Five Ways The To Do List Is a Radically Feminist Film

A guide to decoding its girl-power clues

Bonnie Osborne
Bonnie Osborne

Despite taking place in Boise, Idaho, The To Do List exists in as close to a feminist paradise as one might find on this planet outside of a lesbian commune. Things aren't perfect: Brandy's Limbaugh-reading dad (Clark Gregg) is a (hilarious) prude, and her pool-manager boss Willy (Bill Hader) delights in calling attention to her flat chest. But Willy's teasing is much more big brotherly than grounds for sexual harassment, and the rest of the film's characters seem to live in a universe where respect for a woman and her desires is de rigueur and slut-shaming an unknown practice. Brandy's best friends (Alia Shawkat and Sarah Steele), her self-appointed Q and Moneypenny of Operation Anti-Purity, are equally supportive of their friend's extracurricular activities. (Shawkat's Fiona does call Brandy a "slut" midway through the film, but it's clear from the context that she's lobbing the first insult that comes to mind and doesn't really mean it.) It's not just Brandy, then, but all Boise citizens who create such a wholesomely sex-positive, Leave It to Brandy's Beaver kind of backdrop for safe sexual experimentation. It doesn't take a village to get a woman laid, but it certainly helps when they're not throwing stones at her for it.

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