“The war between the sexes is over. We won the second women started doing pole dancing for exercise.” Jacob (Ryan Gosling)
A Pyrrhic victory if ever there was one.
I saw this movie today. My wife and I went out for dinner and a movie for our 6th anniversary. There are some genuinely funny moments, great dialogue, well-delivered lines, endearing characters, but on the whole we both left feeling a little queasy.
There was a lot that was upsetting about this movie, but nothing turned my stomach like the fact that a poor 17-year-old girl felt she had to take nude pictures of herself to capture an older man’s attention and that those pictures became, at the film’s resolution, a gift to a 13-year-old boy who was infatuated with her and had confessed to thinking about her during his, um, alone time.
Now, please don’t all shout “prude” at once. The fact that 13-year-old boys masturbate does not scandalize me. Nor does alluding to such situations in a film.
What really left me rattled was the fact that a 17-year-old girl had been taught to value herself so little as to think this was an appropriate gift. Let me clarify. One could make a very good film in which this exact situation plays out. The problem is that it was not presented as a tragedy, but as a perfectly healthy decision. It was celebrated.
It is disheartening to me that the same people who had the awareness to write the line quoted above could so callously write a story where a young girl turning herself into a sex object counts for a happy ending. Could they not see the truth in their own joke?
Brett Salkeld is a doctoral student in theology at Regis College in Toronto. He is a father of two (so far) and husband of one. He is the co-author of How Far Can We Go? A Catholic Guide to Sex and Dating.