They're charming, seductive, he's the man that every woman wants but she knows she shouldn'tâ€¦To women they're just like that piece of chocolate cake, she knows that she'll regret it later but she has it anywayâ€¦Yes, he's the one that makes 'Good Girls Go Bad' (Cobra Starship and Leighton Meester)â€¦ And as much as you try to make him into a rose, "Every Rose has its Thorn."
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He's Don Juan, Casanova, Bondâ€¦James Bond, Priapus in ancient Greek Mythologyâ€¦Teenage girls would recognise him as Chuck Bass and John Tuckerâ€¦He's Christiano Renaldoâ€¦He's a ladies man, a player, Lothario, he's a WOMANIZER. Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to the 2nd Annual 'Improve Your Writing Conference.' Today we will be looking at how to recognise the womanizer archetype through intertextuality.
The history of the womanizer is long with the dominant reading of the womanizer changing over time. So, what exactly is a womanizer?
The tale of the character Don Juan as been retold in literature over and over again, most famously in Lord Byron's epic poem, Don Juan. It's interesting to note however that our view of a womanizer has changed over time. In Byron's poem Don Juan was not the seducer rather he was seduced by women. Typically Don Juan has been represented as heartless however overtime modern adaptations of Don Juan's character have presented him as charming (Just think Johnny Depp) to fit with the dominant reading. Womanizers haven't always been charming in fact the Rake is thought to be an uncharming womanizerâ€¦Just look at the set of paintings by William Hogarth, 'A Rake's Progress' tells the story of a young cashed up man who leaves his pregnant fiancée in favour of a life full of money and womenâ€¦The rake of the story, Tom eventually causes his own downfall and was served his deserts when he was committed to Bethlehem Hospital, a well known mental asylum in London suffering from Syphilis.
The dominant reading of the womanizer is heavily influenced by modern films and television shows and in literature and poetry/music is commonly the view of the female author. They are smooth talkers and get what they want every timeâ€¦Just take a look at this clip of Chuck Bass, womanizer in teen series, Gossip Girl. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwzskOjbBx8HYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwzskOjbBx8&feature=related"&HYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwzskOjbBx8&feature=related"feature=related )
Whilst the womanizer seems ever present in TV shows and movies, they're just as popular in novels and poetry and songs and we can't get enough of them in the tabloids. 'Google It' and you'll find so many celebrities who are so called womanizersâ€¦You'd think that they all wore Brut, 'the essence of man.' An extract from the article, Notes on A Scoundrel, printed in 'The Age' newspaper, sums up the dominant reading of a womanizer, Don Juan or Cadâ€¦Whatever name you want to call it the archetype is still the same.
"There areâ€¦ three main characteristics of the cad: charm, confidence and cunning. If you combine all those things you have someone who's going to whisk a girl away for a fun weekend but not necessarily ever call her againâ€¦another attraction for the cad is the excitement of a 'rogue who sits outside society, who doesn't conform to its norms.'"
Without realising it we are able to recognise archetypes with little effort. It seems that one of our favourite archetypes in entertainment is the womanizer. In the movie 'Schindlers List' based on the book, 'Schindlers Ark' which tells the story of Oskar Schindler, he is quickly 'listed' as a smooth talking womanizer. As opposed to the true life story, the audience is left with the hope that womanizers can change their ways and he leaves his factory with wife Emilie.
Archetypes are so ingrained in our modern day entertainment that we can even recognise them in children's movies and children's storiesâ€¦Ahead of the release of 'Toy Story 3' Disney Pixar released a series of short advertisements called 'Ken's Dating Tips' staring non other than the toy worlds biggest womanizer. Here, take a look at the ad - (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4k3czOgQuMHYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4k3czOgQuM&feature=PlayList&p=2A1BAB02D78F4267&index=33"&HYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4k3czOgQuM&feature=PlayList&p=2A1BAB02D78F4267&index=33"feature=PlayListHYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4k3czOgQuM&feature=PlayList&p=2A1BAB02D78F4267&index=33"&HYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4k3czOgQuM&feature=PlayList&p=2A1BAB02D78F4267&index=33"p=2A1BAB02D78F4267HYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4k3czOgQuM&feature=PlayList&p=2A1BAB02D78F4267&index=33"&HYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4k3czOgQuM&feature=PlayList&p=2A1BAB02D78F4267&index=33"index=33
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkg2ptFFTD4HYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkg2ptFFTD4&feature=related"&HYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkg2ptFFTD4&feature=related"feature=related)
Once again, to fit with modern society's notion of a womanizer and in turn the dominant reading, he's charming, confident and leaves all the girls (or Barbie in this case) wanting more.
