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Can the Sexist Justifications for Dismissing Little Women Get Any More Obvious?

Little Women v Joker: Justice for the March Sisters.

Florence Pugh in Little Women

(image: Columbia Pictures)

Little Women is a constant in our pop culture for a reason. For many, men and women alike, it is a source of empowerment, and we find ourselves embodied in the March sisters and Laurie in a way that no other property does. So now, with Greta Gerwig’s take on the iconic novel by Louisa May Alcott, it’s very clear that a new generation of men and women can look to Little Women and find ways of expressing themselves.

Whether you’re an Amy (like me) or you’re just Laurie and you want to be a March sister, there’s a reason we have multiple versions of this story and they’re all different. Greta Gerwig’s is original in the sense that she changed the approach to Amy March and how she is perceived, something I greatly appreciated as an Amy myself. So, color me furious to see Little Women labeled as “unoriginal” on a list that also praises Joker for its originality. Yes, take in that sweet sweet irony.

While everyone is entitled to their opinions, there are some things that are not up for debate—for instance, the Joker being more of an “original” idea than Little Women:

Joker is, at its core, a movie that pays mashup-like homage to films like Taxi Driver or the work of Martin Scorsese while using the Batman villain who has, probably, the most screentime out of all the foes he’s faced in movies over the years. In fact, this exact kind of take on the Joker has been done (and done recently) with Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight.

It feels strangely dismissive of a story that many, especially women, have looked to and related to, while lauding another tale of an angry white man whose story has been told in several variations already. It’s 2020 and these oddly sexist arguments are not even questioned, and I think that’s extremely problematic. You can like Joker and you can like Little Women and disagree over which is better, but you should be able to look at both and realize that saying Joker is original while Little Women is not is truly baffling and just shows your own prejudices.

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Rachel is an I, Tonya stan who used to have a poster of Frank Sinatra on her wall as a kid. She loves superheroes, weird musicals, and wants Robert Downey Jr. to release a new album. She is Leslie Knope and she's okay with that. At least she gets to live in New York City though!