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Aaron Sorkin comments on “sexism” in The Social Network

Among the very few criticisms that surround the highly rated film The Social Network are comments on how the film portrays women. /Film found Aaron Sorkin’s, the writer of the screenplay, response to one specific comment found in the comments section of a review of the film by Ken Levine.

The comment, posted by a user named Tarazza, said: “I also loved The Social Network, except for one thing– the lack of a decent portrayal of women. With the exception of 1 or 2 of them (Rashida Jones included), they were basically sex objects/stupid groupies. … kinda makes me think that Aaron Sorkin (though I love his writing) failed the women in this script.”

Sarkin’s wordy response follows:

“I didn’t invent the “F–k Truck”, it’s real–and the men (boys) at the final clubs think it’s what they deserve for being who they are. (It’s only fair to note that the women–bussed in from other schools for the “hot” parties, wait on line to get on that bus without anyone pointing guns at their heads.)

These women–whether it’s the girls who are happy to take their clothes off and dance for the boys or Eduardo’s psycho-girlfriend are real. I mean REALLY real. (In the case of Christy, Eduardo’s girlfriend so beautifully played by Brenda Song, I conflated two characters–again I hope you’ll trust me that doing that did nothing to alter our take on the events. Christy was the second of three characters whose name I changed.)

I invented two characters–one was Rashida Jones’s “Marylin”, the youngest lawyer on the team and a far cry from the other women we see in the movie. She’s plainly serious, competent and, when asked, has no problem speaking the truth as she sees it to Mark. The other was Gretchen, Eduardo’s lawyer (in reality there was a large team of litigators who all took turns deposing witnesses but I wanted us to become familiar with just one person–a woman, who, again, is nobody’s trophy).

And Rooney Mara’s Erica’s a class act.

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.”

I really enjoyed The Social Network and to be honest I left the movie thinking that those individual characters were slutty or dumb, not that the film portrayed women as such. I understand why Sorkin wouldn’t want to change the “reality” of the film, and though it may be sad, some girls do behave that way (more often than they themselves would admit). Also, I don’t know if I would even buy into a smart female-techi add in had they chose to go in that direction. One of the best aspects of the film is its representation of what life is like, and in real life, not only was facebook an all-male party, but the likelihood of Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg having a smart female friend to help him out seems extremely slim.