Okay here we are! Another day living in a world that has been systematically designed to undermine women and the agency of their own being. Isn’t that fab? I’m still Charlie Brook and this is the Her Me Out podcast, where we talk about how specific movies have perpetuated rape culture or how we’ve been perpeturaped by a patriarchal structure that we see represented all the time even today and sometimes not just in movies but in the way people make choices about how other people should be making other choices about their own personal bodies.
If you can’t tell, I am pretty much talking about what is happening in the States right now with the abortion laws in the states of Alabama, Georgia, and even Missouri. Before we get into this episode’s movie, which you already know is Wedding Crashers because you clicked on the little thing that said it, let’s take a minute to talk about this crazy thing that is happening.
People sometimes ask me if I think the term rape culture can also encompass other feminist issues, such as something like abortion. While there are varying views on that within the feminist community, if you haven’t heard me say it before, I tend to lean towards everything being a culture - because it is a culture, people - so while yes sometimes women experience an unwanted pregnancy and it has absolutely nothing to do with the act of rape, how a lot of people view the situation and treat women within it is quite similar to that of rape culture and also it all ends up tying together into one complex-sphere of gender politics.
Let me explain:
We look at the female body like this uncontrollable entity that could just get pregnant at any time - because that’s its primary function apparently - and when it happens suddenly that’s the responsibility of the woman to bear this burden regardless of how she feels about it. She’s expected to change her life for her body because that’s just what being a female is, apparently.
So rather than listening to what the person within the body is saying about the situation, we make judgments and decisions for them based on what makes us feel uncomfortable rather than what makes her feel uncomfortable. And all of that is based on an idea of what women are, what their function in this world is. We don’t see them as a figure that makes this choice - her body makes it for her, apparently. Which is really just a tool we use to make women seem weak, like they can’t control their bodies, or their emotions, because they’re not really in control of any of it - apparently. END MUSIC
Even though that’s obviously not true because safe abortions allow women the opportunity to continue living their lives and still become pregnant again in the future if they so choose.
So how does that relate to rape culture?
Well the other part of the stereotypical female “function” (air quotes are happening) other than growing children is being the object of desire to attract men. (and if you don’t like these generalized statements that I’m saying go watch most movies and see what role women play in them - they’re usually the love interest unless they’re the mom - and those two characters are def not allowed to have a conversation together without a man present unless they’re talking about him) But anyway, we see a lot of narratives where men enter a heteronormative sexual situation with a lot less to lose, so to speak.
Whether it’s pregnancy or the social shame of being labeled a whore, men don’t really have to deal with negative social stigma when it come to having sex because at least on the hetero-male side it’s generally always considered a score (obvi STDs are another story for another podcast) So, because of this, they can kind of come into sex and leave without the same level of consequences as women.
And women have always had the burden - the burden of pregnancy, the burden of being labeled a prude if they don’t or a slut if they do, etc. And we never talked about this burden openly before because it was just what was expected of us. And men certainly didn’t talk about it because they were never forced to be aware. So it kinda makes sense that men don’t understand what women are really dealing with because we were taught not to share it and they were taught to ignore it.
But if you haven’t heard, that time of silence is basically over now. That doesn’t mean anything has changed in practice, but silence isn’t the standard.
So now women want to talk about how horrible it is to live in a world that doesn’t give you control over your body - in terms of people being able to sexualize you on the street or touch you in way that makes you uncomfortable while you’re at work, or not being able to make huge choices for your health and your life like being able to determine if you’re going to grow a baby inside of you.
And it all comes down to not wanting to give women the control. If it was really about not taking unborn life, we would be finding solutions that would actually protect women. We wouldn’t encourage men through media, in the examples that I show on this podcast, that it’s okay to take advantage of women when they’re drunk - because guess what that could lead to unwanted pregnancy that could end in termination. We also would have male birth control to double down on making sure that unwanted babies are not conceived.
