As Another Movie Gets A Gender-Swapped Reboot, We Need To Talk About The Reactions

Photo: Touchstone Pictures/Photofest.
According to Deadline, Disney will be rebooting the classic 2000 romantic comedy High Fidelity as a gender-swapped TV series that will take on a more optimistic tone than the movie and its source material, the 1995 novel of the same name by Nick Hornby.
The idea of a woman playing the role of Rob Gordon, a jaded record store owner in Chicago who talks directly to the camera while recounting his top five breakups, had some corners of the internet pretty upset, including the original film's star, John Cusack.
And, to be honest, I understand some of the backlash. Instead of rebooting old movies with gender swapped roles (yes, this applies to you too, Steven Spielberg), why not greenlight original movies with original women characters as the lead? Movies like Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, the Oscar-nominated Bridesmaids, and the Tracy Oliver-penned Girls Trip prove it is possible to gain critical and commercial success when making original women characters the center of a film, and not simply the girlfriend or wife of the male protagonist.
Advertisement
But what I can’t understand is why people don’t want to see record owner and music expert Rob Gordon as Roberta Gordon. Someone who has the same interests and same smarts but with maybe just a little less self-loathing and cynicism in their heart? What would be the harm in positioning a woman as an expert in something as life-defining and ubiquitous as music, the soundtrack to our lives? Despite what most pop culture portrayals of nerds would have you think, some of the best music experts are women. Some of my favorites are Spotify’s Jessica Hopper, who worked at the Chicago Reader, Pitchfork, and MTV News, and Chicago-based writer Britt Julious, who has also written for the Chicago Tribune, Vice, and Vogue.
Unfortunately, I think the reason why people don’t want to see a woman touted as a music expert is because sexism is so ingrained in our society that any kind of expert, whether it’s regarding news, art, food, or music, is automatically assumed to be a man. And when anything comes along to buck that trend, even if it’s of a fictional character, it brings up that knee-jerk reaction of, “That’s not the way it’s supposed to be!”
In the 90-plus year history of American cinema, men have had the luxury of playing any and everything: heroes, villains, swashbuckling lotharios, lovelorn nerds who still end up finding companionship at the end of the movie. It’s been time for women to have the same opportunities to play those kind of wide-ranging roles.
Advertisement
Read These Stories Next:

More from Movies

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.