'Easy A' Made Me Feel Like a Prude

Kim Conte

easy aI thoroughly enjoyed Easy A this weekend: It's like Clueless meets Juno-with-less-caffeine starring down-to-earth, charming young actor (Emma Stone as Olive) and a stellar supporting cast of characters. Unless you take issue with a fast-moving plot, a witty script, and a shirtless Penn Badgley, there's not much to complain about here.

And, yet, I found the entire premise sort of morally reprehensible. Please tell me I'm not turning into one of the prudish, judgemental freaks the movie pokes fun at ...

*Warning: Spoilers below.

As you can tell from the previews, Easy A is a teenage comedy (very, very) loosely based on The Scarlett Letter (which, incidentally, the characters are reading in high school). Olive is a high school virgin who pretends to sleep with her friend to boost his social status and instantly becomes the school slut. She ends up similarly whoring out her reputation to other misfit boys at school and as their reputations skyrocket, hers takes a serious hit. (Isn't that always the case?) Initially, she says she doesn't care what people say about her. But near the end she's alone in tears in the parking lot looking to shed her shame.

My problem with the movie is that while it comes close to making a strong statement about sex being a personal choice, it falls short simply because of the fact that Olive isn't having any. At the end, she chides her classmates for believing her lies and treating her like an outcast, but it's not entirely a "joke on them" because Olive was clearly upset by their ostracism. In effect, she's punished for something she never did in the first place, which would have been fine if she truly didn't care what they thought. But she did!

Moreover, I became uncomfortable with Olive repeatedly being pressured into "sleeping" with people out of pity -- first with her gay friend, later with an overweight, hairy boy, and so on and so forth. The reputations of the "poor" boys at school are apparently much more valuable then her own.

On the one hand, the movie cops out by giving us an out: We don't have to judge Olive for her sexual pursuits -- like her peers in the movie -- because we know she doesn't  have any. And on the other, it goes way too far by showing a young girl clearly devastated by being slut-shamed.

And, the very fact that I was bothered at all tells me that perhaps I should only be watching Twilight for here on out (god help me).

Are you going to see Easy A?


Image via Sony Pictures

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