“OK, you’re a cab.”
Saturday evening, my oldest daughter and I indulged in a late night viewing of Singin’ in the Rain. We like older movies. I like older romances, Liesl likes vintage war movies like The Devil’s Brigade. Both of us love Singin’ in the Rain.
I like watching movies for pure entertainment, but I can never quite turn my mother-radar off. As Liesl grows into a young woman, finding movies that appeal to her maturing tastes while communicating positive values is increasingly challenging. Liesl’s brother Kurt – who is only a year younger – is more of a “special effects” kind of guy. The technology involved in making movies matters more than the storyline: “smooching” is generally frowned upon and character development fast-forwarded when not altogether absent. At any rate, I like when male characters sweep their female counterparts off their feet before dropping them at their doorstep – but no further – with nothing more than a kiss. But yesterday I found yet another reason to like 50-year-old movies:
Isn’t it striking how the image of the female body has changed since 1952? When women were still allowed to have hips and thighs, just to name two body parts that have now been expunged from entertainment?
If only to bring this point home, last weekend was Brigitta’s dance recital. Argh. The dancing was grand, I’ll give them that. But the costumes? Some of them were cute, most of them were ridiculous and four routines were all-time worst dance outfit chart toppers. Vile. My brother-in-law excused himself from recital duty saying that one had to be a pervert to sit for two hours looking at little girls prance around in swimsuits. My father, who takes recital duty very seriously, was not amused by the suggestion. Nonetheless, I felt uncomfortable at times looking at teenage femmes fatales dance to the James Bond theme in fishnet stockings and leather bras. What I found most disconcerting however was the apparent disregard of those who pick the outfits for those who don’t fit in them. The girls making-up the dance school’s clientele are in large part suburban little girls looking to have a good time, not professional dancers. Some outfits served no other purpose but to showcase why some little girls will never be prima ballerinas. The body types have not changed since Singin’ in the Rain, only the expectations have.