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IsabellaLinton
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21 Apr 2024, 5:37 pm

I'm not sure if this belongs in Women's Discussion, PPR, or the Movies thread.

I'm wondering if people think the ending of Grease is sexist or non-feminist.

Background:

Olivia Newton-John (Sandra Dee or "Sandy") is a demure virgin.
She gets bullied by her friends because she doesn't fit in.
She's actually virgin-shamed.

At the end of the movie, she changes her style.
She appears much more sexy and flirts with John Travolta.
The implication is that she might start sleeping with him.

Some people think it's sexist that she "had to" change for others.
They kind of slut-shame her at the end.
They think Travolta or the other girls controlled her.

Some people argue it's OK because it was her choice.
They say she's allowed to have a sexual awakening, and change her image.
They say the bottom line is that she shouldn't be shamed either way.

It's a typical angel / whore paradox.




Thoughts?




https://youtu.be/SC6kC2eWOsw?si=iclrldy7k2O4xFEa







https://youtu.be/0_hYBHyKk34?si=Xqu4GZywp-vz8wXR


*Men's input is welcome.


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Fnord
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21 Apr 2024, 8:15 pm

Izz jus one o them librul leftie commie attemts at makin all us Murricans into woke bisexyals.

:wink: Not really, it's just a movie set in a re-imagined and idealized era of American history, backed up with a lot of good music.


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TwilightPrincess
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21 Apr 2024, 8:22 pm

I have always LOVED musicals, but this is one musical I never liked although I wanted to like it and tried to like it. I don’t like the plot, actors/acting, characters, or even all of the music.

I feel like it’s rather sexist, but it came out in 1978, so it’s probably not fair to judge it with a modern lens…

I might’ve liked it more if Olivia Newton John’s character didn’t change so drastically at the end. Apart from valid feminist concerns, it wasn’t natural or believable. Musicals aren’t really meant to be believable, but I find a character change that extreme a bit unsatisfying because it takes me out of the story. It’s jarring. I’m not sure how else to describe it. Of course, I’ve not watched it all the way through in a long time, so my memory of it could be off too.

Obviously, it was a huge hit and many people love it which is cool. However, in my opinion, the angel/whore thing is cringey.


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Fnord
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21 Apr 2024, 8:29 pm

^At least it revealed John Revolta for what he really is: A self-serving horn-dog for whom appearance matters more than substance.


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TwilightPrincess
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21 Apr 2024, 8:37 pm

Fnord wrote:
^At least it revealed John Revolta for what he really is: A self-serving horn-dog for whom appearance matters more than substance.

YES!! :heart:

Don’t even get me started on John Travolta. It’s weird to me that he was so popular because he wasn’t even a very good actor. I didn’t get invested in their love story because I didn’t like him. I kept on hoping someone better would come along. :lol:


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IsabellaLinton
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21 Apr 2024, 8:38 pm

I was ten when it came out. I saw it at the drive-in for a birthday party with a carload of girls.

I didn't know what a virgin was and didn't know how to ask.
I could tell it had to do with "goody two-shoes" vs. "not", but didn't even know what sex was.

I liked the catchy last song.
I liked that she seemed popular and happy.
She was always crying or looking lonely before then.

Now I'm not sure what to think.

It's kind of like the end of Breakfast Club where Alison gets made over for a boy.
By the time I saw that I thought it was cringe.

Then again, maybe both girls wanted to change.
But then, why?

- Loops -


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IsabellaLinton
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21 Apr 2024, 8:42 pm

TwilightPrincess wrote:
Don’t even get me started on John Travolta. It’s weird to me that he was so popular because he wasn’t even a very good actor. I didn’t get invested in their love story because I didn’t like him. I kept on hoping someone better would come along. :lol:




Yeah, I've never liked him either.
It's especially bad that my daughter's abusive bf of five years reminded me of him in Pulp Fiction.
He thought he was such hot shite.


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blitzkrieg
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21 Apr 2024, 10:21 pm

I watched Grease in music class when I was 13 years old, on one of those portable televisions on a trolley, that they had back in the day.

The whole class loved it.



