Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nice Guys' fantasies about women's fantasies about non-Nice Guys

BetaCandy at my new favorite feminist-media blog The Hathor Legacy points out that the misogynist who gets the girls is a male fantasy:

I’ve been thinking about this character I see on screen everywhere. He’s mean to women. The women know they’re being mistreated. And yet they can’t get enough of being used and abused by him.

He doesn’t exist.

Let’s just dispel that myth right away. As presented in TV and film, he doesn’t correlate to anyone in reality. He’s actually a fantasy concocted by male screenwriters who have issues with women.

As straightforward as the explanation is, though, I have a feeling most Nice Guys(TM) won't buy it, because there's another meme that goes around that What Women Say They Want and What Women Really Want are unconnected. "Look at [Attractive Bad Boy] on [Popular Show]!" they cry. "It's not just the characters that are attracted to him; the fans are too!" (Of course, the fact that the Attractive Bad Boy is virtually always played by the most conventionally attractive actor on Popular Show has nothing to do with this.)


Sam said...

Besides, women -- people? -- are often attracted to characters whose real-life counterparts would be unappealing or downright scary. I call it the Phantom of the Opera Effect.

jfpbookworm said...

Good point, and good name!

jfpbookworm said...

Oh, and I'd definitely say it's "people", rather than "women" (or even "people who are attracted to men"), though the portrayals are certainly gendered - Bad Boys and Femmes Fatales operate differently.