So that’s why the abortion issue and rape culture, from my perspective, are intrinsically linked. END MUSIC
But, if you’re doubting it, in the case of Alabama, where women won’t be able to have abortions even in the case of rape and incest, well that’s just straight up rape culture. Why? Because women will be punished for rape by being forced to grow a human that they never wanted because we have a culture that absolutely doesn’t know how to protect women from it.
Okay next big question: what does any of this have to do with the movie Wedding Crashers??
Well if you’re me - everything! But also, let’s finally get into how this specific movie has perpeturaped us.
Want to watch something that will make you feel really icky and also help you understand why women date men that treat them like shit? Then Wedding Crashers is the film for you!
Okay so Wedding Crashers is a 2005 comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Usually, when we’re talking about Vince Vaughn, we’re talkin about problems. Sorry Vince, but I’m sure if we could ask him he’d probably agree. Or he’d just get really defensive, which would ultimately just be an indication that deep down he agrees.
But really, what I mean to say is that Vince Vaughn tends to bring along this whole air of assholery without consequences that generally doesn’t paint him in the best light by today’s standards. And this movie is absolutely no exception.
First of all, if you’ve forgotten or haven’t seen it, the plot of this movie is that these 2 best friends show up at weddings they weren’t invited to, to manipulate women into sleeping with them, which is, in their own words, a legacy that’s been passed down by a whole lineage of manipulative creeps, i.e. Will Ferrell. So that’s super fun.
In it, Vince and Owen show up to a very prestigious wedding where Owen’s character almost immediately falls in love with Rachel McAdams. Rachel is currently in a relationship with her HORRIBLE boyfriend Sack - played by Bradley Cooper - who we’re all supposed to hope that she realizes is the worst, but I mean his name is Sack...so that one should have been pretty obvious Rach.
Vince, however, pretty quickly gets it on with Rachel’s sister, played by Isla Fisher (who is that Amy Adams look alike lady - she probably hates when people say that but it is true), after they sleep together she tells him she’s a virgin and that she’s in love with him, which Vince isn’t thrilled about. But Owen uses this new relationship to get them both invited to the after party with Rachel’s family, much to Vince’s dismay.
Yikes people, this one is rough. First of all, it’s super aware of how icky it is, and that’s literally what it wants to be. I would define it as creepy that they’re somehow marketing as endearing. And it’s working. Or at least, it was working back in 2005.
Though I honestly can’t remember when or where I saw this movie, what I do know is that the mere mention of the film always used to give me a weird feeling. I remember people would quote it, and I tried to think it was funny, but it just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t for me, it wasn’t good, and I didn’t like it - even if I couldn’t say why.
And that, my friends, is the definition of perpeturapetion.
This movie really screws us over in 3 major ways.
Let’s call the first chapter: manipulative fucks.
So these guys go to weddings, that they’re not invited to, meaning someone is paying like two hundred dollars for them to be there (is that right? I have no idea how much weddings cost?) and they use a whole playbook of calculated schemes that will get women to sleep with them. Obviously, this is something we’ve seen a lot. We’re no strangers to seeing men using tactics to get women into bed - but again how can you say rape culture doesn’t exist when a popular movie like this is literally teaching men to manipulate women and teaching women to let them. We’ll get into the second part of that sentence in chapter 2.
So within the first 10 minutes of the movie, we get a pretty good idea of how manipulative they really are...here are some of the tactics they use:
And again, it’s so weird because they’re also so aware of how gross they are. But they just don’t care, which I guess is the way this kind of generation and human type functioned - it’s like we’re creepy but we’re cute - so it’s fine. Probably the ickiest part of the entire movie is the dancing to fucking montage, that I’m sure the writer of this screenplay thought was brilliant. If you don’t remember or haven’t seen it, it’s startling to say the least. Unfortunately I can’t capture it in just sound-effects so let me describe it.
