Sarah’s Team Pick: Beautiful Women Falling Down

The first time I heard of the Bechdel Test, it made me rethink every romantic comedy/movie with a female in it I had ever seen.

Nerve’s Beautiful Women Falling Down: A Short Film isn’t quite that life changing, but it’s still made me look a bit differently at the female comedy genre. It plays off this quote from The New Yorker:

“‘To make a woman adorable,’ one female sucessful screenwriter says, ‘you have to defeat her at the beginning… It’s as simple as making the girl cry, fifteen minutes into the movie.’ Relatability is based on vulnerability, which creates likeability. With male characters, smoking pot, getting drunk, and lying around watching porn is likeable; with females, the same conduct is hateful. So funny women must not only be gorgeous; they must fall down and then sob, knowing it’s all their fault.” — Tad Friend in The New Yorker, April 11, 2011

Gotta love those clichés.

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Sarah lives in Chicago with her partner and her big white Great Dane. She is a lawyer by day and a beer brewer/bread baker/knitter by night. She & her partner are currently learning how to grow their own food, and eventually they hope to move to a small farm outside the city. In 2009-2010, before jetting off to law school, Sarah was Autostraddle's Managing Editor.

Sarah has written 127 articles for us.


  1. Hah! The first woman I pictured when reading the above was Katherine Heigl. She is the epitome of sad crying woman falling down. That montage of falling was crazy. I didn’t realize how big of a cliche this is.

    When picturing a man falling down is it as funny? I don’t know think so. That makes me wonder.

  2. Apparently there is nothing more pride-destroying or power-disintegrating for a woman then falling on her arse. For men, it’s just a natural day to day occurence that is entirely warranted, like diving to tackle antelopes and stuff. I dunno.

  3. This is depressingly true. Also, god do I hate that male announcer/narrator’s voice. Why is the same guy doing voice-overs for every trailer? Or are there just a bunch of guys with THAT SAME VOICE because it is LE TRAILER VOICE-OVER VOICE?

    • Guys with the same voice. They are selected at puberty, when their voice starts to crack, and sent off to a special voice-over school.

      It goes something like this:
      “Hi Jenny, I was wondering if you- THIS SUMMER- you would like to maybe – LEARN TO LIVE LIFE TO LET GO OF YOUR FEARS- and maybe got to prom with me? I know -YOU HAVE EVERYTHING; A FUTURE, A HOUSE, FRIENDS. BUT YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU’D FIND LOVE. UNTIL NOW.”
      “Todd, I want to go with you, but I’m completely capable of walking in heels, and worry that I won’t be able to fall down in front of you in a charmingly clumsy way on prom night.”

  4. Wow I never ralised how cliche it is, but I still laughed at them falling down that is a weakness of mine I crack up when people fall down and I always remember them in the worst moments like prayer in church and suddenly I remember a kid tripping up the step in HS and I lose my shit.

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