Something is Rotten
In 2017, America finally began to open its eyes to its problem of sexual harassment towards women and children. The catalyst for this shift in how we deal with sexual assault and harassment has been the ongoing purge of men in Hollywood that have been accused of assault, harassment, and/or rape. This has brought to light a larger discussion of harassment in the workplace, not just in Hollywood. To further this global discussion, a team of people created a website called Rotten Apples. The website has an enormous database that tells you if any movie or TV show has any affiliation with someone who has been accused of any kind of sexual misconduct. Frankly, some of the results are absolutely eye-opening. Almost every single Pixar movie, movies made for the consumption of children, are deemed “Rotten” due to the recent allegations against John Lasseter, an executive producer at Pixar.
Though my voice is small in this worldwide discussion, I believe that Rotten Apples can be further improved if it could also show if a movie or TV show passes the Bechdel Test, and if it perpetuates and helps to solidify ideals of rape culture in other ways. The Bechdel Test, which is passed when at least two women talk to each other about something other than a man, and when a woman breaks the stereotype that women only do anything for or because of a man. This stereotype also perpetuates rape culture in that a woman is always “asking for it” because everything women do is to attract the attention of a man, right? This idea has been embedded in our heads through media and other forms since our first exposures to the media. If a movie passes the Bechdel test, it defies the patriarchal misconception that everything revolves around men. But there are other things the Bechdel test does not include that still perpetuate rape culture. For example, those rom-com tropes where the guy just keeps following the girl around or guilts her into going out with him? That’s not okay. When a guy just goes in to kiss a girl he just met or who doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, that’s not okay either. Movies have taught so many people that these actions are appropriate due to what we consume from a young age. We should know more about the media we consume, and we’ve gone in the right direction with the features of Rotten Apples, but we should also be aware of what the media is subliminally teaching us and our children.