Is ‘Grease’ Sexist? Olivia Newton John Defends Her Most Iconic Role


It’s hard to believe Grease was released almost 42 years ago. The 1978 film, starring Australian darling Olivia Newton-John and “stud” John Travolta, has since been a pop culture phenomenon.

While the story was very much reminiscent of the 1950s in which it was based, there is no denying that some of the values do not hold up today.

During an interview with Loose Women, Newton-John, who is now 72, spoke about her character Sandy, who undergoes a “sexy transformation” to win Danny’s (Travolta) love in the movie. It’s not ideal, but the Xanadu star insists that it’s a “fun story” and that she’s never taken it “too seriously”.

When the star was questioned if the film would hold up in 2020, she responded: “I don’t really know”.

“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 of Danny’s transformation in the movie. “It’s a movie and it’s a fun story and I have never taken that too seriously.”

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the argument of whether the film was “sexist” began to surface. Apart from Sandy’s storyline, the arc about the T-Birds and their mission to have sex with their girlfriends also raised eyebrows.

In particular, a song lyric from Summer Nights, “did she put up a fight”, alluded to sexual abuse, however, Newton-John defended the musical, saying that back then, no one “had a clue”.

“I mean, the stage show had been a huge success for a long time so there was a lot of talk about the movie and it was a very popular show,” she said.

“Nobody could have imagined the success the movie has enjoyed, especially all these years later – 41 years later and people are still talking about it! It’s pretty amazing, I’m pretty lucky.”

Newton-John and Travolta have remained friends all these years and even reunited in December 2019 in their iconic get-up for a 40-year-anniversary.

Seen for the first time in their unforgettable costumes since filming, both actors took to their individual Instagram’s, sharing the iconic moment with fans.

Instagram @JohnTravolta

“First time in costume since we made the movie! So excited,” Newton-John captioned her post, while Travolta said: “#Grease is still the word”, accompanied by a series of photos and videos from the night.

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