It’s a montage so we see various shots of them dancing at weddings to the song “Shout” you know that classic wedding anthem. And as the music picks up, they’ll have a shot of one of them dancing with a woman, he’ll then dip her down or throw her in some way in the dance and then it will cut to her immediately being thrown on a bed, naked. This happens over and over, portraying how successful all of their wedding crashing efforts are.
I think they probably saw this as super fun and visually interesting, but really it’s just so sleazy. I mean I’m happy that those women are having fun and living their lives, but this is a celebration of predatory behavior - those women don’t know the truth about those guys. And this montage is saying, “yah but it’s still fun!”
And the weirdest part is that they actually have a few moments where they address their bad behavior but are not asked to make excuses. Right after that montage, Owen is trying to tell one of the girls that she should go home and this is their interaction:
Oh great. So cool of you to own up to it.
And it’s just like the whole movie, the writers are trying to grapple with this idea that they know what they’re behavior is but like does that mean they have to stop?
You can see this in moments like this:
Which almost feels like them excusing themselves or separating themselves from what they’re actually doing - that boys will be boys kind mentality (which if you’ve missed it, is a screaming indicator of rape culture)
And really the culmination of this struggle that they’re going through can be summed up by this conversation between Owen and Vince, where Owen has the audacity to say this:
Like what is that? You don’t want to say sleazy even though it’s the actual perfect word to describe your behavior. I mean to me that explains why this whole sexualization slash objectification of women culture has gone on for so long. These men are reckoning with the fact that their behavior isn’t great, but they don’t feel any pressure to change it.
So we see that the writers and these characters feel a little weird about what they do, but not that weird because we still see a whole movie where they continue to do it on an insane scale with no real consequences in the end.
Which brings us to chapter 2, which we’ll call: this is why women date men that treat them like garbage.
So when I watched this in my youth, and I’m hoping that it wasn’t when this came out as I was only 9 but who knows, I remember hoping that Rachel McAdams’s character would realize that she needs to leave Sack because we learn in the movie that he cheats on her. But we’re meant to hope that she leaves this asshole to run into the arms of another asshole.
It’s like pick your own adventure: the controlling and horribly emotionally abusive man-child that definitely needs anger therapy or the stalker with psychopathic tendencies who you don’t even know.
And she went with stalker.
That’s not even a joke. The movie very clearly shows that Rachel asks him to leave her alone after she finds out everything. And he keeps trying to get in contact with her for weeks:
Dude. That’s stalking. It’s not just you being cute and wearing her down as ya do. She very clearly doesn’t want to hear from you anymore, you need to stop contacting her.
But the worst part is, that at the end of the movie, after we watch Owen spiral into an even more pathetic version of who he was before, he shows up to Vince’s wedding, who is marrying Rachel’s sister - we’ll get into this in the next chapter. Owen is of course not stalking Rachel by showing up there, he was invited, (though he did show up at other events uninvited before this) but he does confess one more time how he feels about her in front of a whole church full of guests.
At this point, there’s a whole thing where she says she doesn’t want to marry Sack and Sack throws a little baby tantrum (what I mean by that is that it’s a child’s tantrum - not that it’s a small tantrum) and then Rachel has to wait for her father to stand up for her - just a side note, really not the worst perpeturapetion that’s happening here but it sucks that literally the whole movie she has to depend on the validation of men.
Anyway, after everything. She decides to be with Owen.
I know this is predictable and the idea is that we’re meant to hope she ends up with him because of that creepy, endearing thing he’s got going on - and we’re meant to see some kind of growth in him, plus it’s a feel-good movie (quotes are being used) butttttt damn if you ever wonder why women date men that treat them horribly, this is a pretty good representation of that.
Plus, she didn’t speak to him for weeks. She clearly didn’t want to see him. And yet somehow, he still wore her down. No wonder stalking isn’t considered as big of a problem as it should be. It’s like this poor girl is trapped in the world of the writer’s mind, and he’s not letting her make the choice that for months she stuck by.
