Unequal punishment

The other day I watched Life Happens, a movie about relationships, babies, dreams, and lies. At one point in the movie, the main character lies to her love-interest. It’s a pretty big lie (she tells him that she doesn’t have a baby, when she does), and she feels really guilty about it, but continues to go along with it for quite some time. There are several scenes about her wrestling it, whether or not she should tell him, etc…then the big moment happens – he finds out. He feels hurt and doesn’t want to see her ever again. He says some mean things, and after that we watch as she basically hits rock bottom.

But the story doesn’t end there (p.s. if you actually want to watch this movie, you may want to stop reading now, because I’m about to give away the end…) It turns out, mr. love-interest has also been keeping a secret, which he tells her at the very end, with no apology. It goes something like this: “I forgive you, and I was keeping something from you as well, I’m kind of married. I mean, we’re separated, but…” After which, our main woman wraps her arms around his neck and they start making-out.

I’m all for forgiveness and happy endings, but something is not right here. She tells a lie, and gets severely punished for it. She beats herself up. He treats her like shit afterwards. Her life falls apart. She’s lonely, unsure of what to do, and her friends basically desert her. Then he tells a lie, keeps it from her for the whole movie/their relationship, doesn’t feel guilty, and then doesn’t even apologize. Not only is he not punished for his crime, but he’s rewarded. He gets her love, his friends all think he’s the best ever, and everything goes his way.

There is nothing fair and square about this, and I’m gonna say it: it’s downright sexist. Why would a woman get punished for a lie and a man get rewarded? I would say their mistakes were on a similar level (lying about a baby, lying about being married), and yet their punishments were entirely unequal.

Why, on any level, is this ok?

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2 thoughts on “Unequal punishment

  1. I definitely agree with you on this one. I just see it as that is how some people think or act. The man was definitely wrong with his action toward this lady- in actually being married, and she was wrong to lie. It wasn’t fair that he got rewarded just like that.. maybe it was a quick reaction that made her do it? i don’t know if the show shows it, but maybe later she rethinks about her decision … and decides not to go out with his man? anyways…those are my thoughts.

  2. Both were guilty, but perhaps their reactions to the other’s wrong was a depiction of the personalities the author wanted them to have. In the heat of the moment, one person might be more prone to lashing out while the other might be more likely to let things go. This release could be out of respect, submission, and love, or it could be passive-aggressive. Personally, while reading this synopsis, I chose to believe she was acting out of love, treating him the way she wished he had treated her, yet forgiving him for lashing out at her since his reaction was, in fact, deserved and not out of line. She *had* sinned and hurt him. She would have been justified in reacting similarly towards him, but I think she chose to express her love for him by forgoing his “punishment” and offering him a clean slate in their relationship.

    I know this doesn’t directly answer your question, but these related thoughts are what came to my mind.

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