Ladies of the 1980s Theme Week

Ladies of the 1980s Week: The Roundup

Ladies of the 80s Roundup

Check out all of the posts from our Ladies of the 1980s Week here.

Black Women in 1980’s Horror Films: Tokenism and Regression


However, I do thoroughly enjoy and sometimes defend 80s horror and the Black (female) characters I can find, but it’s crucial to examine the narrow confines of their characterization. …The 80s opened up a dialogue about where Black women’s place was not only in society, but in horror.

Rethinking ‘Say Anything’ and the Film’s Actual Protagonist Diane Court

Say Anything

The problem isn’t that audiences misremember Lloyd Dobler; it’s that they forget about Diane Court. … Not only is Diane an equal player in the action; she’s the film’s protagonist. … While Diane has a clear narrative of growth, Lloyd is a static character.

‘The Fog’: 5 Women, an Environmental Crisis, and No Forecast of Friendship

The Fog

Before watching the movie with a more critical lens, I reminisced that these strong female characters drove the community response to crisis as they began to interact and even came to depend on each other. … It seems like ‘The Fog’ exposes the idea that strong women can’t have any meaningful relationships that might endure and even help them survive and understand themselves better through tough times.

Ripley, Sexism, and Classism in ‘Aliens’

Aliens Ellen Ripley

However, it was not until 1986 that her status as a female badass was truly confirmed in the follow-up, ‘Aliens.’ Yet, in-universe, it took Ripley much of the movie to gain any respect. The mix of classism and sexism Ripley faced is something that I think made many women identify with her even more.

Sheila E.’s Agency as an Artist in ‘Krush Groove’ and Beyond

Krush Groove

But Sheila E. represents a woman’s creative musical power in an early hip hop film dominated by male artists. … As we consider hip hop’s presence in U.S. films and documentaries spanning the globe, it is also reasonable to consider that Sheila E. has one of the biggest roles for a woman that was written in the spate of films that began portraying hip hop culture.

‘The Stepfather,’ Toppling Patriarchy, and Love of 80s Horror Ladies

The Stepfather

Stephanie emerges as a poised, perspicacious, and resilient female lead. She is a wonderfully surprising alternative from most of the panoply of horror heroines who are tortured, fight, and scream their way through the terrifying films of the 80s. … Stephanie embodies what each of the archetypally male characters in the film fails to, and in doing so transcends the clutches of gender expectations in the film…

How ‘Big Business’ Made Big Business Thanks to Two Women Big in the Business

Big Business

Yet what sets this 80s flick apart from most films of that era is the fact that the four protagonists are all women AND completely independent. … Ultimately, it is Midler and Tomlin who save the film from being just another forgotten comedy of the 1980s. The two stars bring a certain gravitas to the screen — a perfect combination of comedic timing and contagious chemistry…

‘Pretty in Pink’: The Only Team to Be on Is Team Andie

Pretty in Pink

I fixated on the Team Duckie vs. Team Blane aspect of the film so much that I entirely missed the point. I was so Team Duckie that I blamed Andie for not choosing him. …I realized I had fallen into a trap that society has conditioned us to fall into: the dreaded sexist “friend zone.”

Revisiting ‘Desert Hearts’ and Its Lesbian Romance

Desert Hearts

For heterosexual women, movies and television series show them every day what a loving relationship is and what the expectations are to grow up, fall in love, and find a handsome prince (however flawed that may be). For lesbians prior to Donna Deitch’s ‘Desert Hearts,’ nothing of the kind existed on-screen.

The Vietnam War Through a Teen Girl’s Eyes in ‘In Country’

In Country

Sam is an underrated, if not widely unknown 1980s heroine. She serves as a symbol for America’s 1980s attempt to reconcile with its most controversial war. The 1980s experienced a boom in Vietnam War films, as the temporal distance from the war allowed filmmakers to fully deconstruct the experience. Rarely is the locus of these films a woman.

‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’: The Confidence and Wisdom of Linda Barrett

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Phoebe Cates brings life to the energetic, worldly, confident-yet-vulnerable Linda. Her character is the heart and soul of the movie, as she gives Stacy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) advice on sex, relationships, and navigating her way through high school. … The film never takes a judgmental attitude towards these young women, their sexual activities, and their frank discussions of sex.