Do you have a female friend that is super cool and somehow always seems to be bending over backwards for the appalling guy that she’s dating? Maybe you feel like you do that yourself? This is a pattern. It happens a lot. This is not me saying that all women rock and all men suck.
But it is me saying that women, following representations like this, make excuses for the men that treat them like shit. And a lot of men, follow the same pattern that they see in movies like this because they think that’s normal behavior or at least funny and lighthearted behavior. So somehow we’ve all been convinced that men can be like not great and women should still want to be with them anyway and then just take the emotional abuse that comes with that.
Okay so moral of the story, empower your friends into realizing that being single is better than being with a person that makes you feel like shit! It’s super hard because it feels normals and where’s the line slash you can’t blame someone for your own problems, etc. etc., but this is why you have badass lady friends to help you figure it out.
Finally, chapter 3: rape is rape!
So let’s go back to Vince who’s been chillin over there with Isla.
This movie loves portraying Isla as a the crazy bitch stereotype. Except like times a million.
Like mentioned she lies about being a virgin:
She tells him she loves like right after they sleep together the first time:
So that’s not my fav representation of a female in film. Especially because of the moment when she comes to Vince in the middle of the night to seduce him by tying up his arms and legs while he’s sleeping and then...rapes him.
This is not the only movie that represents a male being forced into having sex that he doesn’t want to have. It’s happened in quite a few movies, and almost always it’s portrayed like this - like a joke.
So because we have this idea that men should always want to have sex, that that’s something that’s always on their mind and always the goal for them, slash that they’re so strong and able to fight off any attacker, then we think they can’t actually be raped (there are finger quotes once again). And that’s a problem - because of course they can absolutely be raped.
And maybe if this was something we talked about more, there’d be more empathy when women are raped.
But, in the media, we have a history of male rape kind of not being labeled as rape and being made into a straight up joke. We just imagine that there’s no way he didn’t want it because he’s always meant to.
In this example, we actually do here Vince Vaughn label it as a rape, but it’s clearly been written for comedic effect.
I looked up some conversations online about the representation of male rape and there were people that were negating the whole idea of rape culture because male rape is not considered a part of the conversation. And while I agree we don’t talk about it nearly as much, it definitely has its own category within rape culture. Our media doesn’t even want to acknowledge that it’s a thing because men are supposed to want sex all of the time. That is a huge part of rape culture, on both sides!
And yes, if we could speak to the writers they would probably give us the whole it’s a comedy, it’s a satire, can’t you take a joke - thing. But the issue here is that your jokes, your casual jokes, just participate in this whole culture that continues to keep women at the bottom. How can we compete with powerful men who just keep telling us that our desire to make changes to how we’re treated is just a problem with us not being able to take a joke. There’s a lot of funny stuff out there, and it’s funny cause it’s smart. Soooo let’s just try a little harder!
Okay now that we’ve finished our chapters, I just want to do a brief sort of montage for you on all of the negativity surrounding homosexuals that this movie also houses:
Ahhh the early 2000s.
Now finally, we can get around to some of the positives in the movie, of which I only have just one. And it was in the very beginning, when Vince describes this to one of their clients:
Thanks Vince for recognizing the importance of safety while also feeling like a bad bitch. Doesn’t excuse you for your shit though…
And that’s how Wedding Crashers perpeturaped us!
I hope you enjoyed this feminist analysis, if you did please let me know by rating or reviewing and subscribing so that you’re always kept up to date with new episodes. And feel free, as always, to get in contact with me about movies that have perpeturaped you, I want examples, I want impressions, how you feel now, everything you are will to give me! And you can reach me through Instagram @charlooobrook or through my website HerMeOut.com.
Finally, do you know someone who’s dating an actual trash bag? We’ve all been there. Just remind her...It’s a culture, people!
This episode was produced by me, Charlie Brook, and edited by this person named Alex Casanovas. Music provided copyright free from the internet, and that’s all the information. Thanks for listening!