Production of Grease cancelled for ‘offensive’ and ‘anti-feminist’ themes

Nov 17, 2021
Two prestigious Perth High schools have called off their co-production of the musical Grease. Image Credit: Getty Images

Two well known Perth high schools have cancelled their productions of the popular musical Grease after students voiced their concerns on whether the musical was “appropriate in modern times.” 

Year 7-10 students from Presbyterian Ladies College and Scotch College were due to perform the iconic musical but argued the musical was “ offensive” and “anti-feminist,” cancelling the production.

In their joint statement to 7News, PLC Principal Cate Begbie and Acting Scotch College Headmaster Peter Burt said “a number of PLC students raised concerns whether the musical was appropriate in modern times.”

After listening to their students’ concerns, Scotch College agreed that another show would be better for their 2022 production. Details of the replacement musical have not yet been announced. 

The musical became a film, and then a cultural phenomenon and much-loved classic, however in recent times, concerns like those from PLC and Scotch College students have become the norm, with viewers complaining of the film’s “sexism, racism, homophobia and lack of diversity.”

Critics have called the musical “misogynistic”, “rapey” and said it encouraged “slut-shaming”.

 

Grease tells the story of two young lovers Danny (played by John Travolta in the film) and Sandy (played by Olivia Newton-John) basking in a summer romance in 1968. 

Danny is depicted as the classic, leather-clad, bad boy who spent a wild and romantic Summer with the wholesome, studious, Sandy. Due to the obvious differences in personality and style,  Sandy is envouraged to embark on a mission to become raunchy and bold in order to win the heart of Danny, the man of her dreams.; something that does not sit well with today’s viewers. 

But it does not end there, keen viewers have also pointed out that Rizzo (played by Stockard Channing in the film), a secondary character who was close friends with Sandy, was “slut-shamed” for having unprotected sex. 

Grease has repeatedly come under fire for its lack of political correctness in recent years. In October 2020, amid the #MeToo movement, lead actress Olivia Newton-John defended the musical as it was slammed.

“I know there were some criticisms about me wanting to change to be like him, but they forget that he wanted to change to be what I wanted,” she said last year. 

“It’s a movie and it’s a fun story and I have never taken that too seriously.”

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