Friday, June 29, 2018

Old Movies and the #MeToo Movement

Anyone who knows me understands the odd entertainment value I derive from crappy old movies. But I've been reconsidering that hobby. Recently, I watched a couple of old '80's teen comedies.
Bros being bros, yo! Fist bumps, beer bongs! Just joshing around! Ripping off unwilling females' clothing for yoks! Getting chicks drunk and taking advantage of them while they're passed out! Dude! Hilarity ensues!

The behavior on display from some of these cinematic so-called "heroes" is equivalent to rape.  Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

Back in the day, I thought Animal House was one of the funniest films ever made. (So much so, I even sent my parents to see it. WHAT was I thinking? Good God. But I digress...) There's a drunken date rape scene played for yoks.
Of course, the problem goes back even farther. Recently, my wife and I watched a '40's film, Mildred Pierce. The heroine acted like she had no say in the matter while suitors kissed, bossed, abused, and raped her (subtle in the '40's, but it's there). And she didn't have a say. With nowhere to go, no sense of self-worth, everything socially learned and reinforced, she was boxed in by men's sexist, antiquated rules.

Men were brought up on these movies, the lesson being: Hey, this behavior is admirable. And women had to put up with this awful behavior from men behaving badly, too, not much alternative in the way of female entertainment. A sad case of cinema trickling into--even forming--life.

Maybe I'm part of the problem.

In high school, I was unpopular. (I hear you all gasping.) I was SO unpopular I was unaware of the extent of sexual predators walking my high school halls. I had no female friends. The few male friends I had participated in the usual locker room boasting and shoulder punching and joshing and bragging about female conquests soon discarded. Even though inexperienced in the entire realm of sex, even dating, I just laughed along, wondered what it'd be like to be a "playah." I wanted to fit in.

Of course I never did. Fit in, that is. But I also didn't realize the only male behavior I witnessed was appalling. When you have no control group to base experiences on-- except for what you're told and learn all your short life--you pretty much accept what you know as the standard to live by.

When life lessons coming from your parents stretch to nonexistent or break down or are filled with half-truths, you turn to your friends. And when their behavior proves confusing, you gravitate toward movies for role models.

Entertainment's not the only offender, of course. These stone-age beliefs have been perpetuated through education, religion, and social standards since the beginning of time. By men, of course.

Despite the blatant messages hammered into us by ignorant beliefs of the past, I'd like to think there's some human decency inherent in all of us. Some inner censor that forms proper decisions--overuling popular entertainment, prejudices, stereotypes, beliefs, or a collective unconscious--and lets people, young and old and in power (and our current president's behavior certainly sends the wrong message) realize that sexual harassment, and especially, rape, is absolutely wrong. Honestly, there shouldn't be any doubt.

The offenders need to own, accept and pay. And, for the love of God, stop.

1 comment:

  1. Now that was a serious post, but yes, so true. And we wonder why guys do it even today.