The critical consensus is that The Social Network is one of the best movies of 2010. According to a handful of voices, it's also one of the most sexist, populated by female characters who, in the words of The Daily Beast's Rebecca Davis O'Brien, exist only as "props, buxom extras literally bussed in to fill the roles of doting groupies, vengeful sluts, or dumpy, feminist killjoys...foils for the male characters, who in turn are cruel or indifferent to them."
Which, according to Social Network screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), was the whole point of the movie. Sorkin offered his defense-slash-mea-culpa for the film this weekend in the comments section of TV writer Ken Levine's blog. Was the film misogynistic? Yes. But it was deliberately misogynistic. Explains Sorkin, in response to a commenter who said the writer "failed the women in [his] script":
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.)
I wish I could go door to door and make this explanation/apology to any woman offended by the things you've pointed out but obviously that's unrealistic so I thought the least I could do was speak directly to you.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.