Easy A Tackles Slut-Shaming, Gossip & What We Expect From Girls Now

I saw Easy A this weekend, and loved it. What I didn't love? Facing the reality that when it comes to girls and sex, we haven't come that far since the 17th century Puritanical days of Hester Prynne.

(Spoilery stuff in the towards the bottom.)

Emma Stone plays Olive, who is whip-smart, funny and irreverent (when gossip spreads about her, she calls it "accelerated velocity of my terminological inexactitude"). As you may have gathered from the trailer, Olive pretends to have sex with her friend, out of pity and a sense of duty — he's being bullied because he is gay. Amongst their peers, the result of their fake fling is, of course, that he's the man. And she's a slut.

Unfortunately, this is a testament to How We Live Now: With rape jokes in college newspapers, gang-rape pictures going viral and infidelity rocking Jersey Shore, one thing becomes clearer and clearer: That women — especially young women and teenage girls — just can't win. In Easy A, Olive talks about a few classic teen movies, including The Breakfast Club. And though she doesn't specifically call out this scene, this was the movie in which Ally Sheedy's character Allison said of having sex: "It's kind of a double-edged sword, isn't it? If you say you haven't, you're a prude. If you say you have, you're a slut. It's a trap." That movie came out in 1985 — three years before Emma Stone was born — but we haven't made much progress. With the Facebook gang rape, the guys aren't being shamed for raping, but the victim is being called a whore. In Jersey Shore, Ronnie is making out with girls at clubs without telling his girlfriend, Sammi, but no one really calls him out for being promiscuous — instead, Sammi is called "dumb" and ridiculed for "being dogged." And in Easy A, (SPOILER ALERT) the plot revolves around Olive's faux sexual escapades, but all is well in the end, since she didn't actually have sex.

What would happen if Olive did sleep with a few guys in her class? Would she cease to be a heroic character? Survey says: Yes. That's why they'll never do a female-oriented remake of 1989 film Loverboy, in which Patrick Dempsey's character prostitutes himself, but with good intentions. It seems that for girls today, even on film*, you can talk about sex, pretend to have sex and joke about sex — but if you want a happy ending, you can't actually have sex.