My grandmother used to love old movies. Even though she was a serious woman, these vintage flicks would bring a smile to her face.
They were very entertaining. Invariably, they were love stories, involving a beautiful and manipulative vixen who manages to land the man of her dreams. Through plotting, scheming and game playing, the vain, shallow, self-absorbed heroine always got what she wanted. Then the movie ended, and, presumably, everybody lived happily ever after.
There was no sequel to show that life was probably miserable living with this woman. Her desire for the finer things in life, coupled with a need for constant pampering, must have worn thin for her husband, as the story lines always the main characters in the direction of walking down the aisle.
If children were part of the picture, they were typically portrayed as being very well dressed and clean cut. Mom treated them more as expenditures of herself, rather than real people, with real wants and needs. Often, they were handed over to a nanny, or another female caretaker, because their mother had more important things to do. She'd give them a cursory peck on the cheek, and off she'd go. The message is that she had much better things to do.
These "heroines" have been portrayed as the ideal women, and these movies gave the distinct impression that if you are good at conniving, you'll be rewarded. You'll end up with Prince Charming, who will whisk you away to his castle, where you'll never have to lift a finger for yourself, or anyone else.
The female stars in these movies were horrible role models. We've been watching these films for generations, and I wonder how many women have internalized the terrible values they promote. I also wonder how much they've contributed to the current epidemic of female narcissism.
Pixabay image top by skeeze