Why Do Good Girls Like Bad Boys?

     Since the beginning of time, women have been tempted and weakened by the opposite sex. Women are drawn to the men that their mothers tell them to watch out for. They know the minute they lay eyes on a person what that person is all about. It can be a simple glint of the eye, the crooked little smile that makes one wonder, or the way that person walks; women know. Although women can see the warning signs, they are still drawn to what are called bad boys as moths are to a flame. The famous love stories of all time portray how women are lured to men who are no good for them. The love-hate relationship of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, the love tragedy of Romeo and Juliet; and, of course, one cannot forget the American love story of all time between Scarlet and Rhett. Why do women fall for this type of men and cause themselves hurt and pain in the end? Simple, women, along with men, love a challenge and are nurturers.

     Hollywood conveys how women are roused by men that are a challenge to them. In William Wyler's 1939 cinematic adaptation of Wuthering Heights, written in 1847 by Emily Brontë, Isabella (Geraldine Fitzgerald) became infatuated with Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier), despite the warnings of Catherine (Merle Oberon). Heathcliff despised the family name, Linton that Isabella represented. Catherine, who knew Heathcliff well and considered herself as a part of him, tried to warn Isabella against any notions that Isabella had towards Heathcliff; but she ignored Catherine, believing Catherine to be jealous. In the end Isabella transformed from a gentle, optimistic young lady into a harsh-looking, pessimistic individual. Catherine had warned her this would happen; but Isabella, who was enticed by this handsome, dark, and evil man, thought she would change him for the best; but instead he changed her for the worst. In the book Isabella ran away from Heathcliff, but in the movie she stayed with him.

     In William Wyler's 1949 Hollywood adaptation of Henry James's 1880 Washington Square, The Heiress, Catherine (Olivia de Havilland) fell for Morris (Montgomery Clift), despite her father's protest. Her father (Ralph Richardson) knew what type of man Morris was and that he would be no good for his father. Catherine, who had been sheltered her whole life and not considered as physically appealing as other ladies, naively gave her heart to Morris. She became blinded by the notion that such a handsome man could fall in love with her. In the end she found out Morris was the fortune hunter that her father had described him to be; she played the fool once; and she was determined not to play the role twice.

     In My Fair Lady, George Cukor's 1964 Hollywood cinematic adaptation of Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe's 1956 musical play, based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 Pygmalion, Eliza (Audrey Hepburn) fell in love with Higgins (Rex Harrison) despite the fact that he had treated her as subordinate and without respect. In Shaw's play Eliza left Higgins never to return, but in the movie Eliza came back to Higgins on a fantasy that he would change his ways.

     Hollywood, through its classic and modern movies, portray women as knowing when a man is not good for them to be with; but something stops them from turning their backs on them. Maybe it is the same daring passion that men stimulate in women that prohibits them, or maybe it is the feeling that a woman can change a man's notorious ways. Whatever the case maybe, we as human beings will always been drawn to what is considered as taboo, and good girls will always like bad boys.

Whitney Hickman

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