Posted at 11:24 AM Sep 23, 2009
By Andrea Grimes
The crazy bitch has the run of the realm. Diablo Cody is penning a Sweet Valley High feature film.
I'm not calling Diablo Cody the crazy bitch. Not knowing her, I can't attest either to her mental state or her demeanor. But I do know that if it's crazy bitches you want, Diablo Cody has cornered the market on providing them. Her female characters range from mainly bitchy (Jennifer's Body) to mainly crazy (United States of Tara) to equal parts bitchy and crazy (Juno). So, maybe it's no wonder she'll be working on Sweet Valley, a series containing a thoroughly '80s crazy bitch, Jessica Wakefield. If it's an intriguing, engaging, non-crazy bitch female character you're looking for, don't tap Diablo Cody. (There's a joke here to be made about a one-trick pony and how much Cody's name sounds like that of a racehorse, and I am too classy to make it. Almost.)
I don't mind the odd crazy bitch, but "bitchy" and "crazy" are possibly two of the most tired female stereotypes in pop culture today--or ever. I'll be ecstatic when we can move on to a world of female characters who are neither of, or at the very least not mostly, these two things. (Leading the way: Mad Men, 30 Rock, Dexter.) Add to this that Cody's main claim to fame is that she used to be a stripper, and you've pretty much got the ultimate lady stereotype trifecta.
Over at Jezebel, Dodai is actually enthused about the Sweet Valley development:
For SVH to work, it needs a fresh look. So it's entirely possible that Diablo Cody, a tattooed former stripper and Oscar-winning screenwriter, could be good for a modern take on Sweet Valley High. And, from the looks of Cody's Twitter, she knows her subject matter: She recently wrote, "You have no idea how many bitches I took down to do this project. I went 'full Jessica.' Believe it."So let's skip the first problem, which is that apparently there's nothing new under the Hollywood sign and that the remake trend continues ad nauseum, while we go to the second: a tattooed former stripper does not necessarily "edgy" make. A cliché it makes, but there are plenty of women who can do edgy without being The Edgy Girl™. Someone should send Cody this memo. Third problem: Cody is proud of taking down "bitches." Surely I don't have to explain why this is a problem coming out of the mouth of a self-described feminist. Fourth problem: going 'full Jessica," basically means being a catty, shallow, vapid queen bee. For reference here, see "third problem."
I don't think all us media-type ladies have to support each other--hell, I'm writing against Cody, myself--but Cody's pride in her own bitch factor doesn't help any woman, anywhere. Hateful, stop-at-nothing bitch? Yeah, stop me if you've heard that one before--worse, it's boring. Can't we be interesting, aggressive and powerful without taking down bitches, even in jest?