Women Used to Perpetuate Sexism

Table Of Contents

Explanation of Conservative Trope

One of the most insidious ways to perpetuate sexism on screen -- and by extension society -- is when women are depicted as normalizing it. If a woman is involved in a sexist trope, then it can't be that bad, right? Screenwriters use women to help give cover to sexist scenes acting in ways they wouldn't in real life.

Conservative Trope Examples

  • This Is 40 (2012)
    Debbie (Leslie Mann) asks Desi (Megan Fox) to change in to some clothing from her store and she casually takes her dress off and stands in her bra and underwear while chatting with Debbie without going behind a curtain for privacy. Naturally, Debbie is in awe of Desi's uber-thin and voluptuous body, so she asks "are those real?" as she admires her breasts. Desi says they are and asks "do you want to touch them?" Of course Debbie does and spends the next nineteen seconds grabbing, groping, poking and pushing Desi's breasts.
    Staff Aside
    This scene is obviously done to the benefit of heterosexual men who love to believe that women actually do stuff like this. You'd never see something like this portrayed with men on screen.
  • Thank You for Smoking (2005)
    Polly Bailey (Maria Bello) says, "How about it Nick, are you a tit man?" And Nick (Aaron Eckart) responds, "Depends on the tits" after Bobby Jay Bliss (David Koechner) leads with, "World class tits on a reporter interviewing a man with privileged information are always relevant."
    Staff Aside
    The movie is satire but this scene was played straight. And it would have felt inappropriate if it was three men talking, but having Maria Bello play along makes it ok to enjoy the scene and chuckle.
  • Back to the Future (1985)
    Marty McFly, walking with his girlfriend Jennifer, turns his head away from her to check out two women in tight fitting workout pants after they walk by. After a couple seconds of obvious ogling by Marty, Jennifer just nonchalantly turns his head back towards her, and they continue their conversation as if nothing happened.