Whether it’s chilling with your girlfriends on a girls’ night in or snuggling up with a blanket as a party of one, the common go-to comfort movie is the classic chick flick.
The chick flick genre is typically all about women and catered towards a female audience. But all the feminists out there probably know how difficult it is to watch a chick flick all the way through without rolling your eyes or banging your head against something at least once. I mean all we’re really asking for is a cute blossoming romance based on mutual respect and recognition, a healthy perspective on dating and love, and preferably the smashing of the patriarchy. Is that too much to ask for? Instead, all too often chick flicks contain common tropes like slut-shaming, demeaning female stereotypes, and promote unhealthy dating ideals. If you’re sick of all that BS, stick to one of these instead and spare yourself a headache.
10 Things I Hate About You
Starting off the list is an oldie starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger in full-charm mode. There’s a lot of debate whether or not the original Shakespeare source material The Taming of the Shrew is sexist or not, but 10 Things I Hate About You definitely stars some fierce ladies. Kat Stratford is a fiery lover of feminine literature and all-girl rock bands who refuses to fit herself into the norm of an average teenage girl. Like the original play, it involves men betting and scheming to influence the affections of Stratford sisters, but unlike the original play, both sisters end up doing as they please and embracing their independence. Also, the scene of Heath Ledger singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” was every 90s girl’s dream.
Two Weeks Notice
This one stars Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant in their prime rom-com glory days. She plays the brilliant social activist lawyer and he plays the billionaire, playboy, (non-genius) philanthropist. She’s a Harvard graduate, but prefers fighting for the little guys. He’s the guy whose company tramples on the little guys. She ends up working for him as a part of an agreement to save her community center and romantic hijinks ensues. But through it all, she stays strong and keeps to her social activist beliefs and refuses to give into the corporate soullessness.
Bend It Like Beckham
Bend It features a teenage girl with conservative parents rebelling against their expectations and prohibitions on playing football because it is not suited for a girl. She joins a local women’s team and befriends a fellow footballer. The two becomes quick friends and while their friendship is complicated by a love triangle and jealousy, the pair are able to overcome the strain and pursue their love of the sport together.
She’s the Man
Arguably featuring Amanda Bynes in her best role as Viola Johnson, this one’s also a modernized Shakespearean adaptation. In order to continue playing the sport she loves when her all-girls soccer team is disbanded in favor of the boy’s team, Viola joins the rival school’s team to fight the injustice done upon her. But she disguises herself as a dude to fit into the team. And also falls for her teammate who doesn’t know she’s a girl. Ah, a classic ruse perfect for falling in love. It features sassy one-liners and a triumphant win that proves ladies can score a goal just as well as any guy. Also it’s cute seeing Channing Tatum as a romantically inept high school heartthrob before his Magic Mike days.
Going the Distance
Erin and Garrett are two career-minded individuals at the point in their lives where they want to find a stable job to settle into and a city to put roots down in. Things get complicated when their respective jobs place them at opposite coasts just as they start to fall in love. Deciding to delve into the uncertainty that is long distance relationships, they find difficulty making things work. Instead of abandoning her career aspirations for a relationship, Erin decides to choose what she wants first and Garrett respects her decisions. The relationship is one that’s based on mutual compromise and finding a middle-ground between both of them. That sounds like a pretty healthy balance.
Starring Emma Stone in her breakout role as Olive Penderghast, Easy A tackles the slut-shaming culture pervasive in modern-day high school just as much as it was in puritanical 17th century Boston in the original novel The Scarlet Letter. It’s actually kind of scary how little things have changed. When a school rumor about Olive’s falsified sexual encounters starts spreading and she becomes labeled the school’s Hester Prynne, Olive remains sassy and unapologetic. Bonus points for the hilariously cute relationship Olive has with her parents and adopted brother.
What’s better than a group of super talented, super hilarious ladies singing and dancing their way to the top of the male-dominated a cappella game? The answer is very little. The all-female a cappella group the Barden Bellas features a diverse cast as well as a lot of lady-loving and empowerment. Plus, the final grand gesture subverts the typical chick flick trope with the main character serenading the boy for forgiveness and another shot at a relationship. That’s a refreshing change.
Cover image courtesy of YouTube.