In today's society the womanizer archetype is becoming increasingly more common though music which presents a wide range of readingsâ€¦ 'Womanizer' perhaps the most 'famous' song actually presents an alternative view of the womanizerâ€¦The focus of the songâ€¦He's not charming rather the object or shall I say objects of his seduction see right through him, cause 'oh, you're a womanizer baby.'
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Now as I mentioned earlier, the majority of texts focusing on or featuring the womanizer archetype are written from the perspective of the female, for the female audience. I was quite amazed to come across a poem written by renowned motivational speaker, Paul F. Davisâ€¦His poem... "Womanizer, Tell Me Why?" As the poem is written from the male's perspective it is an alternative reading of the archetype and refers to the womanizer's actions as 'wrongdoing and evil sin.' In Carrie Underwood's song 'Cowboy Casanova' the Casanova's actions are once again sinful â€¦ Her cowboy is charming, and confident he's also 'the devil in disguise, a snake with blue eyes.' (Play song softly)
Sometimes however the womanizer archetype is harder for us to read pickâ€¦they're not necessary the man that everyone goes 'Gaga' for rather they're the man who has enough charm to change peoples opinions. In Harper Lee's novel, 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' Scout and Jem's father Atticus has the ability to be charming and confident and in the case of Mrs Dubose 'charm' people into changing their opinionsâ€¦ Historically the womanizer hasn't even been the one who seduced the women, rather just like Shakespeare's character Macbeth they have been seduced by the promises of the women, or the witches in Shakespeare's case.
Most of the time however the womanizer is character who always gets the woman he desires, the one who can't change his ways even when he falls in loveâ€¦One of the most popular sitcoms in recent times centres around the likeable character of Barney Stinson. Barney is a typical womanizer with a difference, he's in love with his friend Robyn, however he likes his womanizing ways too much to stop them for the girl that he loves. The same can be said for Chuck Bass, when he falls for Blair in Gossip Girl. For both of them it's not about the girl, rather the thrill of the chaseâ€¦Sometimes however they do have a redeeming feature, they can be honest. In the film, 'John Tucker' must die the stereotypical cad, the high school basketball captain, introduces his two girlfriends to one-another in his attempts to be honest. Unfortunately for poor John, honesty isn't always the best policy.
Whilst we normally think of womanizers as the one who gets the girl, sometimes the womanizer isn't necessary, Prince Charming. In the poplar films 'Shrek,' Charming, had already wasted all his charm on Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and his myriad of other Princes and didn't get the girlâ€¦Instead as you probably already know, 'Shrek' whose far from charming with a name literally means, fear or terror marries Princess Fiona. Most of the time however it's the womanizer who gets the girlâ€¦It was reported in an article about famous soccer player and FAMOUS womanizer Cristiano Renaldo that he had so much charm that he "picked" up the mother of his child with the line, 'Me, You, kiss.'
Even though the name has changed over timeâ€¦the archetype has remained the same. They're typically charming, confident and are coming to all good and bad book stores near you. Alternatively you can find the womanizer in your favourite gossip magazine or even on your favourite T.V show. Or if you still can't recognise the archetype, just look for your high school jock in American movies and you'll be right on the money.
Just remember, the womanizer always comes undone no matter how charming he isâ€¦Tiger Woods' reputation was sunk just like a hole in one and he wasn't the firstâ€¦In fact the tale of 'Poor Johnny' was told a long before the tale of Tiger Woodsâ€¦
'Have a seat and I'll tell you a tale
It wasn't that long ago..
About a guy who turned out to be a cheater got the heater
so the story goes:
To his friends he was king,
cause he thought of everything
except his number one.
She had the kids and the house,
while he was always out
leaving his homework undone.
Than one day his luck ran out.
when number two found a number and called his house.
Word on the street is that they talked all night
They had to teach him a lesson,
they had to make things right."
Yes, Poor Johnny was a 'snake with blue eyes, the devil in disguise.' Poor Johnny and most other womanizers despite the charm get their dessertsâ€¦they certainly get more than they bargained for but I bet when you pick up that book or watch that movie, you'll still fall for himâ€¦Hookâ€¦Lineâ€¦and sinker!
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