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While there’s no denying that 1978’s “Grease” is one of the most iconic movie musicals in history, it was created during a time when people weren’t necessarily as woke as they are now. Our standards have certainly evolved over the years, and rightfully so.
Unfortunately, in retrospect, it’s incredibly easy to spot the cringe-worthy, problematic parts of movies and TV shows that we once considered the norm. If the same jokes were made now, they would be considered deeply offensive.
Over the past couple of months, the film that launched Olivia Newton-John’s career has been put on trial. Many people have claimed that “Grease” hasn’t aged well, while some have even demanded that the film be boycotted entirely.
Never realized how sexist and homophobic grease is
— c h l o (@daydreamangl) January 12, 2021
Chief among the concerns are the portrayal of women and the objectification of the female characters from their male counterparts. Some have even flagged that John Travolta’s character, Danny Zuko, seems to force himself on Sandy at the drive-in, despite her pleas for him to stop.
“Ah man. Just watching ‘Grease’, one of my favourite films and it’s so of its time,” one person wrote on social media. “Misogynistic, sexist and a bit rapey.”
— Elisa Caronni (@caronni_elisa) January 5, 2021
Grease. So, so sexist. 😭
— Corin BarsilyGoodwin (@mamacorin) November 25, 2020
Those in favour of trying to wipe “Grease” from history are far outnumbered by those that understand it was just a fictional story from the ‘70s — a time when political correctness definitely wasn’t what it is now.
Earlier this week, Newton-John defended the beloved musical and fired back at the incessant criticism during an episode of “A Life of Greatness” podcast.
"In this particular instance, I think it's kind of silly because the movie was made in the '70s about the '50s," she began.
She explained that it was meant to be lighthearted, but fans are suddenly attaching too much significance to it.
"It was a stage play, it's a musical, it's fun. It's a fun movie musical and not [meant] to be taken so seriously. I think everyone's taking everything so seriously," the singer continued, urging everyone to simmer down on this topic. “We need to relax a little bit...Just enjoy things for what they are. I didn't see it like that at all. I think it's just a fun movie that entertains people. That's all,” she concluded.
Wtf? Now people going after Olivia Newton-John saying Grease was sexist? And rapey?
Movie was made in the 70’s about the 50’s.
This shit is getting to be so fucking ridiculous anymore.
— Jenn ✌️ (@18675309_jenn) February 4, 2021
Folks are really out here complaining about Grease being racist, sexist, and misogynistic. A movie made in the 70s about the 50s......the 50s
— Chocolate Baddie🍫 (@nigerianbaddie) February 4, 2021
For the most part, since Olivia’s remarks, fans have seemingly chalked the film’s alleged sexism up to the time it was written and have agreed to hold their fire, letting this one slide.
“To those who think ‘Grease’ is sexist, homophobic, racist, etc. - Yes, it is,” one person tweeted. “But if you can’t understand that life was like that in the ‘70s, then don’t ever watch a movie done before 2010.