When I was a kid, I loved the film Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Like, love loved it. Some friends of mine are also fans, to the point where it’s a tradition to watch the film every New Year’s Eve.
Coming back to Men in Tights as an adult was… eye-opening. Not just because the transition to HD hasn’t been kind to the movie’s visuals, but because I’m not thirteen any more, and my tolerance for two hours of rape culture, body shaming, and transphobia isn’t what it used to be.
Don’t get me wrong; there are still some very funny moments in this film (“a toll is a toll, and a roll is a roll, and if we don’t get no tolls, then we don’t eat no rolls”), but the whole thing is just too painful for me to sit through. So it was interesting for me to read Steven Padnick’s thoughtful account of the film’s problematic elements for TOR. Particularly regarding Marian; his interpretation of the whole chastity belt belt plotline is a lot gentler than mine would be (“chastity belts” are, indeed, real things that cause real, long-term physical, emotional, social, and economic harm to real women, both historically and today, and are thus too “immediate” for me to think of as fodder for light humour)… but it did give me more of an insight of what Brooks thought he was doing including it in the film.