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There's been a lot of writing about The Social Network so far, focusing on everything from how true it is to Mark Zuckerberg's actual life story to this hilarious McSweeney's piece about just how many enemies you will have once you get to 500 million friends. But some of the most interesting conversation has revolved around the question of whether or not the movie is sexist, with writers both male and female looking at the movie's lack of significant female characters, plus several scenes featuring women stripping at college parties while men ogle from the sidelines, and wondering if Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher have put together an excellent film that's also a little bit sexist.
The debate rages on-- if you want a good summary of the sexism claims and why they might be overblown, Alison Willmore at IFC wrote a great piece about it-- but you know whose opinion might be the most interesting to read? Aaron Sorkin's. He finally chimed in on the comments section of Ken Levine's TV blog, of all places, responding to a commenter who pointed out that she loved The Social Network, but felt the female characters were "basically sex objects/stupid groupies." Sorkin made a pretty convincing argument for both why he changed some of the facts of Zuckerberg's life-- including that he has had a girlfriend for years-- and why the thinly drawn female characters of the film are a commentary on the main male characters, not an effort on his part to diminish women overall.
Here's a segment of his response; click here to read the whole thing. I'm still not certain his argument makes up for some of the movie's (slight) flaws in its attitude toward women--- Rashida Jones's lawyer character is a strong female, yes, but she's also a cipher charged with awkwardly saying the movie's theme out loud-- but knowing how deliberately Sorkin made some of these choices makes arguments that the movie is outright misogynistic seem even more flawed. Anyway, check out what he had to say and decide for yourself if this settles the debate once and for all.
This is Aaron Sorkin and I wanted to address Taraza's comment. (Ken, I'll get to you in and your very generous blog post in just a moment.