How many romantic movie scenes rely on weirdly creepy gender roles? A lot, it turns out. In this new video from Buzzfeed, we see just how many female character roles become super awkward as soon as they’re played by men.
Sharon Stone’s most famous scene from Basic Instinct is an obvious choice here: Of course it’s going to be uncomfortable to watch a man seductively cross and uncross his legs, because it was kind of uncomfortable to see Sharon Stone do it the first time round. However, this video goes on to reverse the roles in several more romantic movies including Twilight and Pretty Woman, and these relatively tame scenes feel just as weird.
By replicating each scene as closely as possible, this video highlights the huge differences between how male and female characters are presented in Hollywood movies. Kate Winslet in Titanic and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman both use the kind of passive body language that you basically never see among male characters, particularly during love scenes. And in virtually every one of these examples, women are something to be watched and appreciated like a piece of art, while men take the active role. By extension, the audience is far more likely to identify with the male character as a viewer, rather than the female character as an object of desire.
Why is it creepy-romantic when Edward Cullen stalks a girl and climbs through her bedroom window, but just plain bizarre when it’s a woman doing the same thing? Maybe next time you’re watching a Hollywood love scene, think about whether it would still seem OK if you switched the characters around.
Screengrab via YouTube