand how things work, learn. And what I had learnt from society was that ‘girl’ was not as good as ‘boy’. It was an insult. ‘You throw like a girl’. I bloody well didn’t, I bowled on a par with the boys and made it onto the school cricket team, I got the highest GCSEs out of the whole school, boys included**. And I won acceptance from boys for acting as they did. And Romantic Comedies, with their ideas of love and happy endings, they were uniformly feminine. And therefore, obviously, rubbish.

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A Facebook Message From a Friend

girl geek in green tshirt 'guns don't kill people, magic missiles do'

Image shared via CC on Flickr by Lamazone

I received this, today, from someone I met on a writing course a couple of years ago. I’m glad he shared it with me, and I thought you might be interested in reading it too.

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Hope you’re well. Thought you might like to hear about a bit of a back and forth we’ve been having at work. Feminism-related, and frustrating from our point of view (and probably yours). What with your interest in the topic I thought I’d share the anecdote.

I work in a Creative Advertising Agency, these days, as a Copywriter. One of our accounts is a major retailer (who shall remain nameless). The client is keen boost sales of technology-related stuff to women over the Xmas period, as they see it as an untapped market.

The idea the client came up with was a “Girl Gamer’s Survival Kit” – everything from fancy gaming keyboards/mice to xbox bits and bobs. They wanted us to design three A3 posters to be displayed in their UK stores, advertising the range of products.

Reservations about the name aside, we went out and spoke to any female employees (and occasionally customers) we could find in our local GAME, GameStation, HMV video game sections etc and found out that, without exception, they didn’t give two fucks about things being pink, they just wanted nifty gadgets, cool peripherals… just the standard stuff, really.

With this in mind we went back to the office and designed what we thought was a pretty good campaign. It was chiefly black in colour, shiny – we wanted it to look as ‘bad-ass’ as possible. There was a girl on it, mid-shot, wearing a plain black t-shirt, slightly alternative-looking. But yes. It was awesome.

We then sent it over to the client.

It came back with a one-sentence reply:

“I don’t get what this has to do with girl gamers.”

Over the course of the next few days (with a back and forth conversation between the client and our account managers) the advert gradually became more and more pink. And more and more sexist.

The final poster they’re going with features what looks like a scantily-clad bad CGI Lara Croft-style woman with enormous breasts holding a ray gun or something. It’s pink. As are all of the gadgets on it. Pink X Box controller, pink X box add-ons… everything.

Unfortunately the money only flows one way – and we’re there to do what the client asks us to. We can argue with it and fight our corner, but ultimately the advertising industry is subservient to the clients who foot the bill; and their fear of change.

I just wanted to write and say sorry.

We tried our best.

Luke

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How do we send a message that we’re more than tits and pink? Is it time for some kind of petition? Some kind of ‘girl gamer’ movement that can raise its voice loud enough that the advertisers listen?