It’s often hard to articulate the thoughts and emotions that consumed me the first time I listened to Bikini Kill. Awestruck. Captivated. Confused. Moved. Inferior. To me, the band was the beginning of an awakening or rather a tangible example of something I already knew to be true- they just personified it.
I wasn’t aware of sexism until later in childhood, roughly when girls started to develop and I didn’t. Even then, I didn’t really understand it. I understood that men were physically stronger than women, but I kind of thought that’s were the conversation ended. I figured my natural weaknesses were women’s natural strengths and vice versa, the whole thing ultimately balancing out. I honestly lived my childhood believing that because nature made me stronger that meant that women were naturally smarter. My mom is smarter than my dad, girls in my classes always seemed to get better grades than the boys. I was the one with the inferiority complex because I had little use for physical strength- I never wanted to beat anyone up. As a little boy, I didn’t consume myself with sociology or world history, all I knew was what I saw. Girls were beautiful and tender while boys were rough and mischievous.
Of course Justin Long’s character hits far too close to home with working at a label and pushing bands you don’t care about and ultimately taking that leap of faith and managing bands that truly move you. While that’s just a mildly interesting plot twist to some, everyone can relate and learn something from their love story.
I loved this story because it seemed so functional, no matter how dysfunctional a long distance relationship can be. That’s what drives me nuts about Hollywood. No Strings Attached was awesomely entertaining but I left the theater pissed. It was more silver screen sap that further perpetuates stereotypes and dilutes real-world relationships.
It wasn’t the “friends with benefits” part in No Strings Attached that I didn’t buy. That can work for a while and be a whole hell of a lot fun in the meantime. However, it was the horrific turning point of Portman’s psyche that nerds hang on to when dealing with their own issues. She made us believe that love conquers all no matter how insensitive, illogical, or un-repairable your situation has become. That those dealing with loss should still hold on to hope that one day your dream girl will be standing on the door step asking for you back, instead of just moving forward with your life.