Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Easy A review

Easy A is a fun movie, with many liberal values on the surface, but it undermines its own message, IMHO. I had a great time watching it, and I would recommend it as a good starting point for conversations about teen-aged sex and morality. However, I assume that virtually all mainstream movies ultimately *support* the status quo, and "Easy A" is consistent with that belief.

Without many spoilers, the film appears to be pro-feminist, pro-gay, and pro-racial-harmony. Alas, the deeper message is to conform to conventional values--they explicitly say, "you can blend in, or you can choose to not care." Hard to "not care" when you're being beaten or oppressed every day.

Our heroine, supposedly a wiser-than-her-years young woman coming into her feminist power, making her own choices about her own sexuality, reacts with horror and disgust whenever her mother (the *sole* positive adult female role model) talks about sex. The implicit message is that "good girls do not talk about (or enjoy!) sex." (See one final comment under *spoilers* below)

I did laugh a lot during the film; there is witty banter and lip service paid to many liberal values. I would absolutely show it to a youth group, to talk about the issues raised. And I would point out how the film subtly *reinforces* the traditional values it seems to be questioning, as part of that conversation.

Further note: there is a *lot* of Christian-bashing. A conversation about that part of the film could reasonably note that the movie attacks a sort of shallow, hypocritical form of Christianity. Still, if I were having a deep conversation about the values in the film, I would want to raise this topic.

Well, it may not be much of a spoiler--there is a happy ending, of course. How it comes about is the strongest example of how the film actually supports the status quo.
Initially, our heroine rebels against the "madonna or whore" dichotomy forced onto young girls, but she finally redeems herself by ending her rebellion, telling the truth, and reclaiming her virginity and "good" reputation.


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