Let’s talk about makeovers in movies – the ones where a girl’s entire self-worth is determined by how she looks to a man? Yeah, those. It’s like watching a horror movie, but instead of a chainsaw-wielding maniac, it’s just a basic dude with a fragile ego. What brought this to mind, you ask? The Breakfast Club. An iconic John Hughes flick that up until recently was a guilty pleasure. I watched it again this week and it just didn’t hit like it used to.
Then I came across this. Because you know, the internet is spying on us.
Of course, the lovely Ally Sheedy played the equally lovely Allison Reynolds in The Breakfast Club. But like so many movies geared towards young people, there came the dreaded “makeover” scene. There’s usually an upbeat pop song playing over a montage of trying on new outfits, putting on makeup, straightening or coloring hair, or the most magical transition of all – taking off the glasses! Sure, the character may not be able to see now but at least she is finally seen by others, especially whichever guy she has her sights set on. And yes, I meant to make that pun.
Look, don’t get me wrong. I’m not against a character going through some self-reflection and making some personal changes in a movie. Hero’s journey, and all that jazz. But why does it inevitably fall to the female character to change? And if she were altering her appearance for her own personal wants, desires, or goals, that’s one thing, but to do so just for some arrogant dude’s attention is disappointing. That’s why the transformation scene like the one in The Breakfast Club is so frustrating. Because just like all the other ones, the jock or stupid boy crush has no interest whatsoever in making any real changes in himself. Just another entitled dude who thinks the world revolves around him, and well, to be quite frank, in these movies, it does. And apparently in real life too, hence the meme.
What’s more frustrating is that young people are the target audience of these movies. We’re continuing to tout this nonsense to the next generations. We’re teaching, or rather, trying to teach young women that they must adhere to contemporary beauty standards to be liked or loved. Worse, they need to subjugate themselves to a man’s whims. But you know what? Young women these days aren’t having it. They’re a force unto themselves and I’m glad to see it.
You know what movie had a great makeover scene? Grease. The main characters both changed because they wanted to be more of what the other wanted. They cared about each other and were willing to do whatever it would take to make the other one happy. Both of them. We need more of that and less of this one-sided crap. But it’s not surprising that Grease is the superior take on this trope. After all, Grease is the word.