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The Social Network: Suprising, Brilliant, Misogynist

October 21, 2010

I just saw The Social Network and was pleasantly surprised – it is as excellent as everyone has been saying. The trailer is misleading – the movie is less about girls and partying and more about the characters; mainly Zuckerberg (amazingly played by Jesse Eisenberg), co-creator Eduardo Saver (Andrew Garfield) and the influential Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake),  the creator of Napster. The 120 minute movies flies by – its surprisingly fast paced, witty and intelligent.

It is also severely sexist. Women fall into 2 categories: Jealous and/or bitchy ex-girlfriends, or airheads. If you saw it; (spoiler alert)  — Eduardo’s girlfriend setting his bed on fire? Seriously? Or the scene where Parker instructs 2 young girls to hit a bong because they’re not high enough, and while playing video games one of them giggles and says something to the effect of “I’m just hitting the buttons.” For the record: 40% of gamers are girls.

If the Facebook story is a boys club, or the story was meant to be, there’s nothing wrong with that – but turning women into cliches seemed unnecessary.

Aside from the major plot lines of the movie, I wonder how much of the superficialities in the story are true to life – there was an Asian-girl (East-Asian for you non N.Am’s) theme, and Zuckerberg is dating an Asian. This Vanity Fair profile makes Sean Parker look – I mean literally look – like as much of an asshole as depicted in the movie.

The best quote I’ve read about the extent of truth in the movie comes from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz

it is interesting to see my past rewritten in a way that emphasizes things that didn’t matter

The movie is also exciting as someone who was a university student during the time Zuckerberg was developing Facebook – the film is set from 2004 to the roughly the time the site hit a million members – I remember a friend sending me a link to Facebook in 2005, but I didn’t join until a year later, when it became more popular. Logging onto Facebook now feels a bit strange, as though: I was part of this. We all were. We all are.

The knowledge that 500 million people have Facebook, or 1 person for every fourteen in the world, becomes so much more astounding when you grasp how small its beginnings were, how much one man has changed our history and the way we communicate.

You need to watch The Social Network. Peter Travers wrote that it is “a film to define a decade.” After having finally seen this movie, I absolutely agree.

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