Review: “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” villainizes femininity [MUSE]


Arya Pinnamaneni

With the growing popularity of the TikTok sound from “How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days,” (“and all the girls dreamed that they’d be Ben’s partner, they’d be partner”), I went back to rewatch the romantic comedy. While it is still entertaining and one of my personal favorite rom-coms it is the perfect exemplar of the cool girl trope, with the writing and wardrobe constantly villainizing femininity. 

 Andie Anderson played by Kate Hudson is a columnist for Composure magazine, a fashion and lifestyle magazine for women. There she is their How to girl writing articles such as How to find the perfect lipstick and How to talk your way out of a ticket. But she aspires to be a “serious” journalist writing about politics and global conflict. She is smart, likes sports, enjoys ribs and motorcycles, is effortlessly gorgeous and most of all cool. But when her editor puts her on an assignment to illustrate all the things not to do in a relationship also known as how to lose a guy in ten days. She is tasked with finding and losing a guy by making all the mistakes the average reader might make. Unfortunately for her Benjamin Berry played by Matthew Maconghey has made a bet with his boss to win an account, in which he has to make a woman fall in love with him before an event for the account. 

At first he thinks that she is the perfect woman. However, as their relationship continues she becomes clingy, and emotionally volatile; it takes everything for him to continue the relationship. When Andie acts in “all the wrong ways” in an attempt to make Ben dump her, not only does her behavior change as does her wardrobe. Going from her understated and effortlessly glamorous muted wardrobe. That makes her seem beautiful but not in a way that says she is overly absorbed in her appearance to more girlish silhouettes with a variety of prints and colors. 

Her hyper feminine wardrobe becomes associated with this clingy delusional character thereby villainizing it. In her dressing this way, making all the mistakes an average Composure reader might make,the movie suggests that to read a fashion magazine is to be clingy, delusional and shallow. That a girl who cares about fashion and dresses in a very feminine way is inherently a worse partner. While a girl that likes sports and not fashion, cares about politics and is beautiful and smart. In contrasting these two different ways Andie acts through wardrobe and interests and not just behavior it demonizes the type of girl who might dress that way or have those interests. When Andie starts to have feelings for Ben and becomes more vulnerable with him, her wardrobe defaults back to its previous style,more relaxed and muted. Furthering the implication that dressing in a feminine more girly way is implicitly a sign of being clingy and inauthentic. Not only does Andie’s character exemplify the cool girl trope it goes farther to villainize femininity. In doing so it can give viewers a damaging view of femininity. Also promoting  the notion that a woman’s interest and style is an indicator of her character and mentality.

On this blog, members of the Carmel High School chapter of the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists (and the occasional guest writer) produce curations of all facets of popular culture, from TV shows to music to novels to technology. We hope our readers always leave with something new to muse over. Click here to read more from MUSE.