UK news show ‘Good Morning Britain’ is facing an exasperated backlash online for tackling the ever-important issue of whether the 1978 musical ‘Grease’ was sexist, as the female protagonist transformed herself to appeal to a man.
GMB’s panel on Wednesday pondered the issue with Independent journalist Olivia Petter, who clashed with actress Didi Conn – Frenchy in the romp.
The beloved film ends with female protagonist Sandy turning from a ‘square’ into a femme fatale-like figure, seemingly to fit in with her rowdy greaser boyfriend Danny.
“The only reason why she does that big transformation … is to please a man,” Petter argued, adding, “That’s the problem with the film … because that is celebrated.”
Conn, on the other hand, put forward that Sandy was “allowing herself to come through, and it’s not so much to get her man, it’s to be who she is 100 percent.”
The actress argued that the heroine had a “part of herself that wanted to come out,” and her transformation was an act of self-actualization, rather than conformity.
Is Grease sexist?Olivia Newton-John has brushed off claims that the film is sexist in the wake of the Me Too movement.Didi Conn who played Frenchie in the film says Sandy’s makeover was more to do with who she was becoming and ‘not so much to do with getting her man.’ pic.twitter.com/OXB6F2M972
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) October 28, 2020
The balanced debate wasn’t enough to save GMB from a storm of social media backlash, as viewers were not impressed that the show was dabbling in the topic at all.
They accused the show of giving into a PC-moral panic, and “messing with a classic” for no good reason. “The world has just turned into a blizzard of political correctness,” tweeted one user befuddled by the show’s topic of choice.
No, Grease is not sexist, it’s a film. The world has just turned into a blizzard of political correctness. Is Scream offensive? I mean it encourages mask wearing a lot of people don’t like to wear masks 🤦🏼♀️ #GMB
— Heather (@heatherolivia88) October 28, 2020
Others said the sexism-seekers must have nothing better to worry about in the turbulent year of 2020 and should “get a life.” One pointed out that, if GMB wanted to tackle more substantial feminist issues, they could have covered the recent roll-back of abortion rights in Poland.
How can people think the film Grease is sexist!? #GMB Do people not think we have more things to worry about!? Seriously! 🙄🤔
— Gregg Watson 🏳️🌈❤🌹 (@greggwatson90) October 28, 2020
Turned @GMB on followed by quickly turning it off! The topic of convo is: “is the film grease sexist” and ppl are actually debating it! Get a life please! So many snowflakes in this world it’s actually embarrassing
— Nicola (@NicolaJ14) October 28, 2020
Some reminded the outrage-mongers of the plot of the movie, and that the male lead also changed during the course of the film.
No “Grease” is not sexist because at the end BOTH Danny and Sandy want to change for the other one.
— Rick Wright (@RickWrightNow) October 28, 2020
There were some who agreed with Petter, however, saying ‘Grease’ “hasn’t aged well,” and due to supposedly outdated perceptions was “problematic,” and full of “rampant misogyny.”
#Grease is a ‘classic’ yes but it hasn’t aged well and there are far more problematic elements than Sandy’s makeover such as lyrics – “Did she put up a fight?” (WTF 🤯🤦🏽♀️😡), slut shaming or Danny forcing himself on Sandy at the drive in. The makeover is the least of the problems
— Nisha (@NishaBhalla_x) October 28, 2020
Of course Grease is sexist. It was the 1970’s, a lot of things were back then. However, does it matter now and is anyone actually bothered? No.Just another classic GMB move of turning boomers against millennials and the whole ‘snowflake’ narrative
— em (@emiliciaa) October 28, 2020
Hmmm I disagree – with a 2020 lens, Grease is problematic in many, many ways. Just because it was ‘of its time’ doesn’t mean we ignore the rampant misogyny. https://t.co/e616cVILe5
— jodiemcvicar 🌹 (@jodiemcvicar) October 28, 2020
The GMB debate was sparked after actress Olivia Newton-John, who starred as Sandy, defended the film in an interview with the Guardian on Monday.
“There’s nothing deep in there about the #MeToo movement,” Newton-John said, adding: “It’s just a girl who loves a guy, and she thinks if she does that, he’ll like her. And he thinks if he does that, she’ll like him.” That sounds “pretty real,” the actress said. “People do that for each other. It was a fun love story.”
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