5 Movies Where Reversing Genders Reveals The Weirdness

If you really want to see how weird Hollywood's gender standards are, imagine some famous existing movies with the roles reversed.
5 Movies Where Reversing Genders Reveals The Weirdness

Let's be honest: When gender-swapping famous roles, Hollywood writers usually don't change much beyond the names and pronouns. A female Indiana Jones would still make droll quips and get dragged behind vehicles. But if you really want to see how weird Hollywood's gender standards are, imagine some famous existing movies with the roles reversed. Think about ...

The Shape of Water: A Lonely Guy Takes A Fish-Woman Home And Gives It Too Her

The Shape Of Water is an Oscar-certified Best Picture story about a mute woman who has an immediate connection with a mysterious fish creature being held captive in a secret government science lab. When the military decides to kill the creature (because Michael Shannon can't not be evil), she takes it upon herself to save her species-transcending soulmate and smuggle him out of the lab. Go, empathy!

She then takes the creature home and f*cks it in a bathtub.

On one level, it's refreshing to see a movie that portrays female sexuality in a non-shameful or judgmental way. But that said, imagine this movie is about a lonely male janitor who lives at home by himself and jerks off in the bathtub every morning. He finally sees a sexy lady fish-creature in a lab, bonds with it over a mutual appreciation of hardboiled eggs, and decides to take it home and stick his very human penis in it. Suddenly, this spiritual love connection between human and fishier human becomes the story of a dude who gets the oddest boner whenever he eats sushi.

Also, what would this guy's Octavia Spencer friend think? I highly doubt they'd say, "Finally, you've found someone who understands you on a level that transcends language!" More likely, it'd be, "Did you seriously f*ck that lab fish? What is wrong with you? Also, you might wanna have a doctor seal your dong off before whatever lobster gonorrhea that you definitely acquired makes it to your brain."

And when you swap the genders, suddenly all sorts of questions about consent bubble up. Can a non-human creature consent to sex? We know it has some intelligence, but what if it is in fact barely smarter than a dog? And do we know its age? Suddenly it doesn't scream "Best Picture winner" as much as it does "The cops will be at your house in ten minutes to confiscate your aquarium, Guillermo."

Titanic: A Rich Man Abandons His Impoverished Girlfriend To Freeze To Death

Do we really need to go over the plot of Titanic? Fine, in short: Guy and girl meet on a big boat, big boat sinks, guy dies, girl lives, and we all end up learning how to play "My Heart Will Go On" with the recorder in our elementary school music classes.

If the genders were reversed in Titanic, right away, the power dynamic is a bit weird. You have a spoiled dude from an upper-class family picking between a forced marriage to a rich girl and a hot teenage vagrant who impresses him with detailed sketches of dongs. Imagine Jack saying, "Paint me like one of your French boys" while he gently dangles the Heart of the Ocean jewel. If you're not too busy complaining about the Avengers, you need to get on that, James Cameron.

However, there is one scene in particular in which reversing the genders really highlights the underlying dynamic of the couple. Jack lets Rose have the floating door in the ocean because it's too small for both of them -- you know, the gentlemanly thing to do. She lives, and later gets married and has kids.

But if you swap them, suddenly you have this wealthy man taking over the door to save his life while his homeless mistress slowly freezes to death. He just lies there and takes the occasional nap, all while she shivers away in the frigid water thinking about how much she adores him. Then, once he sees that she's died while he's been chilling on his makeshift paddleboard, he slides her into the water like, "Damn, I quite liked that peasant woman."

Come to think of it, everything about the well-off dude even accepting the poor woman's selfless gesture makes him look like a monster, the fantasy of a rich male filmmaker subtly reminding the poor of their place. "No, please, go live your life of adventure, travel, and expensive hobbies! I gladly sacrifice my worthless life to make it possible!" We're thinking there'd be many, many thinkpieces written.

