Chick flicks get a lot of flak. And rightfully so.
If you’ve ever seen a chick flick, it may be safe to say that you’ve seen them all. Hollywood is grievously predictable and formulaic with its production of films for the ladies. In this genre of pop-culture film that is targeted toward women, the plots are heavy with heartbreak, emotional overload, and implausible hijinks. In almost every case, the female protagonist is unabashedly simple, feckless, shallow and despondent — if you find a likeness with the women from Bride Wars, then I’m pretty sure we can’t be friends. Unsurprisingly, a dark horse leading man will usually rescue her from herself while she remains a disappointing example of a female role model to an audience of millions. Chick flicks are a false representation of real women and altogether disempowering. And as if that all weren’t enough, in 2013, only 15 percent of top films had female leads at all.
If you’re looking for a film that has a strong female lead, chances are she’s wielding a battle-axe. It seems as though in the realm of fiction and fantasy, Hollywood knows exactly what it takes to make strong women. It’s also fair to say that Hollywood seems extremely comfortable with powerful women, just as long as they are wearing skin-tight leather and stilettos. Katniss, Princess Merida, Ellen Ripley and Lara Croft are all examples of ladies who are fearless, intelligent and independent — the perfect female role models — except they are nothing like real women at all.
There is something seriously wrong here. Women should not be ok with the way Hollywood portrays the feminine perspective and persona on the big screen — in fact, it’s simply offensive. We need to take back the chick flick.
What the female audience is lacking is a female lead who is relatable, smart, soul-searching, savvy and non-sword-wielding.
Here are a few of the best films I’ve found for real women. They are as poignant as they are funny, and are as considerate of realistic struggles as they are of triumphs. These are films where a well-deserved female audience can find strength, comfort, humor and themselves. The list includes a variety of documentary, foreign, classic and modern stories that personify the feminine perspective without being paradoxical.