In my (favorable) review of Bridesmaids, I included this statement:
“In future generations, when film students write papers analyzing the importance of the ‘colonial woman’ on the plane to Vegas, reams of paper will be dedicated to understanding the influence of Bridesmaids on changing the gendered culture of millennial movie-making.”
In classic English major behavior, I immediately began brainstorming a list of possible discussion and essay topics dealing with the movie and ideas of gender. I would love to hear your thoughts on these topics!
- Why was the symbol of Annie and the cop’s relationship the very phallic carrot?
- On the plane to Vegas, Annie hallucinates the visage of a “colonial woman” dressed in colonial clothes. What importance does this vision have in relation to the rest of the story?
- In Bridesmaids, two female characters vent their frustrations over men before succumbing to a kiss. How does this moment reflect the nature of gender expression, sexual orientation, and the stereotypes of married life?
- Relate the relative absence of Annie’s mother to the usual lost father thread in male-oriented movies. Also, what does the total absence of Annie’s father mean?
- Is this film anti-children? Most dialogue and exposition involving children is negative. What does this mean for the traditional role of women as mothers and nurturers?
- Discuss the character of Megan. While the character had rough, masculine traits, she also wore pearls and was presumably heterosexual. What does the inclusion of this character in the feminine ensemble say about the performative nature of gender?
- Contrast the characters of Ted and Officer Rhodes. In what ways do they represent aspects of masculine personality? Alternatively, how do the characters uphold or circumvent male stereotypes?
- What is the film’s perspective on sex? Annie engages in intercourse with two very different men, under vastly different circumstances. Other characters discuss or complain about sex. In general, what does the film say about sexual intercourse and women?
- Bridesmaids is notable for including a lengthy gross-out scene involving vomit, diarrhea, and other bodily functions. Why was this scene important in the presentation of a primarily female comedy? What impact did the scene have in humanizing the characters or, conversely, in distancing the audience from the characters?
- What makes Bridesmaids different from other contemporary female-oriented comedies? What impact do these differences have on the nature of women in comedies, and of gender expression in film?
Those are just ten questions. There is, of course, much more to be discussed regarding gender and women in Bridesmaids. The movie’s a box office smash, but I can’t shake the feeling that it will also be a critical landmark in future studies of gender and film.
Leave a comment if you have any input on women, gender, sexuality and Bridesmaids. Would love to hear what you have to say!