What the hell, IFC, what the hell?

Okay, so IFC is making an Anita Blake adaptation. Apparently, they’re only going to make one movie, at least at first. For anyone who’s ever read the books and then googled it and found the million websites dedicated to casting every single character in the series, this is of course exciting news.

But here’s the thing (of course there’s a thing). According to Reuters,

IFC is targeting the movie to its core audience of men 18-34 and plans to air it next year.

Hang on. Please rewind. IFC is targeting MEN?????!!!!!

You have got to be shitting me! I’m not the longest reader of Laurell K. Hamilton‘s books, nor am I the most involved in the fandom. But from my experience like 98% of the fans and readers are women. I mean, I’m sure that there are men reading these books, but really, there are not many of them.

These books (especially the later ones) are like one Mary Sue’s masturbatory fantasies and while I can see that this would be appealing to (hetero) men, too, it’s really more exciting for (hetero) women.

Plus, it’s like it was written for women. Though that can’t be right. I mean, who would do that, write books for stupid women? [Even though romance novels, whose readership is famously female, are probably the only genre in this recession with actually growing sales, thank you very much.] Consequently, the movie can’t be made for women either.

Instead of the IFC saying “oh, great, we can maybe expand our audience, get a completely new group of people watching our movies and shows, which doesn’t mean that we lose the old one, so we take this material with a huge female fanbase and uhm, make the movie for this exact audience”, they say, “ah… screw this, we’ll make a movie for men. There isn’t enough of them around”.

It’s the same problem Erotica Cover Watch points out over and over again: Publishers and producers are so afraid of losing the male audience that they cater completely to their needs. Even if the things they’re marketing are specifically made for women and consumed mostly by women.

The only exception is the romance genre. But as soon as women turned to romance, the whole genre lost credibility (and subsequently also quality). I mean, think great, older literary works – a lot of them have plots that could very well go with Harlequin books. [It’s the same thing with the job as secretary. A hundred fifty years ago, being a secretary was a perfectly honourable and important job done by men. Then women started to become secretaries and suddenly, all secretaries ever do is file their nails, do their hair, chew gum and generally be unhelpful.] Nowadays, if you write a book that has even a remotely romantic plot (in the classic sense), it gets coloured pink and/or some man titty and it’s automatically crap. Which isn’t true. Not all romance novels are bad, formulaic and full of stereotypes. But because of the perceived inferiority of the whole genre, the quality standards these books have to live up to are set rather low.

And here we are, once more: Because the Anita Blake books aren’t pink and feature a strong heroine (we can debate another time whether the Anita Blake is also a feminist heroine), because the books (at least the early ones) focus on the mystery/crime plot and not on the romance, they can not possibly be made for a female audience. And neither can the adaptation. I mean, Anita Blake doesn’t go shopping.

9 thoughts on “What the hell, IFC, what the hell?

  1. Well, there ARE a whole bunch of movies that are essentially “for men”, meaning movies that men like to watch irrespective of whether women watch them,too, with a whole lot of action and so on, which have ass-kicking female characters. You can debate both strong and feminine later. :) But yeah, it would be pretty stupid to make a male-targeted Anita Blake movie… I can certainly get how it’s essentially targeted towards women, even though I’ve only read the first 3, where the masturbatory fantasies aren’t quite so prominent..

    • I see this differently. Action films are made for men, and (with the exception of Ripley and Sarah Connor) the women are either victims, or eye-candy, or the lone affirmative-action character. The only 3-dimensional thing about them are their curves. And women watch those, too, because a) it’s not like there’s much else to watch, and b) because women are socialised to identify with male characters, anyway.

      Mainstream films geared towards women come in 2 shapes: The glossy, braindead rom-coms during dump-season in spring, and the occasional big blockbuster “experiment”. And when I say experiment, I mean “adaptation of an established franchise with a huge and loyal global fanbase”. I mean, before the release of “Sex and the City”, (male) critics wondered who was going to watch it (because those elusive beings called “women” didn’t even occur to them). And when “Mamma Mia!” earned more money than “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight”, it was almost universally labelled as a fluke.
      /rant (while I can still stop ^^)

      Gearing Anita Blake towards men…it’s the same theory yet again…if you target the male 18-35 audience (they have quadrants for this, it’s all very scientific *cough*) you won’t loose too much of the female audience because of it. It’s established wisdom. That they could gain at least as large an audience (and a loyal one, in case they’re planning on cashing in on this) by targetting women and risking loosing a few of those all-important men along the way probably hasn’t occurred to anybody.

      And the result will probably be even worse than the comic.

    • @ramblingperfectionist:
      The thing is that the default setting for a movie is that it’s made for men – and if it’s for women, it has to be pointed out especially. (And then they’re usually one of the two varieties deadra pointed out.) Do women watch them anyway? Sure, because what the hell else are you supposed to watch? Do men care? No, because they’re getting everything they need anyway.

      The first three books are absolutely harmless… If you make it to book 8 it starts to really get down and dirty. ;)

  2. Pingback: Another 35 Questions – Meme Monday « Stuff

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