By Tracee Sioux
I took my kids and my Grandma to see Hairspray (Full-Screen Edition) at the $1 movie. What a great family flick. Well, I’m not sure my grandma appreciated the subject matter (she’s still not completely sure integration is going to work out.)
There’s the obvious message about race and integration. But, beneath that there is an equally good message about size and gender.
The heroine, Tracy Turnblad, is a . . . what am I allowed to say without pissing anyone off. . . NOT a size Zero (not that here’s anything wrong with being naturally thin).
Tracy is depicted as the hippest and most insightful and fashionable of the girls. Other girls start to cut and color their hair like hers. They imitate her dance moves and vote her Ms. Hairspray. She gets a modeling contract for a dress store. She even scores the leading man, Link Larkin (Zac Efron of High School Musical).
Edna Turnblad (John Travolta in a fat suit and a dress), turns out, hasn’t left the house in 10 years due to embarrassment about her size. It brings to light that women weren’t allowed to have a ton of dreams or ambition – she shares that she dreamed of owning a coin-opperated laundry mat, but gave that up. Nor did housewives “stay home and not work” which is how our Norman Rockwell memory likes to paint the wife of the 1960s, rather they took in other people’s laundry to make ends meet. Tracy made her mom her manager and asked her to negotiate her contract. Such a new thing for any woman, let alone one who felt her appearance wasn’t even good enough to be seen in public.
I’ll teach you how to do it mom, Tracy tells her mother. We’ve been teaching our mothers how to think in new ways and challenge the status quo for a couple of generations now. I can’t wait for the lessons my daughter teaches me.
The bottom line is that this is a movie with powerful female characters who reject their “proper place” in society. Tracy not only thought up and led an integration march, she risked her boyfriend, to do it.
Change isn’t just going to happen for people who are different. We’re going to have to DO something to make it happen, she tells her father.
This kind of feminine power is important for girls to see.
Plus, it came with the added perk of Zac Effron. He’s Ainsley’s first movie star crush and she told me she was dreaming about last night. I have to admit, he’s totally crush-worthy.
(p.s. I’m perfectly aware that this movie review comes out only in time for the Hairspray (Full-Screen Edition). But, I respect my budget and that’s what I can afford. Not to mention no one cares if my 18-month-old runs up and down the aisles at the dollar movie.)
My recommendation: remove a princess movie and replace it with Hairspray which has great and empowering messages for girls.