If You Think the #MeToo Movement Is Gonna Kill Sexy Movies Then Your Idea of Sexy Needs a Revamp
In an article from The Hollywood Reporter an argument is made the upcoming Fifty Shades Freed film which will be plaguing our theaters on Feb. 9, will close the final chapter on the trilogy and “may prove to be the finale for studio-financed sex-fueled film.” The reason for this is…the#MeToo movement. Um, what?
“There may be a concern in this zero tolerance climate that creativity and creative opportunity could be restrained because individuals may become unwilling to put themselves in situations that could be misinterpreted or misconstrued in the creative process,” says Marc Simon, an entertainment attorney who produced After Innocence, about wrongful conviction, but also advocated for his clients like sexual-assault doc The Hunting Ground‘s Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering.
A24 was poised to begin production in February on a $5 million James Franco-produced stripper/prostitute travelogue titled Zola Tells All(complete with a 15-year-old Russian prostitute), but it is currently described by an A24 spokesperson as “in development.”
Lemme just start off by saying that I am playing the world’s smallest violin for the roll-back on James Franco’s teenage Russian prostitute movie. I am sure the world will be silently weeping about that. Secondly, after reading the article it seems like the movies that would be “affected” by it are films that would have already gained controversy because of their subject matter: Hugh Heffer biopic, A Star Is Born remake, this teenager prostitute Eat, Pray, Love Franco-flic, those are films that would have caused issues even without #MeToo. Not to mention there is a perfect counter-argument to this narrative already out: Call Me By Your Name.
Call Me By Your Name, which I loved and it made me cry, is a romantic/erotic love story about a 17-year-old teenager and an older man and it is doing fantastically well in terms of critical acclaim and audience reaction. While some have taken issue with the age difference and go back and forth about consent laws, people overall appreciate the complexity of the love story and recognize that there are ways to deal with the sexuality of teenagers that isn’t exploitative or fetishistic. Like a 15-year-old Russian prostitute.
Beyond just that, women love smut and this idea that having the #MeToo movement at the forefront means the end of having “sex-fueled films” completely misunderstands what the movement is trying to do. Being able to create a film like I Love You Daddy is definitely something that would be axed out and it was a hot, hot mess, but the Starz show Outlander is one of the most popular shows on television amongst women and it is a high-fantasy romance that is filled with sex and rape.
Female authors make up the vast majority of romance writers and they have already been having the conversation about rape in the genre for years. Just because this is new to Hollywood executives, doesn’t mean other industries haven’t spoken about it. Problematic relationships in book genres like Young Adult have not stopped those series from becoming popular (Twilight anyone) despite there being outspoken detractors. Romance novels estimated annual total sales value of romance in 2013 was $1.08 billion and it is consistently amongst the top of the list.
Fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Own are filled with deliciously smutty fanfiction of all kinds and most authors write down the levels of consent in the description so that readers are prepared for the content. As someone who loves to read nothing but smut all day when I dip my toe in those waters, I can tell you that the women who write erotic fanfiction have a great understanding of how to write great sex scenes.
Feminists are not trying to take away Fifty Shades of Grey from anyone, no one is trying to say that we now have to stray away from showing toxic sexual relationships in films or whitewash the sexual experience into something where consent mistakes never happen. Kink is fine. Enjoying dub-con smut is fine. Fiction smut fantasies are different than real life sexual assault.
#MeToo is about changing the culture around how women’s bodies and sexuality have been commodified to the point where their humanity is not treated as important by anyone. It is about ending sexual assault in the workplace. It is about making it easier for men and women to speak about the abuses they have suffered. It’s not about ending smut.
(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Universal )
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