While "The Social Network" has been busy owning the box office for two weeks, a growing chorus of critics has been dinging the Oscar favorite for a purportedly misogynistic storyline in which women are portrayed as either promiscuous or irrelevant.
"[W]hat is the state of things if a film that keeps women on the outer circles of male innovation enjoys such critical acclaim; indeed, is heralded as the 'defining' story of our age?" wrote an author at the Daily Beast. "What are we to do with a great film that makes women look so awful?"
In a 657-word statement posted to a comedy writer's blog, Sorkin has now hit back at the criticism, responding directly to an unwitting blog commenter's post. The authenticity of those comments has been confirmed by TheWrap.com, which received word from Sorkin's rep that the "Social Network" writer had indeed penned the post.
"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," he wrote, adding, "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.)."
Sorkin also responded to a few specific instances in the film with which critics have taken issue, from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's nasty blog comments about his ex-girlfriend to an idea he floated for a site that would have compared women's photos to those of farm animals. In each case, Sorkin said, he was working off verified source material, including Zuckerberg's actual blog. Additionally, Sorkin said he invented two strong female characters, albeit ones who play small roles in the film, that he believes act as counterexamples to the other, less flattering depictions of women.
"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," the screenwriter wrote.
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