Women In The 1980s

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Women in 1980s Films The 1980s experienced a shift toward conservatism, which could be attributed to political factors. Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, and conservative policies were quickly adopted. He devised an economic plan, which ultimately failed and created a high budget deficit. Nonetheless, the 1980s were plagued by consumerism and materialism, as more young men and women went to college and entered high-paying jobs (“The 1980s”). Without a doubt, women had made great strides from previous decades. However, despite the progress, many issued remained: “the gap between incomes for women and men narrowed but remained stubbornly persistent, abortion rights came under renewed attack, and awareness of and concern about the …show more content…
During this time, films became widely popular. Movies, such as Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Back to the Future (1985), and Ghostbusters (1984) became instant blockbusters among 15 to 25 year old white males. However, as movies consolidated as a highly profitable business, film producers sought to expand their audience. Because of this, coming-of-age movies that explored teenagers’ issues were particularly popular. Screenwriter and director John Hughes produced numerous films, including Weird Science (1985), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Pretty in Pink (1986), among others. The films’ success is credited with presenting teenagers as relatable protagonists, instead of mere background characters. Furthermore, these films seek to portray youth after the political changes of the 1980s, which included economic downturns, high unemployment rates, high divorce rates, and the erosion of “the patriarchal structure of American nuclear family” (Speed, …show more content…
It had been long since women could get an education, own property, and participate in politics. However, they were far from being equally accepted, even in movies. Sixteen Candles and Some Kind of Wonderful portray only two types of young women: the heroine and her superficial counterpart. Furthermore, although the characters are relatable, they lack substance. Samantha and Watts seem to ultimately exist for their love interests, and that is their be-all and end-all. Such portrayal is dangerous, as it limits the existence of women to men. Furthermore, it insinuates a woman can only fit into one of the molds. In the end, Hughes’ attempt to portray young women in the 1980s ultimately backfires, as he presents charming, relatable, but one-dimensional

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