Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Does "lady stupid" exist?

Idiocracy was on tv last night.  I discovered it while channel surfing (I swear I don't normally watch Comedy Central a.k.a. Dudebro Central), and decided to watch it.  As I was watching, and admittedly laughing, it suddenly occurred to me: this movie is all about exaggerated dude stupid. 

Dude Stupid is a particular brand of stupid, that has recently been tapped and commodified in just about every fucking way possible.  What is dude stupid?  We've all seen dude stupid.  Think about every movie starring Seth Rogan.  It's Superbad.  It's the franchise that Judd Apatow is currently shitting out for a specific male demographic.  Dude stupid basically plays into the rise of the Man-Child:

The Man-Child's interests include smoking pot, drinking beer, watching porn and/or TV re-runs, pretending to be Gandalf and/or Darth Vader and/or other notable characters of sci-fi and fantasy film, playing video games, engaging in semi-dangerous XTreme sports such as smashing lightbulbs or setting things on fire, and generally just acting like a thirteen-year-old boy would if he had no curfews and no parents and no-one to stop him from being such an enormous loser all the time, my God.
Oh, and to dudes, women are only valuable if they put out and shut up.

Okay, so I'm watching Idiocracy, and it occurs to me that all the stupid things, or stupid things the stupid people in the future like, are all understood to be things that stupid, base men like.  To name a few: handjobs, explosions, groin-kicking, wrestling, monster trucks, guns, and boobies.  This movie stands as a prime example of dude stupid.  Indeed Mike Judge has created a reservoir of stupid made entirely out of dudebro edginess filled with sexism and misogyny, and "ironic" racism.  The women in Idiocracy (I counted two, did I miss one?) are only there to provide fodder for sexist jokes and comments, the main joke being that Rita is a prostitute, and Joe is naively unaware.

As I was watching this exaggerated glimpse into the exponentially stupid dude future, I wondered: is there a lady equivalent for dude stupid?  Is there anything in existence that appeals to the sometime desire for ladies to laugh at senseless things that don't rely on sexist stereotypes?  Or are only men afforded the luxury to be stupid, to say stupid things which entertain other men, and to do stupid activities?  What if Idiocracy featured a main character that was a woman, interacting with other women in a predominately female cast?  Why can't I picture these women engaging in anything other than what would appeal to patriarchal Man-Child-s?  Is there a lady stupid that isn't airheaded, ditsy, "blonde," etc.?  Anyone?



macon d said...

That's a great point, most of the stupid future in Idiocracy really is about masculine stupid -- "dude stupid." (And about excessive consumerism -- "Big Ass Fries!" -- that doesn't seem gendered -- or is it?)

I can't think of a female counterpart to "dude stupid." Maybe these male filmmakers are trying to avoid charges of sexism? Wait -- no, their movies tend to be sexist in so many other ways, so I doubt that.

I think it's partly because the target audience for these movies is mostly guys. They're definitely not "chick flicks." (Do chick flicks have a counterpart to Dude Stupid? Maybe something like the stock "Pretty, Mean, Arrogant Bitch" character?)

Andrea said...

There's no female counterpart to pretty much anything in the mass culture. The viewer is always assumed to be male. At least I have O Filthy Grandeur, where someone is actually talking to me!

FilthyGrandeur said...

i don't think the "Pretty, Mean, Arrogant Bitch" characters count, since we all know that those bitches are manipulative, and manipulation requires thought. i don't watch enough "chick flicks" to know if there's a lady counterpart there. i'm guessing no.

that's why we ladies have to get loud every now and then ;)

Unknown said...

I honestly cannot think of any non "ditsy" lady-stupid examples, and since Idiocracy was brought up, I raked my brain for examples of "lady stupid" in Mike Judge in particular. There was never a female Beavis and Butthead, instead, foiling them was the intelligent Daria, who eventually got her own show.
On King of The Hill, Luanne is "ditsy", but not nearly as stupid as her husband Lucky. Peggy could perhaps be considered in this category, because her arrogance and naiveté often cause her to get into major trouble, with Hank of course having to save her. But she is also talented and cunning, so she's not really "forrest gumping" her way through life the way B&B and Lucky do.
As someone who enjoys videogames and raunch culture to a certain, strained extent, I am annoyed at this sudden realization.

stufflikemikans said...

pretending to be Gandalf and/or Darth Vader and/or other notable characters of sci-fi and fantasy film, playing video games

Hey! Those are things that I do! That would actually be an intersting topic to discuss sometime: the women involved in gamer/geek culture. There are many gamer girls out there, and sometimes I wonder how we can fit in with all dudes. It's especially difficult when you're a feminist. But I digress.

The only lady equivalent to "dude stupid" I can think of is Amy from Futurama. One time I was watching the DVD's with commentary, and the writers were discussing her character. They talked about how on The Simpsons, all of the men are dumb but never the women. When they made Amy, they wanted to see if they could make a female character who is dumb and clumsy like Homer who could also be funny. They felt it was a success.

FilthyGrandeur said...

sadly women are still not accepted among the gaming community. the majority of games are marketed elusively to men. we have difficulty fitting in with gamer men because there's astounding evidence that we're clearly not wanted. unless we're able to dress impractically. i've read about women being harassed and assaulted at conventions.

i actually didn't even think of Amy--i think that totally works.

Tenya Luna said...

Yay, finally someone else that could identify the racism and sexism in idiocracy! I always end up feeling like I'm the only one who can acknowledge that yes, there are some funny moments, but couldn't ignore the fact that uhm, apparently in our "idiot" future we have a black president? And the only most average woman is a woman of color prostitute, as opposed to Regular Ol' Joe, who I really felt was presented as smarter than her. And why wasn't she made vice president, eh? Why was the best contribution made was replacing the poc in office with two white men? But then I'm 'reading too much into it.' And yeah, I don't think there were any more female characters than the two.

And as a woman somewhat involved for awhile in gaming culture (kind of fell out of it) I would say the environment is pretty inhospitable. Especially if you dared to have opinions about things like, I don't know, the impracticality of chain mail bikinis or 15" waists on 'fighters' or the medieval fantasy paradigm of abuse of women as integral. Then you're just being a stupid no-fun girl. Or if you submit and say you like all that stuff, then you're okay, as long as you're hot and willing to sleep with someone - because otherwise you are just meanly denying sexy times to the poor nerds. If you don't match one or both of those criteria, you're not as worthy.
I could go on for awhile.