Okay, so I said earlier when I was talking about the subway man that I hate the movie Grease and I feel the need to justify this hate because I know a lot of people love that movie and probably think I’m a monster for loathing such a candy colour piece of pop perfection. But I have a legitimate reason, so I thought it best that I explain myself before the internet tomatoes start to fly.
Just to set the scene, when I was like 15 or 16, I used to babysit for these two adorable little blonde girls Barbie and Betty. They were the sweetest, nicest little kids ever and looking after them was the easiest job I have ever had. So their parents go out and as they’re leaving they say, “We got the girls a movie. Feel free to throw it into the VCR later.” (Yes kiddies, I am from the era of VHS tapes). The movie, of course, was Grease.
Somehow, over the course of my life, I had managed to avoid any sleepovery occasion that would have required me to watch this movie, so I was actually kind of happy at the prospect of seeing it when we popped it in.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are aspects of the movie I can get behind. I can get behind the message that dropping out of school is a bad idea because I think that school is important. I can get behind the song making fun of Sandra Dee because I enjoy snarky songs. I can even get behind the casting of a 34-year-old Stockard Channing as a teenage because I do generally like her as a person (I mean I’ve never seen her name on a movie poster and gone squealing with happiness into the theatre, but she seems like a perfectly nice lady). What I can’t get behind is that crappy and completely wrong ending.
If you’ve never seen it, let me fill you in. Danny Zucko, a greaser biker guy, realizes he’s been an asshat to poor Sandy Olsson, a cute little prep girl, and so he throws on a preppy little letterman sweater and goes off to the school carnival in hopes of finding her. However when he gets there, he finds Sandy waiting for him and all tarted up in those pants they had to sew her into.
So what does he do? He whips off his preppy little sweater, symbolically abandoning any of his relationship compromises, while Sandy just stays in the pants, now having to embrace a whole new persona just to date a guy with creepy looking hair!
Now I realize Sandy couldn’t really have flung off her pants, because that would have been awkward and unseemly*, especially for a movie that was theoretically set in the 1950s, but the whole thing bugged the crap out of me when I first saw it, especially when I saw how Barbie and Betty were reacting to it, because they totally loved it and thought it was awesome that Sandy was such a spineless wimp.
I don’t really consider myself a feminist in any sort of flag-waving militant sense, but I absolutely hate any time any piece of media depicts a girl putting up with crappy behaviour or completely giving up/changing a part of herself to be with a guy. It’s totally wrong and unfair and infuriating because it’s the kind of stuff that subconciously passes down from generation to generation. “If I keep my mouth shut, never eat on dates and get a makeover then that guy from school will like me!” And how messed up would that be, an entire generation of women wearing troweled on makeup while they mutely eat dinner salads ?
So boo-urns to you Grease! Until I see a version where both Danny and Sandy “shape up” and treat each other right, I’m not a fan.
*Although if they did a remake of it now, with how blase people have been since the Lindsay/Britney cooter flashings, the pantless thing would probably be a lot more acceptable.