It’s been two decades since the cult classic film, “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion,” premiered on the big screen. Yet actor Lisa Kudrow still (not-so-fondly) remembers an odd bit of sexism she encountered doing press for its release.
In a roundtable discussion celebrating the movie’s 20th birthday with HuffPost and several of the film’s stars and executives, Kudrow dished on an obnoxious pattern she spotted all those years ago: men making the film about them.
Kudrow said (emphasis added):
“It was funny doing press for this. Certain men, especially the ones who had talk shows, would say, ‘I liked this movie because it wasn’t bashing men.’ And I thought, ‘Well, that’s great, except no one was talking about men. They didn’t even get into the conversation. It’s about two girls. How did you insert yourself into this? We weren’t talking about men.'”
These unnamed male TV talk show hosts weren’t celebrating the film because it was hilarious and well-written (though it was). They didn’t praise it for lightheartedly serving up some valuable life lessons about growing older in your 20s (though it did). They told Kudrow they liked “Romy and Michele” because a movie centered around a fierce female friendship starring two women … didn’t bash men?
Male characters were certainly not at the heart of “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” — so making the film’s treatment of men a cornerstone to liking it is weird at best and kinda, sorta sexist at worst. It’s not all about guys, people.
The phenomenon of men finding ways to always make things about them is one that many women aside from Kudrow have noticed. “Parks and Recreation” parodied it brilliantly in an episode poking fun at a “men’s rights activists,” when one “meninist” was upset that men weren’t at the center of a discussion on feminism: “Can we have one conversation about feminism where men get to be in charge?”
What’s more, suggesting the female-led comedy was unique simply because it didn’t hate on half the population perpetuates the false notion that anything feminist or female-driven is inherently anti-men. Feminism is not anti-male — feminism helps men too.
I’m not sure which talk show hosts Kudrow had in mind when she dished to HuffPost, but I’m hoping they’ve raised their interview standards since 1997.