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Headscratchers: What Women Want
  • How come not only doesn't anyone seem to find the premise of the movie sexist, but women actually embrace it to the point that this movie even had a female director? Not only does the protagonist gain his power by interacting with stereotypically "feminine products", but the way they're portrayed implies (to me, at least) that the movie considers female thoughts to be as easy to read as dog thoughts, and easier than male thoughts (ergo: women are shallow).
    • Simple: It isn't. There is no indication that men have a 'better' thought pattern, and the whole dog thing was about how the mind reading applies to females in general. Also, he DIDN'T get his powers from the feminine products, he got it from the lightning. His attempts to re-enact the events was based on his own understanding, which was shown to be flawed.
      • So it's Lightning Can Do Anything? It at least implies that the thought patterns of a female human and female dog are closer to each other than those of a female human and a male human. Even if neither is "better" than the other, said lightning-based power must have been awfully specific. This is one of the areas where the (average) biological differences between the sexes are negligible compared to the deviations from the mean that each sex shows within itself.
      • Erm, Lightning didn't do anything to him except make him unconscious. Why hasn't anybody else pointed this out? What seemed to trigger his ability was being electrocuted; his foot was in a water-filled bathtub when a hairdryer fell into it. He attempted to get rid of his ability using lightning, which I'm pretty sure was way more powerful than a hairdryer. So, if anything, it might have just strengthened his ability by a lot.
    • The lightning wasn't specific at all. It made him read the minds of females, regardless of species.
      • Exactly. That kind of sex-specific ability far harder to swallow than a species-specific ability.
      • That you're perplexed by that in a movie where a man gets magic mind reading powers from an accident that should have killed him seems rather arbitrary.
    • That it's somewhat sexist is given, what's downright perplexing is the implication that thoughts operate in a linear, coherent fashion. I can accept lightening giving magic powers, I just can not accept people's thoughts as easily understandable, full sentences. WAKING THOUGHT DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!
      • Clearly he wasn't reading her every passing thought, just the ones she was... thinking about. Her inner monologue, as it were. The fact that it was mostly coherent is a way to make the movie make sense as showing the way people actually think would make following the film prohibitively difficult.
      • I dunno, showing at least a little bit of the randomness of thought might have improved it immensly. I know it was a narrative convention and all, but it still bugs me. Plus, not all of us are consciously aware of why we do the things we do either. This has always bugged me about mind reading in general though, and not just this movie.
    • Given the premises, what's the problem? The lighting grants a power that reads, translates and ordinates females' thoughts. Complete with using the same voice of the person in object.
      • My problem is: what's so special about female brains that the power is so ridiculously specific that it only works on them?
      • I guess it depends whether you assume a scientific or mystical explanation for his powers. Scientifically, there shouldn't be such a distinction, unless his subconscious was, for some reason, limiting his power in that fashion. Mystically, it's entirely possible that whatever supernatural entity gave him that power thought only reading women's thoughts would be more fitting.
      • Maybe it has to do with the Y-chromosome. Having it blocks the magic mind reading. Or, men just aren't broadcasting anything due to lack of any real thought. Is that sexist enough back?
      • How exactly would a frigging chromosome affect — You know what, I'm not even going to bother anymore...
      • You're trying to apply science to What Women Want. Don't you see a problem here?
      • I don't understand what is the problem. It is clearly shown in the film that this particular individual was trying real hard to understand what women feel towards specific female products. With his mind set he became drunk and electrocuted. BAM - he can hear female thoughts. Maybe if he was doing the same for kids products, he would hear thoughts of only young people and animals, no matter what their sex was. It is not a documentary on brain functions last time i checked.
    • CAPTAIN MARVEL DID IT WITH HIS MAGICAL LIGHTNING BOLT. QUIT PICKING.
    • Its the premise of the movie. If you don't want a movie where the male protagonist can read womens thoughts, then don't watch this movie. Willing Suspension of Disbelief. But what's happening following this premise is just stereotypical hollywood trite, especially when contrasted by what could have been.
  • What always bothered me was the scene in every trailer where Helen Hunt accidentally looks at his crotch and thinks: "Omigod, I just looked at his crotch!", while covering her face with both of her hands and turning away. We the audience can hear everything that Mel Gibson can, so this is not strange at all. But in a normal business situation, when a woman happens to catch herself looking at a co-worker's (completely clothed) crotch, does she usually throw both hands over her face and quickly avert her gaze, hoping that he won't notice? I agree that maybe if she were obviously STARING, that's one thing, but even then, wouldn't you just casually pretend to be looking at something else? (or is that something that only MEN think about, due to our years of practice at staring at women's naughty bits?)
    • This female troper has caught herself dozens of times staring at crotches or breasts, and she always looks away immediately but discretely. Never has she seen anyone in real life, male or female, cover their face and dramatically turn away.
    • While still quite unnaturally dramatic, perhaps it wasn't her reaction to looking at a guy's crotch (and being embarassed) but looking at HIS crotch (and being shocked at herself): This man she'd heard to be a chauvinist pig whom she assumed and swore she would have no feelings for, and a business partner/rival at that. Instead of "Oh no! I looked at a man's bits!" and covering her face in hopes he wouldn't noticem, it may be more her "What the HELL am I doing" and tearing her vision away so as to shock herself back into reality, with consideration to dignity and subtlety being an afterthought. Though exact context or wording might prove otherwise, as it has been a while.
  • Given that most people have more than enough problems communicate VERBALLY w/ another person,why is telepathy shown as being more...efficient? Would have Mel had as hard a time (or harder) understanding thoughts as he might speak? Or even harder because most of the thoughts might not be accompanied w/ non-verbal clues (facial expression,body language,etc)?
    • Wouldn't this be a problem every media involving a telepath would have to address ever then?
  • The Nostalgia Chick points out in her recent review that the Vegas Show Girl Mom explanation for his sexism actually raises up far more questions than it answers. Since he'd been able to see the reality of the women's lives and feelings backstage instead of just the glitz and glamor onstage, wouldn't that have potentially made him more understanding and sympathetic towards women? We're never given the reason why he saw the stage image and surface persona as the definitive reality.
    • Uh, no. What he learned from his Vegas Show Girl Mom was that women can be exploited by men without any consequence for the men. In fact since many if not all the showgirls seemed to really enjoy their jobs, he probably also became convinced that most women like to be sex objects for men.
      • Except, this only works if one accepts the film's dubious thesis that off-stage show girls act the exact same way they do onstage, and that he managed to grow up never realizing the difference between performing in a show and being something in reality. It's a lot of disbelief to suspend, and we haven't even reached the magical stuff yet.

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