to all the boys ive loved before

Writer sheds light on modern teen dramas

Sep 12 • Arts & Leisure, Top Stories • 1109

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Growing up, each generation has its choice of teen movies.
Often times, these are the ones that define the cultural aspects of their time.
Years later, these films can be used to represent the times during which they were filmed.
Today movie studios are trying to shine a completely different light on female characters.
Instead of the “I need a man to think for me” complex, they are giving young females real-life choices.
This is revealed in newer Netflix movies: “The Kissing Booth,” “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “Sierra Burgess is a Loser.”
“The Kissing Booth” revolves around young Elle Evans, who breaks her number one rule: falling for her best friend’s older brother.
Although Elle’s character is the stereotypical teenage girl character, she proves to have a sense of independence.
Instead of pushing her best friend away, she tries to bring everyone together.
In “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” the producers took a new perspective to the main character.
They decided to cast up-and- coming Asian-American actress Lana Condor as the main character to create a more diverse aspect.
This move could be a possible stepping stone for cultural diversity in the film world.
Recently, another film was released to continue on the diversity track.
“Sierra Burgess is a Loser” is about a young girl, often the target of humiliation, who gets the chance to wow a cute boy and step out of her comfort zone.
The film touches on bullying and catfishing, two common topics in today’s world.
Although catfishing is frowned upon in today’s society, the main character is not once punished for doing so.
As newer teen films are released, it is only appropriate to acknowledge the films that paved this pathway.
In the 1980s, films were memorable for many aspects, including big hair, bright color and the terms “rad” or “gnarly.”
Such things could be found in movies, like “16 Candles,” “Pretty in Pink” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
These movies were the start of well-rounded female characters.
At first glance, it may not seem like it, but watching the movie a few more times and one may start to see why.
Both “16 Candles” and “Pretty in Pink” tell the typical story of a young teen girl who makes all of her decisions based upon a boy.
Often times, this is the storyline for most 1980s teens films.
Although “Can’t Buy Me Love” is based around the life of a male main character, the same themes are presnt.
He falls under the spell of a female and makes his life decisions around her choices.
As you move to the late 1990s/early 2000s, a different side of these young female characters is soon revealed.
Although they still follow the storyline, the female characters start to show a sense of independence.
Popular movies from this time include “Mean Girls,” “A Cinderella Story” and “Clueless.”
Each female character goes through her own struggles, but shows she does not need a man to fix her problems, even though they each end up with the man they wanted.
As time goes on and cultures evolve, it is only a hope that films will continue on the road to diversity as well as entertainment.

OLIVIA HAHNER
hahner001@knights.gannon.edu

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