After seeing the Psychedelic Furs this weekend, it got me feeling a bit nostalgic. Song after song made me think of a specific feeling or memory…or movie scene. Remember how much of our preteen and teenage years were spent in the 80s watching Molly, Anthony, Judd and Matthew navigate semi-successfully through the trials of teenagedome? And all of them were punctuated by a great pop-punk soundtrack. Although these movies were entertaining, they were also a sorta- realistic guide through puberty. They dealt with issues like teenage insecurity, awkward social situations, pressure and expectations, young crushes and teenage relationships (with boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, parents and authority figures). We could all relate to at least one character in The Breakfast Club, couldn’t we?
It also got me thinking about my kids as they are blossoming into adolescence. What is going to be their Sixteen Candles or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Looking through the Disney channel and whats playing in the theaters now, its obvious this generation of teens are expected to “grow up” a little faster and their value is somewhat based on superficiality. No matter the generation, there will always be the strive for acceptance as a teenager, but I feel like now-a-days there is more pressure on that age group to be “cool” or good-looking or “normal” to be accepted. Movies today are filled with beautiful young people, and are putting a false sense of importance to the physical part of young relationships instead of the emotional side of being in a relationship with another person. (Of course, I know that not every movie is like that and there are some positive movies and young role models our there, so Im not meaning to bash the whole entertainment industry!). But looking back at movies like Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles, Some Kind of Wonderful or even Weird Science…these movies focused on uniqueness, individuality, by-passing social stereotypes and embracing who you are no matter what you looked like, dressed like or hung around with. It made us all feel like we could be important, liked and popular for being you. AND these movies were box office hits and created a whole set of young stars who were all unique and imperfect in their own perfect ways.
So, here’s to you John Hughes for creating a whole generation of unique, confident, individual young people who weren’t afraid to be different or to develop relationships with kids who were different than them.