Schools cancel Grease production after students complain it's 'offensive'

17 November 2021, 10:11 | Updated: 17 November 2021, 10:15

Grease productions have been cancelled in Australia
Grease productions have been cancelled in Australia. Picture: Alamy
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Two schools in Australia have cancelled a production of the musical Grease after students complained it's sexist.

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Two schools in Australia have cancelled their production of Grease after students complained it is anti-feminist.

According to reports, pupils at Presbyterian Ladies' College (PLC), based in Perth, claim the 1978 musical contains ‘offensive and sexist’ themes that don’t reflect modern-day Australia.

It was due to be performed by students both at PLC and Scotch College, but this has now been cancelled.

Grease was released in 1978
Grease was released in 1978. Picture: Alamy

PLC principal Cate Begbie and acting Scotch College headmaster Peter Burt said: "A number of PLC students raised concerns whether the musical was appropriate in modern times.

"Scotch College listened respectfully to the girls' concerns and both schools agreed a different musical would be better suited for their joint production in 2022."

Grease originally starred Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta as Danny and Sandy, and tells their love story set at Rydell High School.

While Danny is seen as the ‘bad boy’, Sandy starts out as a ‘good girl’ before changing her appearance to keep his interest.

Many people have called Grease 'offensive'
Many people have called Grease 'offensive'. Picture: Alamy

The film has previously caused controversy, with many viewers branding it ‘misogynistic’ on Twitter.

While the opening song sees the T-birds singing lyrics such as 'Did she put up a fight?', Sandy is later made fun of for being a virgin while Rizzo (Stockard Channing) is shamed for being sexually active.

In another scene, Danny's friend Putzie (David Del Rio) is seen hiding so that he can look up the skirts of female students, while same-sex couples are banned on the dancefloor during the big school dance.

When Grease aired on BBC last Christmas, one person wrote on Twitter: "Grease is problematic because the message is that women should change their entire personality and identity in order to be with the man they love".

Someone else said: “Grease sucks on so many levels and the message is pure misogyny.”

Olivia Newton-John was later asked about the backlash, to which she told the Life of Greatness podcast: "I think it's kind of silly. I mean, this movie was made in the 1970s about the 1950s.

"It was a stage play, it's a musical, it's fun. It's a fun movie musical, not to be taken so seriously.

"We need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are. I didn't see it like that at all, I think it's a fun movie that entertains people."