My husband and I saw Horrible Bosses over the weekend. It was pretty funny, but some of the plot points could not be believed. Neither could the character played by Jennifer Aniston, labeled MANEATER on the poster. When I saw the poster, I wasn’t sure what the word meant in this context. I first learned the term “Maneater” from Hall & Oates’ classic 80s track. From the song, I deducted that a maneater is a woman who dates a lot of men, thinks nothing of it, breaking hearts along the way, dumping men after she gets what she wants, which is often money.
According to Horrible Bosses, however, this is wrong. A maneater, in this case Jennifer Aniston, is a woman who sexually harasses her smaller, less attractive, not smart employee with the intent of getting him to fuck her. She is desperate that he fuck her, but he won’t because he’s a good guy and engaged. This strains plausibility just looking at the two actors involved (the guy is played by Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). The movie conveniently ignores the fact that most men will fuck anything, including animals, so fucking Jennifer Aniston is not a dilemma. On the other side of it, why would Jennifer Aniston, playing a dentist (why a dentist?), want to have Charlie Day so desperately? It just doesn’t make sense.
Almost as ridiculous is the scene in which Aniston attempts to seduce Day, but doesn’t show her breasts. Isn’t that the way to start things off? There’s a whole entertainment franchise based on women flashing their tits, but movie stars refuse to do it so we watch sex scenes with women wearing bras! Or covering their breasts some other way. It’s a big bump for the viewer, especially one raised on 70s movies in which tits were still PG.
But perhaps the most insane part about the character, is that she doesn’t exist in nature. Women don’t try to rack numbers up, at least not blatantly, because it’s not culturally acceptable. Yes, it’s a male fantasy, but this character is clearly not a keeper because you can’t trust her. There is a slutty wife in the movie and she inspires her husband, Spacey, to murder.
Despite its lack of authenticity, this type of sex-crazed female character has been cropping up in movies and television a bit more, Samantha of Sex and the City being the prime example. Both she and Aniston come off as being a bit crazy – do you have to be crazy if you’re a woman wanting sex?
Another example is Winona Ryder in The Dilemma. Cheating on her husband, she comes across as evil-crazy, closer to the Aniston character than Samantha. The male characters in The Dilemma & Horrible Bosses, (both written by men, but so are most movies), discuss killing these women, (though this doesn’t come to pass). Cautionary tale: too much sex (for women) could = death.