Pretty in Pink
Check out all of the posts from our Ladies of the 1980s Week here.
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.”
Re-watching the film recently, it seems apparent that rather than Andie allowing herself to submit to Blane and all that he represents, her narrative arc is really a search for a sense of autonomy rather than a desire to transition into a world of privilege. …Blane represents an opportunity to take control of her life, to become increasingly autonomous in her decisions.
There is a deep nostalgia for the 1980s, especially the pop culture of the decade. … Stories with iconic women at their heart flourished in the 80s (‘Working Girl,’ ‘Sixteen Candles,’ ‘The Legend of Billie Jean’). The emerging breed of action heroine born in the 70s came into her own in the 80s (Sarah Connor from ‘The Terminator,’ Ellen Ripley from ‘Aliens,’ Leia Organa of ‘Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back’).
Check out all of the posts for Representations of Female Sexual Desire Theme Week here.
In this piece we focus on prom as a densifying trope for teenage female sexual desire in many cultural representations (think of ‘Carrie,’ ‘She’s All That,’ ‘My-So-Called Life,’ or ‘Glee,’ to name just a few). We are doing so by complementing John Hughes’ rather classic romantic-comedy and “Brat Pack” movie ‘Pretty in Pink’ with the horror/torture movie with comedy elements ‘The Loved Ones’ directed by Sean Byrne – two examples of female desire as imagined by male writers.
Mainly though, the movie’s release has reminded us of all the supposedly simple and universal the show portrayed so well, the things that shouldn’t be notable in today’s movies and TV, but somehow are: a platonic male-female relationship, a strong friendship between teen girls who never came to blows over looks or boys, a willingness to hold its heroine accountable for her flaws, and above all, an amazing father-daughter relationship.
Check out all of the posts for Child and Teenage Girl Protagonists Theme Week here.
In Pretty In Pink, Andi is a self-sufficient, seemingly self-aware teenage girl who lives in a little cottage with her single father. Andi isn’t the type of girl who goes gaga for cocky, linen suit-wearing Steff (James Spader). She’s too busy at home sewing and stitching together her latest wardrobe creations. To her fellow girl students, she’s just a classless, lanky redhead who shouldn’t dare be caught dead at a “richie” party. So, she spends her time at TRAX, a record shop she works at, and a nightclub that showcases hip new wave bands like Ringwald’s real-life fave, The Rave-Ups. Her best friends Duckie (Jon Cryer) and Iona (Annie Potts) admire and envy Andi.
The expectations for girls in film and television are incredibly mixed. It is naïve to say that girls nowadays are just expected to be a sexy sidekick or afterthought. With more strong female roles popping up in bigger budget films such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, there is the expectation that girls should also be intelligent and incredibly clever (while also being visually pleasing). I love Harry Potter and The Hunger Games for giving women these intense and interesting character traits. However, I remember thinking after I saw/read the series, “Wow, I’m not nearly as clever as Hermione and could never be as brave as Katniss.” There isn’t really a place for the all-around average girl. The first two examples of strong female protagonists that I could think of are in fantasy franchises. Are real female characters really that difficult to come up with? Real female characters are often created with good intentions but tend not to work on a larger scale.
Here are some game-changing cult classics, divided into handy genre sections. And while we’re looking at the influence of these cult films, why not check out how they portray and treat women? Almost entirely coincidentally, they’re all from the ‘80s. What can I say? It was a culturally rich period.