Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I saw it.

The Social Network
was no Superbad, but Stephen Colbert was correct. Almost every girl and woman in the movie was unnecessarily objectified for the purpose of satisfying some fantasy, fantasies that stemmed from both the male characters in the movie and from the male creators of the movie. Even the characters played by Rooney Mara and Rashida Jones existed in the story on some level because the Mark Zuckerberg character was sexually attracted to them. Two of the last scenes in the movie involved Mark asking Rashida's character out to dinner, followed by Mark obsessing over the Facebook page of Rooney's character.

Both the presentation of and the critical acclaim for The Social Network depress me. It's a perfect storm of straight white male privilege packaged by a writer and a director who were both trying a little too hard. The movie's current 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes doesn't surprise me, considering that most film reviewers are nerdy white guys whose nerdy wet dreams were fulfilled by seeing their self-projections on screen, as portrayed by the likes of Andrew Garfield and panty-chasing Justin Timberlake (?!). (Jesse Eisenberg is talented, but the real Mark Zuckerberg did get cheated aesthetically on the casting.) There are no movies this year or last year or scheduled for next year that would either be a female equivalent of The Social Network, that have a solid female cast, or that even pass the Bechdel test. This exclusive, incestuous system takes a property from the male-dominated field of nonfiction--a story about the male-dominated field of technology--then has the story adapted through the male-dominated fields of screenwriting and directing; this system does not encourage or leave much room for women to succeed.

The scene that summed up the movie for was when Mark was handing out assignments to his friends so that he could to expand the website to additional schools throughout the country. When Brenda Song's character, who was eager to help, asked what she and her female friend could do, Mark simply replied, "Nothing."

With all that said, I advise you readers to go see The Social Network (tickets are still available!), and report back to me. I welcome your thoughts. Please leave comments! :)

Edit 10/13/2010:

1. In the words of Joan from the episode of Mad Men, "The Summer Man", "No matter how powerful we get around here, they can just draw another cartoon." In this case, no matter how hard you have worked to get into Harvard or Stanford, they can just make another movie, portraying you and all of your female colleagues as useless, drunken, coked-up whores. You would think that attending an Ivy League university would spare you as a woman from getting painted with the skank brush on the silver screen, but no. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a Sorkin/Fincher movie coming out next year about the girls gone wild in the House of Representatives.

2. I didn't fully address Brenda Song's character, but someone else did:

Brenda Song’s Crazed, Hypersexualized Asian Female Stereotype in The Social Network, (Updated), by Jenn, Racialicious.

3. Joseph Mazzello is still working. And he has a college degree? Good for him!


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