The Proposal: A Horror Movie About A Boss Who Forces His Secretary Into A Shotgun Wedding

The Proposal was the best rom-com everyone saw on an airplane in 2009. The plot is simple: Sandra Bullock's character, Margaret, is about to be deported to Canada and lose her job in publishing for violating the terms of her visa. And the only way to stay is to fake a marriage with her assistant, Andrew, played by Ryan Reynolds.

If you're not laughing at that hilarious setup, then you'll definitely succumb to a giggle fit when you hear how Margaret plans to persuade Andrew: She threatens her subordinate by telling him she'll ruin his career if he doesn't comply with her illegal demands. But despite the fact that it starts with terrible manipulation, the movie ends with the two discovering that they do really love each other after all. The moral here: You never know who you'll fall in love with until you force them into it.

Now reverse the genders. If it were Andrew forcing his secretary into a shotgun marriage, we would have a horror movie. And not a good one, but an uncomfortably terrifying one wherein a woman is coerced into a sexual nightmare by a sadistic and ruthlessly selfish boss -- a boss whom she later marries due to all of the control and blackmail just kind of working out for him. Just imagine this poster if you switched Bullock and Reynolds:

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The large man holding a woman against a wall while they both give audiences the "Isn't this just CRAZY?" look? The Reverse Proposal goes from being a comedy about Sandra Bullock's work obsession to an exploration of the highest form of workplace sexual harassment.

You Don't Mess With The Zohan: An Immigrant Is Forced Into Prostitution

In You Don't Mess With The Zohan, Adam Sandler plays an Israeli commando who dreams of becoming a hairdresser. However, when he moves to America, he finds that his hairstyles are out of style, and that nobody will hire him due to his lack of experience. Eventually, he becomes a hairstylist and develops a large clientele of old women, all because he's having sex with them in the back room after he cuts their hair. Surprisingly, though, it's not even the worst movie that Sandler made in 2008.

By now, you already can see where this is going. A "comedy" about a woman who can't get a job at a major salon because she gives outdated hairstyles, so she creates a huge following for herself by railing skeevy old guys in the backroom after she cuts their hair. That's not so much a comedy as it is a depressing news story that spurs you to watch 15 cute otter videos afterward just to balance out your mood.

Even worse, a later scene sees Paul Mitchell begging the Zohan to come and work at his salon. This means that the hairstylists who aren't putting the super in Supercuts are obviously seeing a huge drop in business. Imagine a story in which a female Zohan creates an economy wherein hairstylists inevitably have to sell their bodies to make a living, as men become increasingly unwilling to go without a little trim after their ... haircut. Dudes become so obsessed with getting laid post-shave that they ruin an industry.

But put a dude in the role and it's fine. Guys love sex so much, why would resorting to it for financial survival ever be a problem?

Weird Science: A 23-Year-Old Fantasy Man Showers With Two 15-Year-Old Girls, Buys Them Beer

Taking a break from creating classic, relatable movies starring Molly Ringwald, director John Hughes made Weird Science, the story of two teenage nerds who use the power of technology to create the perfect woman. It's a wacky '80s teen comedy where none of the secondary characters care about two teens hanging out with an adult woman, because any teen boy would be so lucky to be the victims of statutory rape by a hot older woman.

However, even in the 1980s, one would assume that pop culture wouldn't be so accepting of a movie about two lonely teenage girls Frankensteining an adult man to be their boyfriend. Look no further than the shower scene in the film. With the genders reversed, it would consist of two uncomfortable 15-year-old girls watching a man wash his schlong. When the man walks out of the shower and tells the girls to "loosen up," it takes a much more sinister tone.

Yeah, the phrase "Well, it was the 80s!" doesn't work when the situation has been creepy forever. Hey, now imagine a scene in which an adult man shops for underwear and asks the male worker, "If you were a 15-year-old girl, would these turn you on?" Because the reverse sure as hell happened in this movie.

Then you have random people being cool with two underage girls going to a bar with an adult man. Underage drinking aside, when a female barfly asks a handsome man what he's doing with two ladies, the response of "It's purely sexual" (as she says in the film) would definitely raise some eyebrows, some fists, and probably some handcuffs.

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