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Gender Watch: Is Social Network A Sausage Fest or Sexist? Franco in Drag, Manly Names

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood October 6, 2010 at 4:19AM

- If The Social Network wasn't scoring at the box office and with critics would women writers keep piling on this ongoing debate? Women And Hollywood's Melissa Silverstein argues that controversy surrounding the film's lack of female characters proves "in no uncertain terms that you can’t get away with this even if the movie is good and even if it may be an Oscar front runner." She's referring to what PopWatch's Jennifer Armstrong defines as "downright appalling depiction of women," which "is horrendous, like, ’50s-level sexist - if this were fiction, the snubs would be inexcusable," serving as "strong evidence that we still need feminism." The Daily Beast's Rebecca Davis O'Brien believes the film's females are props, not characters.
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Thompson on Hollywood


- If The Social Network wasn't scoring at the box office and with critics would women writers keep piling on this ongoing debate? Women And Hollywood's Melissa Silverstein argues that controversy surrounding the film's lack of female characters proves "in no uncertain terms that you can’t get away with this even if the movie is good and even if it may be an Oscar front runner." She's referring to what PopWatch's Jennifer Armstrong defines as "downright appalling depiction of women," which "is horrendous, like, ’50s-level sexist - if this were fiction, the snubs would be inexcusable," serving as "strong evidence that we still need feminism." The Daily Beast's Rebecca Davis O'Brien believes the film's females are props, not characters.

IFC's Alison Willmore agrees that a "problem with women" exists here, but it belongs to the characters, not the film itself (and FlickGrrl Carrie Rickey agrees): "Are women underrepresented in the film? Sure. It's a story about guys! Desperate, socially inept guys. It's a cinematic sausage fest." Willmore suggests: "We don't see women around much in general in the film because our main characters have no idea how to meet or pursue or talk to them."

Is this really the film we should be attacking for its portrayal of women? I'd rather see women be under-represented or portrayed as enigmas who 20-year-old boys can't understand (in a film about boys) than see yet another ditz in a bikini getting mutilated by a 3-D fish or chainsaw.

- Proving he is comfortable with his sexuality (as was Allen Ginsberg, whom he plays in Howl), James Franco has found another hobby: dressing in drag. He teamed with photographer Terry Richardson for a cover shoot for transvestite magazine Candy, which is a limited production (1,000 copies) on its second issue. Not surprisingly, he does this quite well, too.

Thompson on Hollywood

- Esquire laments the disappearance of manly names - where are all the manly men? - you know, names like Walter, which can't be mistaken, "in the age of Aiden and Jayden," for a woman's name. Esquire spoke with some "gentlemen with birth certificates of all kinds" to assess their feelings.

Walter:

"I am the third Walter in my family, and for that I am proud. But…I'd like my kids to have a more modern name."


Robin:


"If it was good enough for Robin Hood, why shouldn't it be good enough for me?"


Leroy:

"I love my name — I think it's awesome"


Leslie:

"Stop calling me Shirley!"


This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Headliners, Hollywood, Web/Tech, Stuck In Love, Daily Read, Media, David Fincher, Drama, Biopics, Critics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.