Get Off the Stage, Postfeminists!: Empowerment, Agency, & Pleasure in The To-Do List

Original Print“While some reviewers argue that the representation of femininity in [The To-Do List] inverts the typical coming-of-age narrative, this belief is predicated on the misconceived notions of postfeminism […] a majority of scholars concerned with gender and sexuality in media argue postfeminism has only driven ‘a wedge within women’s movement itself, further exacerbating pre-existing rifts concerning what goals feminists should pursue and how those pursuits should be enacted'” (Petersen 344).
—Alexandra Appel, Corrina Leatherwood, Michael Sorensen, and Eboni Statham (Block 5 2016)

“The specific, explicit thoughts in Brandy’s brain emphasize that she has internalized the typical sexual regime—a hypersexuality that, according to Gail Dines, is ‘generic, formulaic, and plasticized. It is a sexuality that has its roots in porn and is now so mainstream it is fast becoming normalized’ (439).  The lack of context and other characters further demonstrate that Brandy’s porn-based sexual agenda is practiced independently and free from external pressures.”

“The film perpetuates the idea that sex is not for female pleasure. It features problematic portrayals of consent, and exploits the dichotomy of the inexperienced/experienced—the virgin/whore. These important details and recurring themes are overlooked in many analyses and further position The To Do List as rampant with postfeminist thought, which Dara Persis Murray describes as an ideology with a focus on ‘self-surveillance, monitoring and discipline; a focus upon individualism, choice and empowerment'” (287).

New Print“In our new poster, we represented Brandy as a complex individual with a multifaceted personality, while maintaining sexual thoughts albeit to a lesser degree. In this representation, Brandy is neither traditionally good nor bad, and the pornographic sexual acts in Brandy’s brain have been replaced with terms pertaining to global issues, professional success, drug experimentation, family, and sex.”

“The remake attempts to focus more on Brandy’s overall contentment with whatever level of experience she does have, depicting her less as an individual obsessed with acquiring sexual knowledge and more of a young woman comfortable with herself and open to sexual encounters. Still, with the necessary components of consent, sexual safety, and mutual respect. Her sexual quests are not dramatized or framed in an academic sense but more so as a way for her to experience her own pleasure on her own terms.”

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