Gender Roles And Sexuality In Steve Harvey's 'Think Like A Man'

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The 2012 romantic comedy Think Like a Man reads like a menist manifesto masquerading as a film for women. Throughout the course of the film there are many conversations about gender roles and sexuality in contemporary society, though these conversations are both crude and frankly outdated. The film itself is based on a book written by Steve Harvey titled Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. With the title alone we are given our first example of just how problematic the ideology of the film is. Writer Kayla Charleston elaborates on this in her paper Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Patriarch, stating: “note Harvey’s use of lady as opposed to woman. Invoking images of virtue and prim behavior characteristic of a lady, Harvey sustains the imperative …show more content…
The phrase reeks of hegemonic masculinity, implying that women must act a certain way to fit into the hierarchy of society. The film goes out of the way to point out things that aren’t ‘lady like’. While all of the women in the film are initially shown to be disqualified from being considered ladies, special attention should be paid to the characters Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) and Mya (Meagan Good). Lauren is titled “The woman who is her own man”, with the plot condemning her for being a successful business woman. On many instances she is told she can not be successful finding a man because she already is one, equating financial success and leadership to the role of a man, and delegating the women’s role towards one who needs both financial protection and leadership. Charleston analysis this trait in the film remarking: “ Harvey essentializes gender by asserting that men are not capable of or do not desire to demonstrate their love in manners traditionally associated with women. Protection and provision are how women should expect men to show their love, two components of a patriarchal value system” (Charleston 664-665). Charleston’s points are spot on with Laure unable to find ‘success’ dating until she literally hides her successful career and conforms to the roles placed upon on …show more content…
Much like how our lead women are disqualified of being ladies, the same is done to our men (though it is worth nothing most of the are disqualified from the start for being black). Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) and Michael (Terrence J) are retrospectively categorized as “The Non-committer” and “The Momma’s Boy”, both possessing qualities that are deemed unmanly and boyish. Jeremy is portrayed as a man child who has a huge obsession with things such as anime and video games. The film portrays his infatuations as signs of someone who has yet to grow up and contributing to his lack of wanting marriage. Even worse it is graphically said that a woman would never be interested in the same things, reinforcing gender roles. As for Michael, it is his love for his mother which is the problem. Much like Jeremy’s infatuations, Michael 's love for his mother qualifies him more as a child than a man and much like the women before them they must disregard who they and to conform the the limits Think Like a Man’s patriarchy puts on

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