Since Harvey Weinstein was unmasked as a predator, I’ve been reevaluating many of my favorite movies. How do I watch Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare in Love knowing Weinstein played a role in shaping each scene transition, each award show campaign, each final product? I realized something I had only vaguely conceptualized before: Movies don't exist on their own. They are work of many people — often many very flawed people.
So, we've entered into a period of collective evaluation about the individuals behind the movies. But what about the films themselves? Aren't those changed, irrevocably, too? Many frequently recycled tropes, like villains concocting dastardly plans to marry heroines, were just a harmless part of a story before all this. Now, in this heightened awareness of sexual misconduct's ubiquitousness, I might cringe while watching certain tropes play out, again and again, on screen. I will wonder: Do these pervasive entertainment tropes about the way men and women interact sanction certain dynamics? Does watching this patterned behavior inure audiences to power imbalances?
Essentially, do these minute, occasionally funny, preciously insignificant tropes reinforce rape culture? To understand the paranoia I'm currently experiencing — the realization that rape culture may be embedded into all we consume — read the lyrics to "Baby It's Cold Outside." If translated to the real world, the behaviors depicted in the following tropes might be downright uncomfortable.
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