Don’t Worry Darling, Sexism is here to stay

Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling (2022)

By Alyx Johnstone

Olivia Wilde’s highly anticipated psychological thriller/horror was finally released last Friday but after all the controversy and drama surrounding it, it’s clear the real horror prevails off the screen.

No film in a long time has garnered such drama and speculation than the press tour around this film. From rumours of heated fallouts between Wilde and leading lady Florence Pugh to Harry Styles spitting at Chris Pine, the film was tainted with dramas and judgements before any moviegoers could even watch it.

With just days to go until the film was released, it was clear on social media that most people seemed to no longer care for the speculation around the drama was all anybody could focus on.

But was this just some harmless celebrity gossip or something a lot darker? Those quick to add fuel to the seemingly never-ending fire seem to be forgetting that in 2021, only 12% of films on the top-grossing list were directed by women, yet at the first sign of a woman directing a highly anticipated film was diminishing down to gossip.

The sexist attacks towards Olivia Wilde began around the same time it emerged she had left her husband for Harry Styles. Being obsessed with who a celebrity is sleeping with isn’t a new phenomenon. For those enamoured with Hollywood and the elite, we are obsessed with knowing who is with who. But why are so many people outraged at the two being an item? Fans of the singer have relentlessly attacked Wilde on social media for months. Would this film have been taken more seriously if Olivia Wilde hadn’t been in a relationship with Styles?

It seems like people were never willing to take Don’t Worry Darling seriously. Rumours circulated that Olivia and Florence fell out and were no longer on speaking terms. The tiresome stereotype of women clashing is a tale as old as time. But then, even if Pugh and Wilde did clash during the making of the movie, would this be any different to any other feud during a Hollywood film? Why is the internet so obsessed with this particular ‘scandal’ in order to fill the incessant need for drama and celebrity gossip?

Whether you go see the psychological thriller this week and love or loathe it, is of little importance. The most chilling part of this whole saga is that the playing field in Hollywood is still so greatly unequal.