The To Do List (2013) starring Aubrey Plaza, Alia Shawkat, and Bill Hader is one of the most influential, feminist-driven films that has ever come out. The main premise of the movie is exploring female sexuality, which is practically unheard of in our culture, unless its for the benefit of males, but in this case, it’s not. Brandy (played the amazing Aubrey Plaza) embarks on many sexual adventures throughout the hour and a half film, and although some are awkward, she is never the butt of any joke. This film beautifully illustrates just how uncomfortable sexual encounters can be, it doesn’t over-stimulate or over-dramatize what Hollywood usually does with sex scenes. Instead of graphic, degrading male fantasy sex scenes, The To Do List shows real, awkward-noises, leg-cramps, bumping heads sex. Another great thing about The To Do List is it’s portrayal of catering to males sexually. The first time she has penis in vagina (PIV) sex the guy, Rusty Waters, finishes in about a minute, and even though she hasn’t finished yet they stop anyways because throughout our lives our society has taught everyone that male orgasm is the only thing you need to achieve during sex. Right after they stop Rusty says “you’ll probably regret me being your first,” and Brandy responds with “No. It’ll be an interesting story to tell my friends,” which is a great fucking message to be putting into films. Women are taught their worth is tied to their “virginity,” and that you’re nothing without it. But fun fact! “Virginity” is a social construct created to control and suppress women’s sexuality. It’s also disgustingly hetero-normative because the only “real sex” in our world is identified as only PIV. The To Do List also never shames Brandy for what she is doing, which is rare because women are so often shamed for seeking out sex when its for themselves. **SPOILERS** And when her friends hate her, instead of staying with the two guys having a fist fight over her, she ditches them and bicycles away to patch things up with her two best friends (played by the brilliant Alia Shawkat and Sarah Steele.) So if you’re going to watch any movie watch The To Do List!
PLUS its passed the Bechdel Test in the first five minutes!!! (And its set in the early 90s so there are some rad outfits)