Greasy pony-tails and hot red-heads

Movie posters. In the weeks leading up to a movie’s release, billboards, bus placards, bus bench placards…ubiquitous as you walk or drive around town. Lately I’ve been seeing this one more often than I care:

Posters appear so often that they become ingrained in your psyche and even elicit a blase sense of deja vu each and every time you see one again, and again, and again, until you are able to reconstitute the damn thing based on memory alone.

Through this gradual desensitization, we lose the ability to perceive the poster clearly. To see it.

After seeing the Leap Year poster for the 5,245th time, it occurred to me: what is up with the gender presentation here?

It’s obviously geared toward the chick-flick, popcorn-munching, movie-goer. Which is a sizable Hollywood marketing segment.

Look at the poster.

Essentially, it tells us all we need to know about mass media’s treatment and estimation of the male/female dynamic in today’s world.

The placement of the actors is clear enough.

Amy Adams, looking mysterious, hot, capable, seductive…she is in charge of the photo. She is Modern Woman and she gets what she wants (which in this case is top billing in some stupid photograph). As befits a pretty girl, all eyes, all photographic lenses, on her. Check out that expression. This chick means business and she’s the boss. Do you hear her roar? That smirk, the cheekbones, the bedroom eyes…the very epitome of feminine allure. Hell, I’d do her, redheads are hot.

And then there’s Matthew Goode.
What the hell. Is this what Hollywood sees fit to offer as the sacrificial testicle-deprived male effigy? Sad.
Look at poor Matthew. That’s a good-looking boy but he’s neutered. Standing silently in the background, a vague air of emasculated unease about him, looking unsure, looking like a not-so-confident boy ready to try out his first Mystery routine, faking the cockiness but not the expression. The epitome of…barely pubescent? His expression cries: I don’t belong here but I want her so badly!

The conjoined pose, the body language speaks thus:

Amy: I don’t need you. I’m so hot you’ll do whatever I ask.
Matthew: Just say how high. I’m here for you ma’am.

It brought to mind of one of my favorite flicks of all time. Now this is a poster:

Humphrey, never the pretty boy, but always the man. And he didn’t need that try-hard unshaven look to accomplish it, either.

The poster offers us an archaic image of equality. Nobody dominates the photo yet both Humphrey and Ingrid look like undisputed representatives of their genders. Neither is whoring it up for the photo, neither dominates the other. Yet, the most subtle of cues tells us that Humphrey Bogart is dominant here. He’s the one facing the camera, he’s the one without the girlish, mommy-where-are-you expression. Stoic and steadfast in the line of fire.

Comparing the posters, I realize many in the “men’s community” have a point which I agree with. Hollywood’s portrayal of men and women is skewed. A pollution of natural gender roles. And since it’s Hollywood, and since it’s shitty movies, you can bet your bottom dollar that most of the disposable income spent on this brand of entertainmet will be steered by women.

These guys are wrong to blame Hollywood for influencing widespread social dynamics.

Hollywood does not shape opinion. Hollywood is led by opinion.
Hollywood is a big, glittery, and very cheap, whore.
Hollywood follows the subtle and underlying cultural mood.
Hollywood does not cause anything to happen. Hollywood is caused. Hollywood is feminine; it is shaped but it does not shape.

Back in the 80s it was masculine action dudes, pony-tails and all.

The only thing that has changed since then is the focus of the idolatry.

Which now is the strong woman. And since male/female relations is a zero-sum game, the man must become proportionally weaker.

So don’t be surprised if you see Steven Seagal in 15 years hamming it up in his gray ponytail and kicking ass from a walker.