It honestly makes me sad to even be writing this post. Mostly because who doesn't love 10 Things I Hate About You??
I know we all love this movie…
but just her me out
It's got everything we love. A young Joseph Gordon-Levitt. A young Julia Stiles. A young Heath Ledger. (rip)
The movie is endlessly full of quotable nuggets of joy.
Bianca: I know you can be underwhelmed, and you can be overwhelmed. But can you ever just be whelmed?
Chastity: I think you can in Europe.
And, what perhaps makes this the most sad - it always felt like an empowering movie. A win for young feminists, even.
Kat is a badass bitch, and that was incredibly exciting to see in a movie about high school.
Patrick: Hey there girlie, how ya doin?
Kat: Sweating like a pig actually, and yourself?
Patrick: Now there's a way to get a guy's attention.
Kat: My mission in life. But obviously I struck your fancy so you see it worked. The world makes sense again.
Or this gem ...
I guess in this society, being male and an asshole makes you worthy of our time.
I'll be using that one on the reg from now on.
It seemed like finally we were given an awesome lady for other awesome ladies to look up to. Because as much as we want to be able to be independent female thinkers on our own accord, it often takes seeing one in your favorite movie to feel like you can be.
(this is also how the perpetuation of rape culture in the media works, just sayin)
Which is why it is so sad to report that if you watch this movie today, you'll find one of the most blaring of rape culture perpetrators: the overprotective father.
Walter Stratford is the perfect example of this trope: the father who is so afraid of someone getting his daughters pregnant that he puts all the blame on them.
Oh Walter. We know you mean well. But truly, you are one of the main causes of why people struggle with the concept of slut shaming.
The father - daughter relationship is a complicated one, that often causes tension within this topic. It's difficult to truly define without it getting a bit ... awkward. And I think that's probably why people usually avoid the conversation altogether.
The issue is: dads know what men are capable of, and they don't want to see their daughters put through this kind of treatment.
They either know of men that are sleazy (maybe they're even friends with them or they at least don't always tell them off for being so or they've encouraged them!) or they themselves have acted in this manner in the past. (or present) And no one wants to imagine that someone could be this way towards their little girl.
Truly, it's just the way our culture works right now. We're all kind of sexist because our culture is historically sexist. Just like we're all kind of racist because our culture is historically racist. We just need to work on being better.
If you have doubts in what I'm saying, just think back to any time a dad in a movie or show has threatened a daughter's prospective date. It happens ... pretty often. Maybe even in your own home.
How often do mothers threaten prospective girls going on a date with their son? (the only way that it might happen would be a 'don't break my son's heart' situation but even this seems unlikely on a first meeting)
And this just goes back to what we already know: males are more likely to sexually take advantage of females.
It sucks, but it's true.
So, Walter won't let his daughters date because he's afraid they will get pregnant.
Oh c'mon Walt! Don't punish your daughters for being women.
Of course we don't want girls getting pregnant prematurely - but that's what birth control and smart sex is about! Teach that to your girls, and then you'll have smart, empowered young women.
Obviously we know he just wants what is best for them, and he means well. But this little issue reinforces that huge issue that we call rape culture.
First of all, this creates in us the idea that women need to be protected from scary dudes and their scary penises - which is actually a part of rape culture that is negative for men. (see it does exist! rape culture is bad for everyone!)
It also punishes females for having female bodies that do female things. When, with a son, it may feel more natural to encourage him to go out and have a sex positive view on things.
And eventually, it creates a trap that women often fall into. People tell me not to have sex because it would make me a slut or, worse, I could get pregnant. But also, people tell me that I should have sex because it will make me cool and desirable to more men, who I've ultimately been trained to need approval from.
And let me tell you, it's exhausting.
All of this is obviously a product of gender politics that have developed over a history. But, maybe, if we start showing women that they can have agency over their own bodies and the choices they make with them, it will one day become more natural for fathers to encourage daughters to be sex positive.
Because what he's worried about is, ultimately, something bad happening to his child. And that is a fair thing for a parent to fear.
But don't for a second believe that this would be the same interaction if he had sons. And we need to question why and what we can do to lessen the gap between the 2.
At least this father shows some growth by letting Kat go be a badass at Sarah Lawrence.
So we can at least imagine that she majored in gender politics and is now teaching the world how to be as cool as her.
I mean, just look at the things she says ...
Romantic? Hemingway? He was an abusive, alcoholic misogynist who squandered half of his life hanging around Picasso trying to nail his leftovers.
Bad. Ass. Bitch.
My film Perpeturaped. will be screened at the Artemis Women In Action Film festival on April 28th. It will also be available to be screened online through the festival. All information can be found here.
In honor, this month is perpetu-rape-tion reflection month. Read more on the blog or follow on Instagram @hermeout