Dear John Hughes,
I know you’re dead, and I’m really sorry to have to harass you when you’re probably doing something fun like reasserting your manliness somewhere in the primeval soup that could constitute some sort of heaven or realm of the afterlife. I hope you’re enjoying yourself, seeing as how you left an entire generation with “brat pack” movies, tons of drunken “I-can-put-my-lipstick-on-with-my-cleavage” impressions, and maybe even a bit of trauma. I need you to know this: as a young woman I blame you for cementing in celluloid what I as a girl was supposed to be like at the age of 16. Here’s why:
- No multiplicity. Girls deserve the same multiplicities as boys do! How dare you represent teenage femininity as having to be either a princess (Molly Ringwald), quirky but cute yet too shy or too much of a social outcast to be accepted until prom night (Molly Ringwald), or plain neglected and brimming with sexual tension (Molly Ringwald)… or as a Barbie doll that’s been brought to life by a pair of computer savvy boys? Meanwhile your boys get to be rebellious, active, open, and can grow up sans heartbreak.
- No healthy relationships. Girls in real life do not like being tossed into some sort of weird series of games/love triangles in high school or in ever. Usually, when your relationship is hinged on a date rape situation the feelings experienced do not resonate with wanting to go to the prom. It’s more like a significant drop in self-esteem, and feeling further ostricisized. Also, why do we, as girls, have to be embarrassed of who we are before we can get a date? Why do we have to go through a makeover if we’re not a princess already? Why do the boys have to have our underwear?
- Your movies are ultimately kitschy. I used to really like them, but then I realized that if I wanted to date Emilio Estevez, I would have to get a makeover. Every time that girls are upset, your movies have raised them to say to each other “Let’s give you a make-over! That’ll show him!” These sentiments are only further solidified by the stereotypes you mapped out in your films. These trends do not speak very positively of how teenage girls see themselves in their own skin, how to treat young boys, or how to deal with issues via retail therapy or a change in appearance that would result in a hegemonic standard of beauty that’s impossible to meet.
- Why couldn’t The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, 16 Candles, and Weird Science have had more girls that were empowered and happy with their skin, who weren’t boy obsessed, with a personality, and nice fashion choice? Why was the only girl that fit all of these requests happened to be a Barbie doll that you brought to life?