Grease: An American Classic With the Wrong Message

Grease. When you hear the name, what pops into your mind? Olivia Newton-John in her smooth blonde ponytail and poodle skirt or maybe in a leather jacket with hair that is larger than life? You possibly picture John Travolta in extremely tight pants and his Elvis coif. Then again you might not picture anything at all but instead have “Grease is the word/ is the word/ that you heard/It’s got groove it’s got meaning…” running through your head (Sorry about that…). Either way, you make an instant connection when you hear even the word.

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No one can argue that it is an American classic. You are lulled into a happy trance as you are entertained with tunes such as ”Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “Beauty School Dropout”. As the movie comes into its grande finale of “We Got Together”, out steps Olivia/Sandy sporting her new ‘do and fashion sense. It’s so great and everyone is happy and the movie is over, right? Well, not really. Not in my book, at least. Since when is it okay to tell an audience for generations that a girl (or any person, really) should change who they are in order to be with the person they love? Especially since it was because no one else would approve of them being together based on what, aesthetics?

Now, you’ll have to believe me, I am not one to go on a feminist rant. That being said, I cannot help but point out the hypocrisy here. We live in a world that tries to promote equality of the sexes, do we not? In a world where we are encouraged to not to change our person for anyone else, whether it is to fit in or to be loved, because there is someone out there who will accept us for exactly we are. Still with me? If this is all true, then why does no one else have a problem with this movie? The movie could have ended just as happily had Sandy stepped out looking exactly as she had earlier but realizing that they could be together despite what anyone else thought of them.

Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear your take on it in the comment section below.

  • Chris

    Great read, Chelsea! But the play (upon which the film was based) was written in the very early 70′s and the story takes place in the late 50′s. Times have changed and YES, we know this is not the message we want for women today. So as long as we don’t reinforce the themes in the film and just enjoy it for the entertainment it is, hopefully we won’t have to put it on a blacklist.

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