I think it’s safe to say at this point that David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network has been a resounding critical success (the film is currently sitting at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes), and who knows, it may even get some recognition come Oscar time. However, there is at least one glaring issue that some viewers and critics have had problems with, and that is the portrayal of women in the film. It is a movie where all of the main characters are men, and many of them are borderline misogynistic, treating women as nothing more than objects. The few female characters presented in the film are either shallow groupies or psychotic bitches (or both). But is it wrong to write characters like this if it represents the reality of the situation?
Aaron Sorkin recently left a comment on TV writer Ken Levine’s blog, responding to some of these accusations:
“I was writing about a very angry and deeply misogynistic group of people. These aren’t the cuddly nerds we made movies about in the 80’s. They’re very angry that the cheerleader still wants to go out with the quarterback instead of the men (boys) who are running the universe right now. The women they surround themselves with aren’t women who challenge them (and frankly, no woman who could challenge them would be interested in being anywhere near them.)”
He goes on to explain that he used Mark Zuckerberg’s blog posts verbatim and that Facebook really was “born during a night of incredible misogyny.” Also, the attitudes of many of the members of these final clubs is not something Sorkin dreamed up, and Rooney Mara’s character Erica is not a pushover. I think he brings up many valid points. Personally I think that the movie does a good job of opening the doors for discussion about issues like this, and it certainly doesn’t paint Zuckerberg as a hero either. What do you think? Did the portrayal of women in The Social Network bother you? Should the movie have had more strong female characters? What is the responsibility of a writer when it comes to adapting a true story? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.