ASPartOfMe
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22 Apr 2024, 2:27 pm

Before she died Olivia weighed in
Olivia Newton-John defends 'Grease' against 'silly' criticism after it's called 'sexist'

Quote:
During an appearance on "A Life of Greatness" podcast Monday, the 72-year-old Australian actress shot down renewed criticism of the 1978 musical as "silly."

"Grease" is back in the spotlight nearly 43 years later after some social media users called out the pop culture mainstay's "problematic" themes, labeling it misogynistic," "sexist," "rapey" and saying the high school musical displays "racism." The conversation was sparked on Twitter after the film was re-aired on BBC in the United Kingdom in December, according to the UK Express.

"Not only is Grease sexist (and rapey), it's also a terrible terrible film. I said what I said," one Twitter user said. Another tweeted: "Ahhh man. Just watching #Grease one of my favourite films and it’s so of its time. Misogynistic, sexist and a bit rapey."

Another Twitter user pointed out the film's lack of diversity: "Grease was my favourite musical growing up. Still good but now I know how good it would’ve been if you know: not for racism.

On Monday, Newton-John – who played good-girl Aussie Sandy Olsson, alongside John Travolta's bad-boy greaser Danny Zuko at Rydell High – said the "fun movie musical" isn't meant "to be taken so seriously."

"I think in this particular instance, it's kind of silly because the movie was made in the '70s about the '50s," Newton-John said, pointing out gender roles were much different back then compared to today's current standards.

"It was a stage play, it's a musical, it's fun," she said. "I think everyone's taking everything so seriously. I think we need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are. And I didn't see it like that at all, I think it's just a fun movie that entertains people. That's all."

People have a right to interpret entertainment however they please.

I agree with Olivia. It was a fantasy and people fantasize about things they would never do in real life.

While there are things in the movie that would not be allowed today compared to other movies from that time like Animal House and Porky’s the sexism is very mild.


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TwilightPrincess
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22 Apr 2024, 2:46 pm

There’s some pretty gross stuff in this scene including a guy looking up a girl’s skirt and the song lyric “Did she put up a fight?” because rapey behavior is SUPER funny. :roll:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj-78jmpUHg

The acting is almost just as offensive, but this thread isn’t about that.


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blitzkrieg
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22 Apr 2024, 2:57 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Before she died Olivia weighed in
Olivia Newton-John defends 'Grease' against 'silly' criticism after it's called 'sexist'
Quote:
During an appearance on "A Life of Greatness" podcast Monday, the 72-year-old Australian actress shot down renewed criticism of the 1978 musical as "silly."

"Grease" is back in the spotlight nearly 43 years later after some social media users called out the pop culture mainstay's "problematic" themes, labeling it misogynistic," "sexist," "rapey" and saying the high school musical displays "racism." The conversation was sparked on Twitter after the film was re-aired on BBC in the United Kingdom in December, according to the UK Express.

"Not only is Grease sexist (and rapey), it's also a terrible terrible film. I said what I said," one Twitter user said. Another tweeted: "Ahhh man. Just watching #Grease one of my favourite films and it’s so of its time. Misogynistic, sexist and a bit rapey."

Another Twitter user pointed out the film's lack of diversity: "Grease was my favourite musical growing up. Still good but now I know how good it would’ve been if you know: not for racism.

On Monday, Newton-John – who played good-girl Aussie Sandy Olsson, alongside John Travolta's bad-boy greaser Danny Zuko at Rydell High – said the "fun movie musical" isn't meant "to be taken so seriously."

"I think in this particular instance, it's kind of silly because the movie was made in the '70s about the '50s," Newton-John said, pointing out gender roles were much different back then compared to today's current standards.

"It was a stage play, it's a musical, it's fun," she said. "I think everyone's taking everything so seriously. I think we need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are. And I didn't see it like that at all, I think it's just a fun movie that entertains people. That's all."

People have a right to interpret entertainment however they please.

I agree with Olivia. It was a fantasy and people fantasize about things they would never do in real life.

While there are things in the movie that would not be allowed today compared to other movies from that time like Animal House and Porky’s the sexism is very mild.


I agree with what Olivia said.

