10 Things I Hate About You: 10 things we love to hate about this film

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Larry Miller, Julia Stiles and Larisa Oleynik in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Walter Stratford’s rule

The narrative of 10 Things I Hate About You rests on a misogynistic premise, devised by Kat and Bianca’s overbearing father, Walter Stratford (Larry Miller), presumably to save his daughters’ purity though seemingly influenced by his job delivering babies. Walter decides that Bianca is not allowed to date until older sister Kat is also dating. He sees this as an absolute win because man-hating Kat is surely never going to want to date a guy, right? Sure, he doesn’t think about the fact that Kat might not actually be into guys, but Walter and the film have that hetero-normative worldview in common.

Not only is this incredibly regressive (may I remind you that this film was made in the 1990s, not the 1880s), Walter refusing to acknowledge that his daughters are young women and not children anymore results in a celibacy-as-contraception mentality.

It’s heavily implied that if Kat and Bianca’s mother was still around, then she would be the one responsible for teaching the girls about the birds and the bees, but as it stands Walter is having none of it. This is even weirder when you remember that Walter’s job deals with the ins and outs of pregnancy every day, which you think would make him the best person to have conversations about contraception and keeping oneself safe. Alas, he will not allow this and so he sets up an archaic rule, presumably in lieu of one where his daughters would never actually leave the house.