Hollywood Stereotypes vs. The Real World

February 27, 2009

After a hard week at school where I get handed tests and reading assignments left and right, mixed in with a 30 hour work week making sandwiches and salads for the hundreds of people that come into Panera Bread everyday, I often find myself unwinding on the weekend with a good movie, most always a “chick-flick”. Sometimes living vicariously through the characters that meet unexpectedly and fall in love within the 2 and a half hours of the film. Sure Hollywood makes it look easy, but as we all find out eventually, real life is not like the movies.

            As embarrassing as it is to admit, my favorite ‘chick-flick’ is the 1997 film, Titanic. Watching Leonardo DiCaprio sweep Kate Winslet off her feet and seeing their last moments together in the freezing water of the Atlantic gets me teary every time. (Embarrassing…I know) According to Helen Fisher’s love types, Kate’s character is an Explorer and it has her almost jumping off the back of a ship, and then trading her luxurious lifestyle and fiancé for this poor artist she met just days before. (Talk about adventure!) In contrast to Kate’s Explorer love type, my love type would be the Negotiator. I follow my intuition and I am very social. I easily notice other people’s body language and understand the tone and inflictions in the way people say things. I often overanalyze my relationships and compare them to the relationships of my favorite characters in the movies I watch.

            In all these romantic comedies, women are always depicted as very feminine and beautiful and all the men are athletic, gorgeous, and masculine. Guys who are thin and wear glasses are stereotyped as the geek while guys with big muscles and chiseled features are in the leading roles. According to a study, “Social norms—not genetic programming—dictate what is attractive in a potential mate…They also define whom they are supposed to be attracted to, and how they are supposed to express this attraction. Men are supposed to be attracted to “feminine” women, and women are supposed to be attracted to “masculine” men.” (Malach Pines, Ayala et.al) 

When looking for a potential mate, I often found myself looking for the stereotype Hollywood created for the perfect guy, tall, dark, handsome, and to say the least, masculine. Sure these guys are out there in swarms, but what about all the other guys Hollywood missed? Why is the skinny guy with glasses not in the leading role sometimes?

 Now that I am older I know that love is not as easy as the movies, and not every guy with muscles and chiseled features is perfect for me. In fact, I found the perfect guy for me and ironically he is the skinny guy with glasses and we are very happy despite Hollywood and it’s never ending stereotypes!


Malach Pines, Ayala et al. (2001) The role of gender and culture in romantic attraction. European Psychologist Vol. 6(2), pp 96-102.


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