Easy A is a 2010 movie that was directed by Will Gluck, written by Bert V. Royal, and slightly based off of the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthrone. It follows our main character, Olive Penderghast, as she deals with the backlash from multiple rumors that have spun out of control. Olive tells her friend Rhiannon that she lost her virginity over the weekend with some college boy, but what she really did all weekend was hang out at home. She lies because she needed an excuse as to why she didn’t go camping with Rhiannon and her family and to her this was something that would easily get Rhiannon off of her back. The schools devout Christian, Marianne, hears Olive recounting this experience to Rhiannon, and decides to tell the entire school. This leads to many of Olive’s peers treating her differently. Olive confides in her friend Brandon that she didn’t really have sex with anyone. Brandon is one of the bullied gay kids at their school and they come up with a plan to fake having sex at a party, so Brandon will stop being bullied for his sexuality. If people think him and Olive had sex, they’ll leave him alone. They follow through with the plan and luckily Brandon’s bullying subsides, but this leads to other people that are bullied/are outcast at the school coming to Olive seeking similar services. Olive helps these people, but by doing so she garners a reputation at the school of being this super promiscuous woman. Olive doesn’t allow these judgements to get to her because she knows that they’re false, but people take what they hear and run with it.
This reaches a peak when Marianne’s boyfriend gets chlamydia from the school’s guidance counselor, and lies and says that he got it from Olive. The school’s guidance counselor confides in Olive that she was the one who gave Marianne’s boyfriend chlamydia and Olive agrees to cover for her. Marianne then starts a movement at the school to attack Olive and have her drop out. This movement includes Olive’s friend Rhiannon, who got into a fight with Olive because she felt Olive was too promiscuous. One of the guys at Olive’s school tries to actually pay her for sex and slightly forces himself on her, which she strongly rejects. Everything becomes too much for Olive and asks the guidance counselor to come clean about giving Marianne’s boyfriend chlamydia, but she refuses because she doesn’t want to risk her own relationships being damaged, and also cites the fact that nobody would believe her. Olive decided to take everything into her own hands and actively change the narrative about her. She exposes the truth about everything to the entire school.
We see how one rumor can lead to a person being completely ostracized from their community. Olive didn’t really have sex, but because people think she did, they immediately start to treat her like she’s lesser than. She tries to use the narrative that’s being spread about her for good by helping those around her, but that’s quickly taken advantage of, and she becomes a scapegoat. Marianne’s boyfriend didn’t get chlamydia from Olive, but he knew everyone already has such negative opinions of Olive, that blaming her would be the best way to get heat off of himself. The guidance counselor also uses Olive as a scapegoat and when Olive comes to her expressing her distress by the situation and wanting the guidance counselor to be honest, Olive is turned away. Everybody refused to listen to Olive until she forced them to. Even with the orginal sex lie, nobody cared if it was true or not, but heard it once and completely made up their minds about Olive’s character before anything else happened. People love to take something and run with it because it’s fun to hate something, especially women, and because it’s fun to see people have their lives ruined to some extent. It’s reality TV in real life and rather than thinking critically about things, it’s easier to just go along with it.
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