What Has Porn to do with Rom-Coms…


JGL and JMooreGreat interview in the Daily Beast with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Julianne Moore about their upcoming film (with Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, and Channing Tatum). Here is Levitt discussing the film in which he stars and directed:

“I wanted to make a movie about love and what I’ve noticed is what often gets in the way of love is how people objectify each other; they put expectations on each other and they’ve learned these expectations from various places, whether it’s their parents, friends, church, or different forms of media. So I thought making a love story about a guy who watches too much porn and a girl [Johansson] who watches too many romantic movies would be really funny and get at this theme.”

This is such an interesting premise to me: how is it that we as humans learn to objectify others and how we create the narratives to gird our worldviews. Later the two were asked how they saw porn working into this construction, here is the interchange between the two:

Joe: I do think most of [porn] is pretty hateful. I don’t use that word lightly. It’s a bummer that people get off on belittling women, but I think it’s also a bummer that certain romantic Hollywood movies do the same thing and are equally narrow-minded.

Julianne: Or they’re fantasies being fed to people that are fueling an unrealistic expectation of how they should be. There’s the princess fantasy. I understand role-play with kids, and both of my children are interesting in superheroes and princesses, but the way we’ve saturated our culture with these ideas is that a little girl thinks that’s how it’s supposed to be, but it’s unattainable, and yet that’s a fantasy that persists. So, you have romantic comedies, pornography, media images that are unrealistic and they’re all preventing people from being themselves.”

Feel free to read the entire interview, but the excerpted sections are valuable for discussion. It leads to some important discussions:

1) What narratives fuel your worldview?

2) What unrealistic expectations do you have for others?

3) How can you bring balance to the narratives that sustain you? 

4) How can we garner better expectations for ourselves and others?

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