I have suppressed this little rant for awhile, ya’ll. Although some in my life would say I have never been successful at keeping my mouth shut, I proved them wrong this time. Well, at least partially. Cuz I am lettin’ it rip now. Anyhoo, so I recently saw the new romantic comedy, Think Like a Man, starring Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, Kevin Hart, and Megan Good. Check out the trailer:
At the most, this is the type of movie I would wait and see on Netflix, but there was the incentive to spend a little time with my daughter, and enjoy the cushy reclining seats at the Lakewood Cinemas, so I threw caution to the wind, and settled in for what I knew would be an utterly predictable ride. Armed with some curly fries, and relatively low expectations, I reclined my comfy red chair, and watched the film. And now, I’m feelin’ some kinda way about it. Let me first say, the rub I’m feeling does not discount some very notable components at play.
- Cha-ching! According to cnn.com, Think Like A Man earned $60.9 million just 10 days after its release. A significant pull for a Black film; particularly one that is not boasting Tyler Perry as the producer (don’t get me started on that shit). Considering it took only $12 million to produce, this films proves that Black film can achieve commercial success. Not news to most of us, but to mainstream producers and investors, some bushy eyebrows might be raising.
- Black Actors Working – I can’t even fathom how tough it is to try to get jobs in Hollywood as a Black actor. Tough couldn’t even begin to describe it. Think Like A Man got some talented Black actors a damn good paying gig. I will always celebrate employment in this recession.
- Comic Relief – Truth be told Kevin Hart was also a big part of me seeing the movie. He makes me laugh. Like really laugh. Like when you snort, or choke on your beverage. That fool is funny as hell. Staying on the grind like I do, I need to cut loose and let out a hearty belly laugh. I know you all can relate.
Okay, so with all that said. Here is some of my beef with the film. Not huge, slab of prime rib beef. Think beef stew. Or beef jerky. Bite size, but full of flavor nonetheless.
- Assumptions, assumptions , assumptions. This film perpetuates this played out assumption that all women aspire to a relationship. Not just a relationship. A heterosexual, long term relationship that evolves into a marriage ceremony. A relationship where traditional gender roles are at play (Woman=cook, clean, be cute, work, but not too much work; Man=Athletic, masculine strut, weekly time on the basketball court followed by a brewsky). This supposedly innate desire to snag a man becomes so paramount to our happiness, we as women are driven to seek out the advice of a DUDE to show us how to be the WOMAN to which a man will commit. Women are again portrayed as strategic and manipulative little vixens, determined to score themselves a keeper. To that end, they become love starved students of Steve Harvey. For reals?
- Reality check. Now, I’m not naive, ok? I know that sex sells. I know that sex symbols, heartthrobs, and sirens sell tickets. But damn it, none of the women in the film are over a size 6. None of the real bounce that pulls the brothas I know, was featured in this film. Better yet, none of the beautiful, eligible women I know look like the female leads in this film. On Girls night out, maybe. But just maxin? Um, no. Relaxers, weaves, accessorized to the nines, and super styled. Not sure if I saw a pair of yoga pants much less sweats when they’re in chill mode. And all the male leads are chiseled, trimmed, and ready for their Esquire photo shoot. Don’t get me wrong, I could ogle at Michael Ealy’s abs all day. However, I opt for individuals whose intellect and swag trump their Body Mass Index. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have a little bit of belly or jelly SOME damn where. Curves, cush, scars, unapologetic authenticity….come to mama! That’s real. And the real is the sexiest, most alluring aphrodisiac ever.
- The Legacy. This is the one that gets at me the most. Now, a whole new generation of misled and deceived 20 and 30-somethings will float around with these notions of the chase, the “cookie”, the rules of engagement, the 90 day rule, mind games, and that pay to play crap that has the divorce rate high and the dating pool as shallow as a mud puddle. The very important space and exploration of SELF gets overlooked in the scramble to get a partner before it’s too late. What do you want to develop in yourself; completely apart from your identity as a good catch or a desirable woman? Be it career or personal development, you must do you, boo boo. A moral compass (that you define), a solid self-awareness, and yes, the occasional snappy comeback—these are the essential spokes on the wheel to self-fulfillment.
Dont’ start trippin’. Don’t misunderstand me. This movie had some fun elements. And I believe it achieved it’s goal of entertainment. Unfortunately, too many folks will take it as education. There’s danger ahead on that road. An interesting discussion on the film here. And by interesting, I mean both annoying and affirming.
I believe in love and partnership. I think building a life with someone can be a blessing above and beyond our dreams. However, it’s not my only dream. And while I will make room in my life for the right one, I won’t re-create myself to be more appealing to prospective suitors.
And that, is how you think like a woman.