Women vs Men in Relationships

Table Of Contents

Explanation of Conservative Trope

There are many sexist tropes involving relationships on screen where women are more often depicted negatively than men, and they help propagate false negative stereotypes about women in relationships.

Conservative Trope Examples

  • An attractive staff member at a lavish party walks up to a disheveled Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) in his Santa costume, hands him a glass of whisky they both quickly chug and then takes him to a private room where she pleasured him with her hand.
  • Diane (Christina Hendricks) drives up to Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) and tells him that even though she's married she isn't happy and "sometimes I need to be bad." They then go have sex next to a dumpster in an alley while she repeatedly asks him to say degrading and dehumanizing things to her.
  • Entourage (2015) | Men Glamorized as "Playboys"
    Vince (Adrian Grenier) is glamorized as a stereotypical "playboy" partying throughout the movie including on a yacht.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) | Men Glamorized as "Playboys"
    Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is glamorized as a playboy with excessive partying, women, sports cars and living it up in mansions.
  • We're the Millers (2013) | Attractive Women Interested in "Losers"
    Casey Mathis (Emma Roberts) goes out with a boy who talks using stereotypical dumb young people slang and has a misspelled "No Ragrets" tattoo on his collar bone that when asked says he has no regrets about getting it.
  • The Internship (2013) | Average Man Can Get a "Dream Woman"
    Google team leader Lyle is depicted as very awkward and not good with women, yet he is able to date the very attractive Google dance instructor who he met at a strip club.
  • The Way Way Back (2013)
    Pam (Toni Collette) is depicted as very dependent on her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) who also treats her and her son poorly throughout the entire movie. She also still stays with him despite finding out he cheated on her. Pam's only act to stand up for herself is she moved to sit next to her son rather than Trent in their station wagon in the closing scene.
  • Severine (Berenice Marlohe) is a former sex slave who asks James Bond to kill the villain she works for, Silva. On the way to Silva's island via yacht, Severine takes a shower alone. Despite no prior romantic interactions between the two, James Bond just enters the shower with Severine, seduces her and they have sex.
    Staff Aside
    Nobody can resist James Bond!
  • Grace (Christina Applegate) sleeps with a college baseball player even though she's old enough to be his mom.
  • Knight and Day (2010) | Women are Easily Smitten by Men
    Cameron Diaz briefly meets Tom Cruise on a plane and is immediately smitten despite his odd behavior. She goes to freshen up in the airplane bathroom to make herself look sexier, and when she returns to meet Tom, she instantly kisses him. Tom does respond awkwardly at first, but it's because he just killed several assassins out to get him. They become an item and in the middle of a gunfight Cameron says that they have really great sex.
  • Mary (Sandra Bullock) is obsessed with Steve (Bradley Cooper) even though he dresses in disguise to confuse her, drives away from her and her friends who are stranded on the side of the road after being hit by a tornado, and watches her run straight into a sinkhole without saying a peep.
  • My Best Friends Girl (2008) | Women Attracted to "Bad Boys"
    A woman at the bar initially calls Tank (Dane Cook) "an a*shole," but quickly changes her tune and decides to go home with him after he tells her to "walk away" if she really thinks that he is.
  • Tony Stark calls woman reporter Christine Everheart 'honey' after she gives an aggressive interview over his company's weapons manufacturing. Having shown disdain for Tony during the entire interview, she then asks, "You ever lose an hour of sleep your whole life?" He responds, "I'd be prepared to lose a few with you" and just like that she is smitten, and they segue to her aggressively, uncontrollably kissing him before having sex in his bed.
  • As Tony Stark is walking into a formal charity gala he is hosting, a woman outside in a smitten voice calls out, "Hey Tony, remember me?", and he responds "Sure don't" and walks right by ignoring her. Later during the ball, the journalist he slept with earlier in the movie greets him by name, and he stalls as long as he can before returning the greeting with "Carrie" when it is actually "Christine."
    Staff Aside
    He apparently dates so many women that he can't remember who they are or their names.
  • Recently promoted reporter Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) has a drunken one-night stand with slacker loser Ben Stone (Seth Rogan). She gets pregnant and decides to keep the baby.
  • Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) seduces a much older Abigail Sponder (Ellen Barkin) to gain access to a sensitive area where diamonds were hidden. They originally were going to have older Rusty do it but Linus points out that she is a "cougar". He also uses a drug that when she smells it, she is instantly smitten by him and acts like someone drunk.
