I was going to write about these chick flicks I've been watching through various domestic chores over the past few weeks. There is nothing to soothe the weary domestic through her day like the Lifetime Channel for Women. I was going to write about how fucked up Legally Blonde is for making Elle Woods smilingly agree to protect that vile woman who's built her fortune "perfecting women's bodies," all the while lying about "perfecting" her own on the plastic surgeon's table. WTF, right? Or even worse, that moment in the Sex and the City movie when Samantha shows up with like the tiniest gut and the whole crew pretends that the only way to avoid a bikini-ready belly at 50 is to shovel endless piles of junk food into your gaping maw.
The way women's bodies are dealt with in pop culture is endlessly frustrating.
But it was my kabillionth viewing of Pretty in Pink that really astonished me. See, I have been on Team Ducky my whole life. Why, just this morning I said to Don, "I cannot BELIEVE she picked that vapid rich boy when sweet, funny Duckie was right there..." But even as the words were coming out of my mouth, my feminist brain suddenly went, "Wait...no."
Because there's this thing we talk about in feminist circles: The Nice Guy(tm). This is the guy who believes that girls are a commodity to be purchased with a currency of courtesy. It doesn't matter if a girl is out of his league, lookswise, or if they have nothing in common, or (for crying out loud) if she just doesn't like him. Once the guy puts in the nice time, the only reason a girl might have for not throwing her panties at him is that she's a shallow bitch. It's a nasty notion that never seems to go away.
But in Pretty in Pink, Duckie goes from Nice Guy(tm) to nice guy. He knows that Andie doesn't want to be his girlfriend and so he stops trying to make her feel obliged to be his girlfriend. And Blaine recognizes that he fucked up, ditches his gross friends and walks out of the prom, away from pretty Andie in the seriously fugly dress (amirite?) with no expectations of her. At the end of Pretty in Pink, Andie has agency over her own romantic life. She makes the choice and chooses, wisely, the one she's attracted to.
(I'm just going to gloss over how Duckie does get rewarded with a girl for being nice. Because I have a heart and am therefore happy that Duckie got laid on prom night.)