Today, we’re going to look out how many high school girls are portrayed with having SOO many more options than we (or any of our friends) ever had.
Once again, Susan = Italics
Grease: As if the ‘50’s and ‘60’s in America didn’t have enough weird and disturbing things occurring, let’s place this turbulent social and political frenzy as the background to two instances of high school romances gone array, and put the whole stories to music.
Sandy represents everything that a young woman shouldn’t, she actively pursues a boy who clearly uses her for her appearance, and only begins to value her once she morphs into a slut. Classy, Danny. Sandy could have legitimately led an extremely June Cleaver life with the dummy and been moderately happy with his mindless stare, but then she wouldn’t have gotten to fly a convertible in the air at the senior fair (Did anyone even have a senior carnival …ever?). No, the only choice for the magic of celluloid and American dreams was Danny. Who can resist the allure of “Summer Nights” and “Hopelessly Devoted”? Not six year old me…even if I didn’t understand all of the rather appalling sexual innuendoes.
Stephanie in Grease 2 is more of an interesting situation as she begins her life as the rebellious chick in pants and refuses to compromise her desires for the uptight, English hottie, Michael. She has the idiotic Johnny worshipping the ground she walks on, but she chooses to “unconsciously” string him and Michael along as she slowly discovers her own identity beyond the satin pink jacket. Either way, she gets a high school king. Does her “cool rider” requirement make her demandingly bitchy, or somehow better than Danny because of her gender? That’s a question for another day on a different blog. The point is that you really can’t go wrong with upbeat music, swinging dancing, and clean-cut cuties. Grease is still the word.
Glee Girls: While I absolutely adore all of the girls on GLEE (except for uber-bitch Santana), I’m going to focus this particular discussion on somewhat rivals Rachel Berry and Quinn Fabray. Quinn originally starts off as the queen bee with all the options. Not only does she have football stud Finn Hudson eating out of the palm of her hand, but she’s pregnant with Noah “Puck” Puckerman’s baby (although she quite untactfully lies about that for most of season 1). Then, once she’s lost Finn and turned down Puck, she finds the adorable Sam (of the abnormally large mouth). But she can’t be happy with just Sam. Oh no. She has to recycle Finn. At least she’s being green, right?
Rachel Berry isn’t the type of girl you’d expect to have options. She obnoxious to an almost scary degree. But that doesn’t stop her from attracting Finn. And Puck (although he seems mostly to enjoy the fact that she is a fellow “Jew”). And the decidedly attractive and talented Vocal Adrenaline star Jesse St. James. Sadly, Jesse’s motives were not pure and he ended up egging the poor Miss Berry. In truth, it seems that showbiz and Finn are the only real Options for Rachel.
Side note: has anyone else noticed how incestuous these GLEE relationships are getting? Oh, wait, it's high school :)
Finally, a true smarty pants heroine who embraces the nerd within and still gets options. Gotta love that. Her guys, though somewhat of a different breed than the guys mentioned previously are nonetheless wonderful for all of their quirks and emotional baggage.
Let’s start out with an honorable mention for the title character of the series, Mr. Harry Potter. While the Boy who Lived and the Girl who Studied never actually started dating, there was the opportunity for such a relationship to develop in the earlier books, but didn’t, to the dismay of some (ME!!!-T). Still, she got to call him a best friend and ally, as well as be the much needed female presence in the trio of adventure buddies around Hogwarts.
Onto an actual boyfriend, enter here the moodily famous Quidditch player, Viktor Krum. He briefly appears in the actual scene of the narrative during the Triwizard Tournament, and takes a shine to our favorite bushy-haired bookworm. While Hermione seems extremely flattered with his invitation to the Yule Ball and his proposal to visit him in Bulgaria, Hermione and her faithful friends know that this is all a small speed bump on the way to Weasley/Granger bliss.
As for our favorite fuddy-duddy ginger, Ron makes his love for Hermione known through his naïvely jealous reactions to Hermione’s interest in Krum, and the good old “tease ‘em ‘til they know that you love ‘em” technique so popular among boys from 11-100. Hermione had options, but there was really only one spaz to balance out the uber smarts of our wunderkind. Weasley is our King!
Tomorrow: Into our comfort zone we go- Literary ladies with options.