  • Kale (Shia LaBeouf) plays loud music to disrupt the party his neighbor Ashley -- who he's only briefly met -- is having because he likes her and is jealous. She comes over to stop it and confront him. He confesses he’s been watching her and clarifying that he's "only looking at you". She says that’s either the creepiest or sweetest thing she’s ever heard and then they make out in his bed.
    Staff Aside
    I guess it was the sweetest then?
  • Casino Royale (2006) | Men Glamorized as "Playboys"
    James Bond tells Vesper she's not his type because she's "single" after she asks him if she's "going to have a problem" with him during their first meeting together. After many will-they-won't-they moments throughout the film their sexual tension reaches its boiling point while Vesper is visiting Bond at a hospital and they presumably have sex on a hospital bed.
  • The Departed (2006) | Women are Easily Smitten by Men
    Colin (Matt Damon) aggressively pursues Madolyn (Vera Farmiga) in a crowded elevator even holding the doors open after she gets off making people wait until she agrees to go out with him and gives him her business card.
  • Danielle (Jordan Ladd) complains to Raddimus (Luis Guzman) that he treats her "like a piece of meat" and he responds "not just any meat, baby. A prime rib."
  • Wedding Crashers (2005) | Men Glamorized as "Playboys"
    Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) and John (Owen Wilson) crash a number of weddings they aren't invited to and tell many women absurd and over-the-top made-up stories about their lives in order to get the women to sleep with them during the opening moments of the movie. Later we are shown a collage of topless women throwing themselves onto bed, revealing that their shenanigans work over and over again.
  • The Girl Next Door (2004) | Women Attracted to "Bad Boys"
    Kelly (Timothy Olyphant) is a prototypical bad boy talking with three senior high school women 20 years younger than him. They are flattered and flirty with him despite his creepiness trying to recruit them for adult films.
  • Fiona breaks up with her boyfriend Scott "Scotty" Thomas for "bad boy" singer Matt Damon covered with tattoos and piercings. Scott finds out later that night she's been having an affair when Matt Damon kisses Fiona on stage and wishes her a happy *anniversary* before his band performs a song about it at their graduation party called "Scotty Doesn't Know".
    Staff Aside
    This is a great and hilarious cameo by Matt Damon. It's really funny. But what's great fun on screen sometimes has consequences off it -- where some men may think they'll do better with the ladies by acting like a "bad boy."
  • Scott finally surprises his pen pal Mieke in person in Rome which is the central plot of the entire movie. He says that he loves her despite them never meeting in person before, and there is an awkward pause as he waits for an answer. The next scene shows them having sex in a confessional booth in the Vatican which is the literal climax of the movie.
  • A woman working at a camera shop is smitten by a timid and awkward Jamie (Travis Wester) after only a very brief conversation about their shared interest in classic cameras. She takes him to the back alley and says she'll do anything he wants and then proceeds to give him oral sex.
  • Sue flirts with a dirty, drunk, and exhausted looking Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) still in his Santa costume from behind the bar. He flippantly tells her he's just an "eating, drinking, sh*tting, f*cking Santa Claus" and she inexplicably responds to his rant by saying "prove it." Moments later they are having sex in his car while she moans "f*ck me Santa" over and over.
  • Love Actually (2003) | Women are Easily Smitten by Men
    Colin, a young Englishman unsuccessful dating in his home country, travels to Wisconsin believing his British accent will change his luck. He meets Stacey, a gorgeous woman who would likely be way out of his league in England, at the first bar he walks in to and she starts flirting with him after hearing his accent. Stacey introduces Colin to her two extremely beautiful friends Jeannie and Carol-Anne and the three of them take turns asking him to say common words so they can giggle at his pronunciations. After finding out he doesn't have a place to stay they invite him over to their place, but, wouldn't you know it, they "aren't the richest of girls" and share one bed and sleep naked. As they are preparing to leave they tell him a fourth roommate will be joining them, but tell him not to worry because she's "the sexy one."
    Staff Aside
    This is satire being so super over the top, but you'll never see this played the other way around. Can you imagine four very attractive men smitten by an average woman because of her accent and then taking her home with them where they all sleep in the same bed without much clothes on? You would think it's weird -- not funny. It indulges in and normalizes super over the top male fantasy cliches and the four actresses are objectified for laughs here taking the idea that Americans are attracted to British accents to a super extreme level.
  • Aurelia is a gorgeous Portuguese housekeeper working for Jamie (Colin Firth) who miraculously falls for him despite the fact she is many years younger than the middle-aged and disheveled author.
  • Harry's (Alan Rickman) new secretary Mia makes it clear she wants to be with him despite the fact that 1) he's her boss, 2) he is married and 3) she is much younger than him.
  • Anger Management (2003) | Women are Easily Smitten by Men
