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Working Towards a PhD in Hollywood Rom-Coms

As New York-based media studies student and feministing.com editor Chloe Angyal (pictured) readily admits, pouring over Hollywood romantic comedies for a doctoral dissertation “sure beats poking at a petri dish.” The 2009 Princeton grad is currently working towards this very unusual PhD through the Journalism and Media Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where she is originally from.

The trends Angyal is focused on include the well-noted move in recent years to expose more of the studio film genre’s male stars. Think Jason Segel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Justin Long, Ashton Kutcher, Ryan Reynolds, Justin Timberlake and several others. But what does this all mean?

They’re all white. They’re all lean and broad-shouldered. They’re all rather muscular. Some of them are toned and sculpted in accordance with superhero standards: Chris Evans was fresh off filming Captain America when he made What’s Your Number? and Reynolds made The Proposal right after he wrapped Wolverine. And, uh, it shows…

It may be too early to tell; after all, this is a relatively new trend. But if it continues, how might it shape women’s ideas about what regular men should look like?

Angyal goes on to detail why the full-frontal Segel shots in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, designed to be anything-but-arousing to the genre’s majority female viewership, are so radical. Read her complete Australian op-ed here.

[Photo courtesy: @ChloeAngyal]

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