Sunday, 5 May 2013

Next time I come in here, I'm cracking skulls

'Movie makeovers that should never have happened' is the name of Stylist magazine's recent online piece that had me stirring with feelings of curiosity so strong it could comatose a cat or two. It isn't a secret to know how much I adore films and how out of the way I will go in order fill myself up with knowledgeable information on the world that surrounds them. So for me I found myself eager to see the selection they had put together and the reasons that had lead them to such a definite array.

For a magazine, that to me, has always centred their universe around women's equality comfortably alongside fashion, travel and anything else independent women could put their hard earned wages towards, I felt let down. The piece comes across as so narcissistic alongside articles on the Girlguides support of the No More Page 3 campaign and Stirling Moss V Susie Wolff, on the fight against sexism in sport. I am an avid reader of other magazines which are predominately fashion focused and to me finding this among their daily online articles, although would disappoint me, wouldn't surprise me. Yet, on the pages of Stylist's site just seem misplaced.

I initially caught sight of Laney from She's All That which threw me back to my teens and then captured a glimpse of what I expected I'd find, Allison from The Breakfast Club. I find it difficult to appoint a top ten of my favourite films ever because it's hard to discriminate against so many but I'm a firm believer in thinking that The Breakfast Club ranks pretty high up in the charts. It is the epitome of teen high school flicks and you might shout at me from the bleachers, '...but what about Grease?' or 'Dead Poets Society is so much more dramatic!' and other such remarks but The Breakfast Club is able to generously offer both comedy and drama better than any other. Filled to the brim with moral messages on teen angst, the film (apart from the introduction and ending) is confined to the walls of the high school's library and surrounding hallways and will have you identifying with each of the five characters at one point or another during the film.
It's what makes me so fond of the film; there is so much to recognise in their teenage worries, issues and conversations, which is hugely satisfying considering you spend the majority of your teen life feeling alone and as if you are the only one suffering. It needs, simply, little more than a few rooms/sets and five different teen examples to show the viewer as much as you think no one else understands the plights of your teenage years, in fact everyone goes through the same motions and emotions regardless of what music you are into, how you dress or where you rank on the popularity scale.

Stylist's argument for why Allison shouldn't have undergone a makeover all comes down to the fact that she looked better beforehand with her dark moody black eyeliner instead of her floral alice band and flicky fringe. Now I understand their article does state their decisions are beauty based but for a film that zones in on many important issues, I have always seen it as the films largest albeit only fault, in  that Allison; the basket case, is made over by Claire; the princess, in order to fit in. I find this an inconceivable message to send out to viewers, that in order to be popular and make friends, you have to change who you are, as well as dress and behave a certain way. Especially considering Molly Ringwald's Claire and Emilio Estevez' Andrew (the two popular ones) open up about the emotional pressure and struggles they battle with to look and be the best in order to be popular and respected by those around them during the film.
I have always believed 'hate' is too strong a word to throw around in a sentence or conversation and therefore, rarely use it but for a film I love so much, I genuinely hate this element of the storyline. It goes against everything the film tries to teach us within a matter of moments towards the end. Disappointing it is then to read Stylist pose such a materialistic reasoning behind it's choice regardless of whether they were strictly speaking in terms of 'beauty'. I agree it is a makeover that shouldn't have happened but not due to the fact her hairstyle looked worse afterwards but because it is telling us in order to be liked and even noticed (Judd Nelson's Bender is only attracted to her once she has been made over) we need to change who we are and what we look like.

Will she still eat cereal & Pixie Stix sandwiches when she's popular?


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