Saturday, October 27, 2007

the seventies

I just watched Gracie, a God-awful teen chick flick conceived by Elisabeth Shue. There are too many things bad about this movie to list, so I'll narrow my focus to: why the hell can't people accurately remember a decade?

The seventies are completely accessible to me, right down to the lyrics of Seasons in the Sun. Here is an incomplete list of what they got wrong:

1. Idioms. No one said "It's not gonna happen" or "Bite me." And teenage girls (except the pregnant, cigarette-smoking kind) never, ever swore. In fact, hardly anyone ever swore in front of them.

2. Backpacks. We didn't have them yet. Don't argue with me, because there was a foreign exchange student at my school who nearly got stoned to death for carrying one. At least this movie had people carrying JanSports, which was a backpack brand someone might buy had backpacks been thought of. Ridiculously, we carried our books in stacks in our arms. I remember wishing it were the 50s so we could use those satchels or book straps.

3. Sports bras. I don't know if the movie really got this wrong, because the scene in which Gracie asked her dad to hold her bra was a little indistinct. Was he holding her regular bra because she was putting on a sports bra? Was he handing her a regular bra because sports bras were yet to be invented? I'm not sure. (Actually, the "jogbra" was invented in 1977, and the movie was set in 1978 -- but in truth, we hadn't made the leap that the jogbra could be used for anything other than jogging.)

4. Big t-shirts. Yeah, you could sorta wear them. But more for nighties, not for playing soccer.

5. Brown eggs. Weren't sold here in California. Maybe in New Jersey.

The part they did get right, which was the school board meeting to decide whether or not Gracie could try out for the boy's team, I kind of wish they hadn't. I hate remembering the way they talked to us back in those days. At my school, they canceled the annual Powder Puff football game because girls might get hurt. And they had the temerity to blame Title IX, saying they would be sued for not providing adequate sporting equipment like shoulder pads and helmets.

In this movie, the "she could get hurt" argument was launched, (it took a few more decades for parents to realize their sons were being bashed to death in football, but whatever) as well as the "boys will be afraid to play hard and do their best." Reminded me of the national debate over female airline pilots. People said that women's menstrual cramps would interfere with their ability to fly a plane.

There are some things about the seventies I'd like to forget. Rampant sexism, and "the stars we could reach...were just starfish on the beach."

1 comment:

paige lomas said...

So, what is that song about, Seasons in the Sun,...did I miss the point? Suicide? going to war? what???? Why not launch a website, Lyrics on Demand and What The Fuck They Mean. I would pay!