*This post was first published in Cosmopolitan Australia magazine.
By JAMILA RIZVI
I’m breaking up with romantic comedies.
I won’t do romantic comedies the disrespect of making excuses. I won’t say that I’m focusing on my career right now, or that I need to try other films before settling down or that it isn’t them, it’s me…
Because it is them and here’s why.
I want you to think back to the last time you spoke to another woman.
During your conversation with your delightful friend/sister/mother/local shoe proprietor, you would have covered any number of topics.
You might have spoken about the asylum seeker debate, or a mate whose mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer, or your unhealthy reliance on dry shampoo, or your mounting HECS debt or a certain gentleman you’re keen on.
But if you go to the movies and watch a romantic comedy? The only part of that conversation you will see reflected on the screen – is the bit about the bloke.
That’s because Hollywood continues to produce movies with a distinct gender bias. The presence of strong, smart female characters is abysmal. The primary role of women in most movies is to fall in love with, cry over and obsess about men.
Pfft you say. Wrong. Chicks do heaps of rad stuff in movies. But hold on a cotton-blended-t-shirt picking second while I introduce you to: the Bechdel test.
To pass the Bechdel test, a film has to include at least two named female characters, who talk to each other, about a subject besides a man.