Womens' Behavior Depicted Negatively

Table Of Contents

Explanation of Conservative Trope

Men and women are both often portrayed negatively on screen because you need conflict. But women are depicted negatively more often in repeated, specific & stereotypical sexist ways whereas men are not. And when men are depicted negatively, it's more often because of circumstances whereas with women it's because of their personalities.

Conservative Trope Examples

  • A young social media influencer woman is depicted as vapid in her conversation with Beckett where she also refuses to listen to reason that she is in danger being a target of a serial killer and she has important things to do. She snaps out of it when she reaches her car and sees her friend dead in the passenger seat.
  • The Way Way Back (2013) | Women Depicted as Dependent on Men
    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.
  • The girls are depicted as vapid and superficial, and there is a scene on the beach where Steph tells her boyfriend Chad that she wants to go in the water, and he responds angrily to then go because, apparently, she is very dependent on him.
  • Debbie (Leslie Mann) sticks with Pete (Paul Rudd) even after she finds out he's been repeatedly lying to her about giving his dad tens of thousands of dollars, missing a mortgage payment, and not paying the rent on his office.
  • The entire movie is just scene after scene of Cameron Diaz being a damsel in distress who Tom Cruise saves from nefarious gun dealers and government forces.
  • All About Steve (2009)
    Mary (Sandra Bullock) is depicted as a hopelessly unstable and desperate single female who becomes obsessed with Steve (Bradley Cooper) to the point of getting fired from her job and feverishly stalking him as he travels around the country after one blind date.
  • Mary (Sandra Bullock) runs upstairs and changes out of her outfit and into a very revealing top, short skirt, bright red boots, and a pair of "spectacular skivvies" to impress her blind date Steve after seeing him for the first time.
  • Jade (Heather Graham) says about her spontaneous Las Vegas marriage to Stu (who was out of his mind at the time), "I'm a stripper. Well, technically I'm an escort, but stripping's a great way to meet the clients. But that's all in the past, now that I married a doctor."
  • Zooey's (Rashida Jones) friend tells the girls she isn't worried about her husband cheating on her because "he's 40 pounds overweight with a Jewfrow and a small d*ck." She continues "look, I love the guy to death, but I'm far and away the best-looking woman he's ever going to get, and I'm only a 7" after she was asked about being worried that he would ever cheat on her since he's away with his friends a lot.
  • When Kale (Shia LaBeouf) and his neighbor Ashley are in danger, he leads her by her hand to guide her to safety by jumping in a pool.
  • Ricky Bobby's wife Carley tells him "I'm a driver's wife. I don't work" to explain why she's leaving him and marrying his best friend Cal (John C. Reilly) after he gets injured and can no longer drive.
    Staff Aside
    This is clearly a comedy and played for laughs, but that is the point. The trope that some women are only with their husbands because of money is so ingrained in our culture that we can joke about it with nobody batting an eye.
  • Model Ava Fontaine is depicted as dependent on her husband Yuri and unsuccessful beyond her modeling career. She doesn't get an acting part because, "They're going in another direction: with someone who can act." And her later success as an artist was faked by Yuri who bought her paintings and stored them in a secret cargo container.
  • Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta Jones) is manipulated into committing a crime forcing her to flee and lose her career as a talented and successful Interpol investigator so that her thief father can see her again without being arrested and thief ex-husband, Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), can get back together with her. And in the final scene, you see she is indeed back with Rusty although she probably didn't have much choice between that or jail.
  • Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason (2004) | Women Acting Normally to Sexist Behavior
    'Uncle' Geoffrey (James Faulkner) tells Bridget (Renée Zellweger) he prefers "what's underneath" her clothes after a relative complimented her jumper and then firmly squeezes Bridget's (Renée Zellweger) buttocks.
  • Three girls in a hot tub at their high school graduation party have a conversation about being popular. In a stereotypical vapid tone, one says "I hope we are just as popular in college as we are in high school" which is followed by "we will be" and "I know."
  • Love Actually (2003) | Women Stand by Unfaithful Men
    Karen (Emma Thompson) discovers her husband was having an emotional affair with his secretary, but stayed with him to try and work things out.
  • Stacy (Krista Allen) and Gina (January Jones) get into heated debates over how large they prefer a man's package to be because Stacy likes them "big" and Gina likes them "enormous."
  • Catch Me If You Can (2002) | Women Depicted as Dependent on Men
    Frank Sr. (Christopher Walken) mockingly asks Frank Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) "what's she gonna be, a shoe salesman at a centipede farm?" after Jr. told his dad his mom was out looking for a job since the family fell on hard times financially.
  • Catch Me If You Can (2002) | Women Depicted as Dependent on Men
    The movie propagates stereotypical sexist culture at the time with Brenda depicted as naive and dependent on Frank.
  • Serving Sara (2002)
    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."
  • Serving Sara (2002) | Women Marry Men for their Money
    Kate (Amy Adams) has a plan to marry Gordon for his money but meets with Joe (Matthew Perry) to help him in exchange for a piece of ex-wife Sara's divorce settlement instead.