    Dave (Adam Sandler) tells Kendra (Heather Graham) the reason he was so short with her during a previous encounter is because he was "on the verge of exploding in my pants." Instead of recoiling in shock, Kendra calls him cute and asks if she can buy him a drink.
  • Catch Me If You Can (2002) | Women are Easily Smitten by Men
    Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) asks a flight attendant if she dropped a necklace and she giggles "no!" while he puts it around her neck. In the very next scene they are having sex and he whispers to her "this is by far the best date I have ever been on," causing her to giggle uncontrollably.
  • Catch Me If You Can (2002) | Women are Easily Smitten by Men
    Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) walks by a number of bank tellers before settling on the prettiest one. He tells her that he'd "like to cash this check here, and then I'd like to take you out for a steak dinner," causing her to blush and giggle. Then she shows Frank how the bank manages the checks that come through and holds a check up to her breasts, but pulls it away as Frank moves his finger to touch the check, but winds up grazing her breast instead.
  • Sara loses her pants in an airport luggage conveyor belt accident and looks to find a replacement pair going through the luggage. She instead comes out with an entirely new outfit which is much more revealing and the punchline in the next scene is that she had to rummage through 20+ bags strewn everywhere until she found something she liked.
    Staff Aside
    It's funny. Why is it funny? Because it is a stereotype that women are high maintenance when it comes to clothes. And so she couldn't just pick something quick and practical. She had to go through multiple suitcases until she found something that "fit."
  • The New Guy (2002) | Women Attracted to "Bad Boys"
    Dizzy is depicted as a nerd who gets bullied in high school until prison inmate Luther consults with him on changing his image. He changes his name to Gil and gets dropped off at a different high school by a prison van, beats up a school bully and acts like a stereotypical over the top bad boy. And it all works and he becomes popular and the girls in school are attracted to him including one in an impressed voice asking, "you were in jail?" and then inviting him to a party.
  • Bridget Joness Diary (2001) | Women Attracted to Men Who Treat Them Badly
    Daniel (Hugh Grant) patronizingly tells Bridget (Renée Zellweger) to "just slow down. It started on Tuesday and now it's Thursday. It's not exactly a long-term relationship, is it?" after she expresses concern about what the rest of the office will think of their relationship.
  • Steve (Horatio Sans) is depicted as uncouth and much less attractive than Tricia (Jaime Pressly), but they are the second couple to get married in the movie by an Elvis impersonator at a Las Vegas wedding for only $250. She agreed to not have her dream wedding so he could open his own dental practice which they invested all their money into.
    Staff Aside
    Jaimie Pressley has appeared on the cover of Shape, Playboy, FHM & Maxim whereas Horatio Sans has not appeared on comparable magazines with men on the cover unlike fellow co-star Jerry O'Connell. And, more often than not women are deferential and help out men achieve their career goals rather than the other way around.
  • American Pie (1999) | Women Attracted to "Bad Boys"
    Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is portrayed as a nice guy who is respectful and intellectual which is inferred to be why he is single as girls are not interested in him. He pays a student, Jessica, to spread rumors that make him appear to be a "bad boy" such as that he beat up Stifler. And the result is that women express interest and start asking about him believing the fake rumors are true.
  • Jim (Jason Biggs) tricks a foreign exchange student Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) into changing her clothes alone in his bedroom while secretly streaming it over the Internet so he and his friends can watch together. The entire school gets the streaming link by mistake and several students are shown making crude comments and cheering along as Nadia takes off her clothes, lays topless in Jim's bed, finds one of his nude magazines and inexplicably starts pleasuring herself. Jim then enters his bedroom with a cheesy line asking if she needs a hand and -- wouldn't you know -- she apparently does, but first Jim has to do a striptease dance for her. Jim is depicted as super awkward and terrible with women throughout the movie while Nadia is one of the most desired girls in class. But she is ready to have sex despite barely knowing him. After all is said and done, he ends up blowing it with Nadia and she gets sent back to Czechoslovakia. Of course, nobody else gets in trouble for it.
  • Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) walks into a room clearly marked with a "Please Keep Out" sign on the door and encounters Stiffler's mom (Jennifer Coolidge) having a drink next to a pool table. Instead of asking him to leave, she flirts with him by offering him a drink that's been aged 18 years, which she says is "the way I like it." As the song "Mrs. Robinson" begins to play in the background—a sly reference to the movie "The Graduate"—Stiffler's mom looks over at the pool table and tells Finch "you're dead" as the camera pans away and they presumably have sex.
  • Phoebe's (Lisa Kudrow) long lost brother Frank Jr. (Giovanni Ribisi) is engaged to his (much older) former high school teacher Alice Knight (Debra Jo Rupp).