My latest Girls on Film column, "We Have to Stop Forgetting," has been making the rounds, and inspired Film School Rejects' Cole Abaius to write a response called "What do Women Want (From a Film)?" The following is my attempt to answer that, responding to the points he and his commenters brought up, and trying to shove a book's worth of material into the following post:

What do women want? It's certainly not the male chauvinist mind invasions from the 2000 Mel Gibson/Helen Hunt film. It's not something that can be boiled down to any single, concrete thing -- that's just not the nature of existence, especially when we're talking about billions of people. But that elusive and hard-to-peg "what women want" desire is also not some alien construct men will never understand. It's just not a one-word answer.

At the base of the issue, we must be willing to recognize the divide between sex, gender, and experience. Most people define themselves neatly with the "man" or "woman" label, but that's not an absolute, and even within those basic definitions a vast and varied world of experience exists. But even more importantly -- it's not all based in estrogen and testosterone. As much as many men act a certain way and many women act in a totally different way, this is not some inherent part of our DNA. It's not as simple as men being encoded to love violence and shun intimacy, and women being encoded to love romance and male saviors. These are experiences, social constructs that latch onto hormonal and physical differences and cling for dear life.
categories Movies, Cinematical