Grease: The Satire

Flickr @classic_film

Just recently I decided to watch the movie Grease. It’s a musical romantic comedy that came out in 1978. It takes place in the 50s and is about two high school teenagers in love, Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko. It’s been popular ever since it came out in the public until now and has received high ratings. It seems innocent at first watch, but when you pay attention to the details and dialogue closely, you would be surprised by the amount of stereotypes about both genders that lurk in the film.

I was quite surprised by the first song that came on in the musical, “Summer Nights.” Although catchy, samples of the following lyrics caught me off guard:

“Tell me more, tell me more

Did you get very far

Tell me more, tell me more

Like does he have a car

Tell me more, tell me more

Was it love at first sight?

Tell me more, tell me more

Did she put up a fight?

He got friendly holding my hand

She got friendly down in the sand

He was sweet just turned eightteen

Well she was good you know what I mean.”

Now if we break apart the lyrics according to gender, these would be the all male parts:

“Tell me more, tell me more

Did you get very far

Tell me more, tell me more

Did she put up a fight?

She got friendly down in the sand

Well she was good you know what I mean.”

The lyrics portrays the male cast to only care about sex and even implies that forcing themselves upon women is normal, as depicted when asked, “Did she put up a fight?”

In the following are the all female parts:

“Tell me more, tell me more

Like does he have a car

Tell me more, tell me more

Was it love at first sight?

He got friendly holding my hand

He was sweet just turned eightteen.”

As shown in the lyrics, then women cast are illustrated as either hopeless romantics or to only care about a man’s money.

Those examples wasn’t the only time stereotypes were shown; the film has tons. But what’s a high school romantic comedy without overexaggerating everything, right? People often criticize the film to be sexist by upholding society’s gender roles, but they are mistaken. What many people may not know is that these sexist exaggerations is to criticize the gender roles that were placed back then, not to embrace them. It’s simply a satire of society’s expectations.

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