How DO Women Maintain Self Respect And Make It Through Films Like Project X?
By Alex Cranz
A lot is being written about Project X this weekend and none of it is good. The film is currently at 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and yesterday I expressed my personal desire to kick the film in the nards. A comment I’ve seen a couple of times is “why are women liking this film?”
Using the purely anecdotal evidence of Twitter and the audiences critics saw the film with it seems to bridge the gender gap like the last two films produced by Todd Phillips, Hangover and Hangover 2. Women are enjoying the hell out of this movie. They’re laughing as the little troll best friend insists on “no fat chicks” and tells women to remove their tops before getting in the pool. Chortling as he offers himself as some “white chocolate” to black women. Guffawing as he embodies everything repellant in “bro” culture.
“Don’t women have self-respect,” some people have asked–wondering how any woman in the theater could like this guy and his sex crazed friends when they clearly don’t like women.
Yeah. Women have self-respect. Women have loads of self-respect. Women have also spent years becoming immune to the repulsiveness of these sorts of characters. We don’t see them as the opposite sex. As jerks we’d never sleep with. We see them as the hero. Their triumphs in the valley of a woman’s breasts are our triumphs as an audience.
Women have self-respect but we’ve learned to disassociate ourselves from our gender identity when going into most high school sex films. These movies are not crafted with women in mind. They explore the psyche of guys who masturbate to the Sears catalogue and expect all women to be bare downstairs like a Barbie doll. But as high school sex films go these films about dudes are the only game in town. So women can either stay home, ignore the film and all the people praising it (a wise choice), or we can go in there and watch them and figure out a way of making it through without ranting at the audience or walking out. So we can find ourselves empathizing with the one guy who “wants something special” but makes mistakes before the final clinch with the right girl. Why do you think the “romantic” lead of these films are always vaguely effeminate slim guys with smooth cheeks and hairless chests?
They may exist for guys to empathize with but they’re primarily there so women have someone to relate to while still allowing the filmmakers to revel in their brofest and make lots and lots of money.
What’s sad is there are actually some pretty great sex romp films out there that don’t require major psychological episodes to suffer through. Films like Sex Drive and Eurotrip manage to mock the genre while embracing it. They still have the “loser” lead and the super sexual best friend, but they also don’t treat women as objects to bang. Rather the women of those films are actually, you know, characters. Lead characters even!
Project X even tries to include such a female. A way to show us that not all guys are douches. She’s essentially a bone tossed to the women of the audience, “See,” each appearance seems to suggest, “the objectification of women in this film is one part of a nuanced tapestry of your gender. We like women. We love them enough that we’re allowing this ONE girl to keep her top on the entire film!”