"People typically have more same-sex than cross-sex friendships" (Lenton & Webber, 2006). There are as many differences between male-male relationships and female-female relationships as there are with cross-sex relationships. Many of today's movies portray friendships of varying types. Friendships can be same-sex, such as in Without a Paddle which depicts male-male relationships, or in Mean Girls which depicts female-female relationships. Friendships can also be cross-sex such as in The Ugly Truth.
Me and My Bros
Without a Paddle is about a group of guys that lose a buddy from their group. The group meets up again at their friend's funeral, and go into a tree house they used to play in together while growing up. They find a box they had locked their "valuables" in. The guys find a map that their friend put in the box that shows where he calculated a hidden treasure to be at. The group decides to take the camping trip in honor of their buddy in search for the hidden treasure.
"While men express desire for close relationships with other men, they often avoid pursuing them." This could be because of emotional restraint, homophobia, and low status for close male friendships (Garfield, 2010.) This is shown in Without a Paddle when they are outside in their underwear and it starts raining and they are frozen. "Jerry: Tom man, get under here. You're gonna die of pneumonia. Dan: No, but we will die of hypothermia. Look, our only chance is to huddle together. We gotta huddle our bodies together for warmth. Jerry: I, for one, choose death. Tom: Interesting. One minute you mock my sweaty ball sack, and now you wanna cuddle with it. You know the whole cuddle up thing is the oldest trick in the book. I've used it. It's just for getting a girl naked. Jerry: Worked though, every time. [The guys start to huddle up together.] Tom: This never leaves the cave."
"Same-sex friendships are perceived as more intimate than cross-sex friendships during early adolescence because cross-sex friendships are not as developed as same-sex friendships. However, intimacy with members of the opposite sex increases as cross-sex friendships become more important during late adolescence" (Johnson, 2004). This is proven in Without a Paddle because the guys, while young were very close. However, as they grew up, they became more interested in their own lives. Jerry has a girlfriend, and is more intimate with her than with his male friends. Dan is a doctor and wants to be responsible instead of living in the moment like the rest of his friends want to do. In the end he develops an intimate relationship with one of the women they meet while they are in the forest. This shows the maturity of Jerry and Dan. Tom does not have any responsibilities, and only cares about his friend showing a lack of maturity.
Throughout this movie, when the men communicate they talk about their deceased friend, sing songs, and discuss plans to escape the problems they face while camping. Difficulties in their communication arise when plans are not thought out thoroughly or communicated clearly. Eventually they do succeed when they stumble across the hidden treasure.
Girl's Night Out
Mean Girl is about a girl, Cady, that moves from being homeschooled in Africa to an American high school. She meets the Plastics, which are the rich, popular girls. The Plastics include: Regina George, the queen bee of the group, aka the meanest of them, Gretchen Weiners, a pretty girl who's dad invented the Toaster Strudel, therefore she gets what she wants, and finally Karen Smith, "the dumbest girl you will ever meet". Cady also meets Janis Ian and Damien. Janis and Damien hate Regina because of a middle school conflict and convince Cady to befriend the Plastics and to secretly destroy Regina. Thus Cady becomes a Plastic
"â€¦ female characters are more likely to be portrayed [in teen movies] as socially aggressive as male characters" (Behm-Morawitz & Mastro, 2008). This is shown constantly in Mean Girls. These girls have a burn book in which they write about each of the girls in their grade. They write about other classmates sexual relationships or call them lesbians, among other things. Regina publishes this book and posts pages of it around school so all of the juniors will read it.
In female relationships, women attempt to maintain social intimacy (Johnson, 2004) This is shown in Mean Girls when Cady tries to make Gretchen think Regina does not like her anymore. She sends candy canes "from Regina" to herself and Karen, but not to Gretchen. When the girls do Cady's hair and makeup Regina pushes Gretchen out of the way, but when Regina gets mad and says "Nobody understands me!" Gretchen runs after her saying she understands her because she would rather stay in the group then be kicked out.
When the Plastics communicate they either gossip, discuss their negative characteristics, or backstab each other. Their problem in communicating is that they end up hurting each other and other girls causing the entire junior class to meet after school and discuss how they've hurt each other. Another error is Cady's word vomit. The filter between her brain and mouth sometimes stops working, which can cause a lot of pain. In the end they succeed because they decide to end their group because of all the hurt they caused for their entire class.
She's Not My Girlfriend!
The Ugly Truth is about a girl, Abby, who works for a news broadcasting company that hires a man, Mike, to host his program "The Ugly Truth" on their news where he talks about the ugly truth of relationships. They start out with a love-hate relationship where she hates him, but he loves to annoy her. He tells her he can make her dream guy, Colin, fall for her. He coaches her through the relationship until Colin falls in love with the girl Abby has been pretending to be. In the end, Mike realizes he has fallen for Abby, and confesses his love for her, after which they end up together.
In cross-sex friendships, the members have to define their relationships, control their sexual attraction, establish equality, and prevent other's interfering (Lenton &Webber, 2006). At the beginning of The Ugly Truth, Abby and Mike never want to be together sexually, they hate each other. They can talk together, but he always says something repulsive, so nothing can ever happen between them.
In The Ugly Truth, when Mike and Abby communicate they usually discuss work and relationships. The problem in their communication is that Mike falls for Abby after he helps her get in a relationship with the "perfect guy". In the end they succeed because Abby and Mike end up together after they discuss their relationship and realize they love each other. They are also successful when discussing work.
Relationships differ between males, females, and cross-sex. Males tend to want to have closer relationships, but do not because they fear coming across gay, emotional restraint, or the low status of male intimate relationships. Females are usually depicted as being more socially aggressive, although it is not always true. Cross-sex relationships are hard to maintain because of all of the possibilities of the friendship becoming more than just a friendship. Without a Paddle depicts typical male-male relationships, and shows the men fearing being seen as homosexual because they were cold and had to huddle up to stay warm. Mean Girls shows the social aggression between four popular girls and how they hurt everyone else in their class. The Ugly Truth shows a friendship between a guy and a girl that starts out with no serious sexual attraction, and the possibility of being friends. These movies conclude that male friendships are not very productive, female friendships contain lots of drama, and cross-sex relationships many times lead to sexual attraction.