Looking through a cultural lens of the 2020's back at a movie from the seventies, which was meant to be about the fifties and judging it by today's standards, is idiotic.

Sadly, we have a lot of feather brained people who don't really seem to understand context.



TwilightPrincess
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22 Apr 2024, 3:11 pm

Just because people don’t enjoy some stuff from the past doesn’t mean that they don’t understand context. Some would just prefer to avoid this brand of toxicity as entertainment, especially since there’s no shortage of good movies out there. Many older movies have aged much better.

Parts of Grease can be triggering to those who’ve experienced abuse because sexism, including harassment and worse, is presented in a very cavalier fashion. Personally speaking, the clip I posted makes me a bit uncomfortable and mildly triggered. Everyone is different though.

It likely bothered people in the past. They were probably just less-inclined to speak out about it.


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bee33
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22 Apr 2024, 4:01 pm

I think the last time I saw this movie was when in came out in 1978 and I was 14. I'm sure I didn't completely understand it but I remember thinking it was bad that the main character decided to emulate the Pink Ladies (I think that's what they were called) because they were so awful and unpleasant (mean and also gross), and I think I knew she did it to appeal to a guy, which was also gross and weird. I definitely didn't want her to do that. That's the perspective of a 14 year old in 1978, so I don't think the movie was all fine and all good even at the time.



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22 Apr 2024, 7:19 pm

There's a film called 'Teen Beach Movie' (2013) which pulls inspiration from 'Grease', and other musicals that take place in the 1950's and 1960's, as a form of social commentary.

Two teenagers from the 2010's find themselves transported into the world of an 1960's musical. In order to escape, they have to let the events of the film they're trapped in take place whilst also trying to find their way back to reality. Otherwise the universe will collapse in on itself.

Anyway, I bring all this up because there's a song called 'Like Me'. The boys are getting ready and talking about what girls like. Meanwhile, the girls are talking about what boys like. The main characters question these ideas but they also know that they can't rock the boat too much because the film needs to go as planned.

Quote:
Hang with the guys
Don't let her know how much you care.
Look in her eyes, and tell her even if you're scared.
You got it wrong.
No! I got it right.


Quote:
A quick glance, bat your eyes and look away.
Take a chance, why not ask him on a date?


I figured it was somewhat relevant to this thread.


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ASPartOfMe
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23 Apr 2024, 10:17 am

Parts of many films from the past will shock and worse young viewers who do not have the context and watch a film from the past because they have been told it’s iconic or they are clicking around on their device and the movie seems interesting.

Understanding context of past times is not a problem in this thread. I can only advise anytime you watch an older film there is a risk of seeing something that is offensive by todays standards. There are certain genres that present a higher risk. “Exploitation” is an obvious one. “Teen films”, “comedies” and especially “teen comedies” from the late ‘70s through 80s and around the turn of the century presents an especially high risk.

“Aged not well” can work both ways. The common understanding of the phrase is it looks bad to our more enlightened selves. Plenty of dated films make today look bad. If you avoid old films you run the risk of missing that and material that is quality in any age.


A common phrase is “that cannot be made today”. But usually there is no issue viewing films or listening to songs that have not aged well. “Grease” is seemingly always on one channel or another.


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TwilightPrincess
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23 Apr 2024, 10:29 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
“Aged not well” can work both ways. The common understanding of the phrase is it looks bad to our more enlightened selves. Plenty of dated films make today look bad. If you avoid old films you run the risk of missing that and material that is quality in any age.

If people thought that making light of sexual harassment and worse was okay then, it would seem that society has progressed in a positive direction in this respect although, as this thread has demonstrated, not everyone was comfortable with the movie when it came out.

I certainly don’t avoid old films. They have been a special interest of mine since I was a teenager. I especially like movies from the 30s through the 60s. Silent films are cool too. Admittedly, I tend not to care for movies from the 70s and 80s quite as much, but there are many exceptions.

I just avoid movies that I find especially distasteful or triggering which is okay. There are many older movies out there that are not nearly so problematic, so it’s not like people are unreasonably limiting themselves when they choose not to watch certain movies. In my experience, the number of options is a bit overwhelming as it is.


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