In Episode #3 of the CE4K podcast, we discuss those incidents in the movies we all watched as children that, in most cases, we thought nothing of but now with 2019 goggles firmly attached, we marvel not only in our ignorance, but also in how things have changed.
We didn't go too deep into this particular aspect of the conversation but we did discuss the concept of sex in US movies from the 80s to early-00s, and the seemingly incredible ease in achieving it. That whole notion of sex as the continual goal for our heroic and horny teenagers genuinely served as the backbone for countless movies still regarded as classics.
While the American Pie franchise is held dearly to many as a classic coming-of-age story, and undoubtedly boasts some incredibly hilarious moments, it's one of the biggest offenders in our case here: American Pie (1999) sets the goal for four teenagers striving to lose their virginity on prom night which surprisingly/unsurprisingly, they all manage to do with varying levels of success; American Pie 2 (2001) inexplicably ends with Stifler engaging in a threesome and of course, across all movies, there are the continual trists between Paul Finch and "Stifler's Mom". Unfortunately, it's impossible to separate the notion of "boys just want to have fun" with these insurmountable expectations and a mortifying devaluing of women who just kinda went along with things mindlessly. And why wouldn't they - these weren't *their* stories.
Empire published a list of what they dubbed the best 80 movies from the 80s boasting classics including Ghostbusters, Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop and The Man With Two Brains. Other than starring roles for Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally and Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, the top 40 featured next to no women in a top-billing role.
Although it's certainly not indicative of whether a film poorly represents women or not, the Bechdel Test has always proved to be a fascinating jumping off point when assessing the role of women on screen. The test gauging whether two *named* women can be on screen having a discussion about something other than a man. Looking at this list of 80s movies and thinking back to 2017's release of Wonder Woman and the rapturous reception the film received, and the validation attached to its success, counteracting any outdated industry reservations about a woman's ability to carry a mainstream movie or franchise.
Unfortunately, these are observations within films 20, 30, 40 years ago that can be stretched to other areas where diversity has fallen short, like race, but is it unusual that we watched these movies and thought nothing of it at the time - didn't ask these questions and just accepted the perspectives and view points passed on to us?
The 4Ever team...
Welcome to 4ever in Electric Dreams which is the virtual HQ and home to our burgeoning podcast network spearheaded by our flagship series, Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind (C.E.N.K.).
Our podcasts are available on the following platforms: