Olivia Newton-John has a refreshing response to those who say 'Grease' is problematic
Via Olivia Newton-John / Instagram

A recent airing of "Grease" on the BBC resulted in a backlash online with some calling for it to be banned from further showings.

Critics cited the scene where John Travolta's character Danny Zuko repeatedly tries to put a move on Sandy Osbourne, played by Olivia-Newton John, but she pushes him away.

They also called the film homophobic because the dance contest is for straight couples only.



People also objected to how Rizzo, played by Stockard Channing, is slut-shamed for being with multiple men. There's also a line in the song "Summer Loving" where a T-Bird asks, "Did she put up a fight?"

Thematically, It's also pretty cringey that Sandy wins over Danny in the end by dressing herself up for the male gaze by putting on skintight black pants.

All of these critiques seem to forget the fact that the film was made in 1978 about teenagers in the 1950s, an era that was far more sexist, segregated, homophobic, and racist than the one we live in today.

The film is also about men who are in a gang who talk about getting into rumbles and carry switchblades. Those types aren't usually known for being too progressive.

Olivia Newton-John pushed back against people who believe the movie is too problematic in a recent interview on the "A Life of Greatness" podcast.

Newton-John said the movie was "not [meant] to be taken so seriously." She believes that the criticism is "kind of silly, because the movie was made in the '70s about the '50s. It was a stage play. It's a musical. It's fun."

"We need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are," Olivia continued. "I think it's just a fun movie that entertains people. That's all."

The actor's call for people to mellow out is refreshing in a world where many people are scared and quickly dismiss work they've done in the past if it doesn't live up to the exacting measure of our times.

"Grease" clearly falls short of the standards that we have today. But it also has some amazing music, choreography, and wonderfully charismatic performances from Newton-John, Travolta, and Channing.

We should have a bit more faith in people by believing they can walk and chew gum at the same time when watching an outdated piece of culture. Most mature adults have the capacity to watch something that is old and separate the inappropriate material from the wonderful music and dancing.

If we can trust people to watch a horror film and not come out the other side an axe murderer, we can let them see a film with outdated portrayals of gender without thinking they'll become raging sexists.

In other "Grease" news, Travolta and his daughter Ella make a brief appearance in a new Super Bowl ad for Scotts Miracle-Gro. In the ad, the Travoltas recreate the "Hand Jive" dance that Travolta and Newton-John do in the film. But this time, instead of dancing to Sha Na Na, it's to Surfaces' "Sunday Best."

Scotts & Miracle-Gro Big Game Commercial | Keep Growing :45 www.youtube.com

Naomi Osaka was only 20 years old when she won the U.S. Open tournament, and she is the first Asian player to hold the highest singles ranking. The tennis star moved to the U.S. from Japan at age three and she has held both Japanese and American citizenship.

Her U.S. citizenship has been a topic of discussion as the Japanese exemption that allows her to hold both passports expired at age 22—which Osaka turned in 2019. At that time, she announced she would choose to give up her U.S. citizenship to keep her Japanese citizenship and compete for Japan in the 2020 Olympics. However, Osaka has said that she feels "more like a global citizen" than one particular nationality—a sentiment supported by her latest endeavor.

In partnership with Nike and Laureus Sport for Good, Osaka launched a program to support girls in sports in Japan last year. Her Play Academy is committed to leveling the playing field for girls through physical play and sports, giving girls opportunities and encouragement to get moving.

Now, she is expanding Play Academy to Los Angeles, where she currently lives and trains, as well as to Haiti, where her father is from.

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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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