GMB’s panel on Wednesday pondered the issue with Independent journalist Olivia Petter, who clashed with actress Didi Conn – Frenchy in the romp.
The beloved film ends with female protagonist Sandy turning from a ‘square’ into a femme fatale-like figure, seemingly to fit in with her rowdy greaser boyfriend Danny.
“The only reason why she does that big transformation … is to please a man,” Petter argued, adding, “That’s the problem with the film … because that is celebrated.”
Conn, on the other hand, put forward that Sandy was “allowing herself to come through, and it’s not so much to get her man, it’s to be who she is 100 percent.”
The actress argued that the heroine had a “part of herself that wanted to come out,” and her transformation was an act of self-actualization, rather than conformity.
The balanced debate wasn’t enough to save GMB from a storm of social media backlash, as viewers were not impressed that the show was dabbling in the topic at all.
They accused the show of giving into a PC-moral panic, and “messing with a classic” for no good reason. “The world has just turned into a blizzard of political correctness,” tweeted one user befuddled by the show’s topic of choice.
Others said the sexism-seekers must have nothing better to worry about in the turbulent year of 2020 and should “get a life.” One pointed out that, if GMB wanted to tackle more substantial feminist issues, they could have covered the recent roll-back of abortion rights in Poland.
Some reminded the outrage-mongers of the plot of the movie, and that the male lead also changed during the course of the film.
There were some who agreed with Petter, however, saying ‘Grease’ “hasn’t aged well,” and due to supposedly outdated perceptions was “problematic,” and full of “rampant misogyny.”
The GMB debate was sparked after actress Olivia Newton-John, who starred as Sandy, defended the film in an interview with the Guardian on Monday.
“There’s nothing deep in there about the #MeToo movement,” Newton-John said, adding: “It’s just a girl who loves a guy, and she thinks if she does that, he’ll like her. And he thinks if he does that, she’ll like him.” That sounds “pretty real,” the actress said. “People do that for each other. It was a fun love story.”