Among the few critiques of the otherwise vaunted The Social Network is that the film completely marginalizes the women of its story, presenting them solely as, to quote one Salon columnist, “gold-diggers, drunken floozies and that ‘bitch’ who got away.” Those accusations of misogyny have certainly not escaped the attention of writer Aaron Sorkin, who recently had even Stephen Colbert asking him why almost all the ladies in his movie were “high or drunk or blowing guys in the bathroom.” There, Sorkin answered that’s because they were “prizes, basically,” adding that it wasn’t an accurate characterization of the entire female population of Harvard, but rather particular to the females who are populating his story. Which, fair enough. When you’re presenting a revenge-of-the-nerd story about a guy driven by his desire to get even with his ex-girlfriend and score chicks, there’s bound to be some misogyny coloring your perspective.
But Sorkin didn’t stop there: He recently took umbrage with something written in the comments section of TV writer Ken Levine’s blog, and instead of just calling that person an idiot and adding a Simpsons quote like most commenters, he offered a very lengthy response that attempts to explain why his script treats women the way it does—namely that the creators of Facebook basically were misogynists and that the women they surrounded themselves with were sort of their willing sex objects, so he’s just reporting the facts like any good student of human nature. Says Sorkin (in part):
It’s not hard to understand how bright women could be appalled by what they saw in the movie but you have to understand that that was the very specific world I was writing about…Facebook was born during a night of incredibly [sic] misogyny. The idea of comparing women to farm animals, and then to each other, based on their looks and then publicly ranking them. It was a revenge stunt, aimed first at the woman who’d most recently broke his heart…and then at the entire female population of Harvard.
More generally, 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 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…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…
So there you have it: the best argument yet for the benefits of an Ivy League education. Right dudes? High five.