How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days
Film; Sociological Movie Review Extra Credit
(SOC 1001, Anna Posbergh, SEC 014)
The 2003 romantic comedy film, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, exploits social expectations and social norms in the dating world and gives an exaggerated interpretation of what happens when these expectations and norms are ignored. Hudson, a writer for a magazine, seeks to find a man and break up with him using only 'the classic mistakes women make'. The idea of 'making mistakes' in regards to dating implies that there are certain standards and expectations that must be met and fulfilled, while the idea of making mistakes that only women make implies that there are specific guidelines and expectations set aside for only women. The difference between expectations and 'mistakes' for men and women, as Hudson inadvertently points out, is distinct and apparent. Thus, Hudson also points out a gender inequality between men and women in regards to dating. Later on in the film, Hudson goes to the extreme in regards to these 'mistakes'; she quickly moves into his apartment, acts overly possessive and emotional, talks about marriage and future children, and even goes so far as to ruin poker night for McConaughey and his friends. Each one of these actions she takes evokes a sense of discomfort and awkwardness, as her actions significantly divert from what is considered 'socially acceptable'. But the idea of 'socially acceptable' comes from societal expectations and norms that are developed throughout communities and touch on several ideas such as gender inequality. Additionally, 'socially acceptable' is an indication of social construct in society - its exact original sociological source is unknown, but thinking about it, why are some things considered 'wrong' or 'unacceptable' in regards to dating. Sociology seeks to make the familiar strange; dating guidelines in our society have always been merely adhered, but nobody questions their origins. Hence, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, though it often evokes awkward and uncomfortable comedy, sociologically questions dating guidelines and exploits societal norms and expectations in regards to dating.