The Problem With Modern Day Chick Flicks

Featured Image Credit: Wikipedia. Ah, the good old days of filmmaking.

Every teenage girl knows the stereotypical sleepover, filled with the embarrassing enjoyment of watching the classic chick flick film. Now, what I remember is the feelings associated with awkward, goofy stories of friendship, young love and the comedic value, and the early 2000’s really brought this genre into life. But what about now, what about chick flicks made post-2010? What happened with those?

Where those of the last decade fell relatively short on inclusivity, the feelings of friendship and love were very much real. Look at Wild Child, for example, sharing a humble chip butty, trying on embarrassing outfits in charity shops, fancying the hot older boy from the year above, these all are realistic. Yes, they are hyped up to unrealistic standards that aren’t your average person’s life, but that’s showbiz for you. 

These old movies capture the nostalgia, romance and awkwardness of dating in ways that 2000 movies do, in cliché, weird, wonderful glory. 

So, what about modern-day chick flicks? Now, this is a rabbit hole.

They are highly inclusive (lots more roles for minorities,) awkward in some parts and they do describe themselves in the same genre. But where they are grossly misfiring is their relatability. 

Yes, these movies play into the fantasy of sexually frustrated teenagers well, but most of these supposed chick flicks sit on the edge of soft porn feel to the extent they could be the next fifty shades of grey if they played their cards right.

The awkward fumbling is long gone – this is evident when looking at ‘After’ for example, which was rated PG 13 at the cinema and clearly aimed at its teen viewers. The film portrays the stereotypical bad boy and the nerdy teenage girl who wants to change him for the better. Yes, this film is inclusive and shows important themes, but society truly has moved past this stage of an abusive partner who drinks, manipulates and preys on a weaker individual for sexual gains. The careful camerawork doesn’t show any nudity, but there really is little left to the imagination here. Not even mentioning the incredible amounts of bullying, intenseness and cheating that is normalised throughout. This cliché narrative is overrated and toxic and arguably isn’t necessary in modern-day cinema. 

And at the other side of the spectrum comes the tragic love story of two teenagers who are very ill, who find each other in recovery, only for one of them to die. Now, these are more intellectually equipped and do display lots of important values, but the problem arises when these types of films are now being made in such high quantities and always are made to show relatively high functioning individuals. Not only could you make an important film discussing disabilities, and by using actors who are disabled, but you could also make it so there is a happy ending too, rather than one character always dying. This Fault in our Stars narrative is overplayed and not romantic or healthy to constantly be delivered to younger audiences.

Chick flicks have changed drastically over the years and I’d have liked to say for the better, but simply this isn’t how the world of cinema has chosen to go.  

Published by Heather Dalgleish

21-year-old journalism student. Author and illustrator for In Full Bloom Magazine

One thought on “The Problem With Modern Day Chick Flicks

  1. I miss the chick flicks of the 90s. They were cuter and more innocent. IE, PG. Now, “chick flicks” are often R-rated and full of disgusting “humor.” No thanks, I’ll stick to Sabrina or While You Were Sleeping. Cute, romantic, feel-good movies I can watch with my mom.

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