  • Bridget Joness Diary (2001) | Women Let Men Treat Them Poorly
    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.
  • Bridget Joness Diary (2001) | Women Acting Normally to Sexist Behavior
    A male home shopping show host who works with Bridget's (Renée Zellweger) mother yells "ouch!" at his stylist and then tells her to "be careful you ham-fisted c*nt!" after she accidentally poked him with a piece of equipment.
  • Tomcats (2001)
    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.
  • Kyle gives golf lessons to a woman he's dating who is depicted a ditsy and overly subservient. Michael joins him in the golf cart desperate for his help, and so she is forced to walk the course while they drive. She is not very good and acts and talks very ditsy-like. When her golf club goes flying on a failed swing attempt she says, "That's ok. Keep it. I've got more in the bag" not realizing every club is important and needed. Her next swing she falls over and Kyle, not paying attention, runs over her with his golf cart. She yells out, "I'm ok" and continues to let him treat her badly. She struggles to carry her bag to catch up to them while they ignore her and continue driving. They stop and she crashes into the cart and falls on her back. Undeterred, she continues to try to catch up as they ignore her and continue driving until the scene ends. But, that's not all, the end credits scene she's back for more laughs! And they show her on the same golf course losing her balance and falling down a hill into a pond while calling out to Kyle.
    Staff Aside
    Would they show a heterosexual man acting ditsy struggling with a sport while a woman mistreats him for laughs?
    Additional Tropes: Women Acting Ditsy
  • She's All That (1999)
    Popular jock and class president Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) recruits his sister to give Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) a makeover before they go to a party. His sister tells Laney she has an idea how to make her look gorgeous, but cautions "you'll really have to trust me." After working her magic behind the scenes his sister comes downstairs to present Laney, who looks utterly transformed after letting her hair down, taking off her glasses, putting on a form-fitting red dress, and donning red heels. Zack is momentarily speechless before having to spring into action to save Laney from falling after she slips on the final stair.
  • Varsity Blues (1999) | Women Need Men to Save Them
    Head cheerleader Darcy Sears (Ali Larter) tries to seduce lead actor star quarterback Mox (James Van Der Beek) by posing in a whipped cream "bikini" to try to use him as a way to escape their small town.
  • Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) | Women Depicted as Dependent on Men
    Debbie (Minnie Driver) is hiding in the bathtub with her father while her hitman love interest played by John Cusack defends them from assassins, and when he checks in on her she hands him the gun he gave her and tells him to "make this work" and he releases the safety and gives the gun back to her.
  • Cher (Alicia Silverstone) gets mugged at gunpoint in a seedy part of town and protests when the robber forces her to lie down on the ground because she's wearing "like a totally important designer!"
  • Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) | Women Overly Concerned with Apparel
    Connie responds with, "Did ya ever see a woman miss a shoe sale?" when detective Joe says, "Who the hell would wanna blow up a department store?"
  • Mia (Uma Thurman) heads to the women's bathroom to "powder [her] nose" and inside the bathroom there are multiple women standing in front of the mirror combing their hair and putting on makeup, with one woman worrying that she "needs some hairspray."
  • PCU (1994)
    Droz tells Tom that a group of women are not women but "Womanysts". They are depicted as over the top radical feminists who don't know how to have fun. One exchange, "You dated a white male?" explained as being a freshman which was corrected as "Freshperson, please!". Another woman calls a man a "cock man oppressor!" They also lead a protest where they walk in circles beating drums chanting, "This penis party's got to go". Later they go to a party hosted by the "cool" anti-PC protagonists when a male student asks, "What's up, babes?" One woman replies, "Pack up your rape culture and take a hike!" The man is friendly in contrast and offers them beers which they eventually accept. And then one woman realizes about men, "It's like, if you're nice to them, they bring you things?"
  • PCU (1994)
    As Droz shows Tom around campus he says, "See those girls? No, you don't. Those are women. Call them girls and they'll pop your face."
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) | Women Let Men Treat Them Poorly
    Gus's son Owen picks up Neal (Steve Martin) and Del (John Candy) for a ride to the train station in Wichita. The guys pick up a heavy trunk to load in Owen's truck, but he stops them and barks for his petite wife to get her "lazy behind out here and put that in back!" all by herself. The guys initially protest, but Owen insists she do it and says "She don't mind. She's short and skinny, but she's strong. Her first baby - come out sideways. She didn't scream or nothin."
    Staff Aside
    This scene is obviously played for laughs, but it also feeds into the idea that women are subservient to men and must do what they're told.
  • A crying passenger named Randy says to Rumack (Leslie Nielsen), "I'm scared. I've never been so scared. And besides, I'm 26 and I'm not married." Rumack reassures her and then another woman expresses similar concern, but follows with "but at least I have a husband."
    Staff Aside
    It's satire but still propagating a certain mindset that's easier to do through humor. Some people will laugh because they feel it's absurd but that gives cover to others who will also laugh but because they (secretly maybe) agree.