Yesterday was Labour Day, and I spent it strolling around the local botanical gardens, which include a Japanese garden, a rose garden, a rock garden, a poisonous plant garden (!), an Indigenous garden, etc. In the evening, and because the news has been so negative and depressing lately, I watched one of my favourite mini-series: Anne of Green Gables (1985). It can be watched like a movie, as can its sequel (Anne of Avonlea, 1987). Watching it again I was struck, as I have been before, at how wholesome it is—especially compared to movies of the 21th century. It contains no sex, nudity or explicit language. Good manners and respectful behaviour are the norm rather than the exception. Moreover, no women or girls are sexually assaulted or even in any real danger (sexual or otherwise). It is also brimming with strong female characters, including the lead character, who have goals, ambition, true friendships with other women and healthy relationships with men.
The other thing I couldn't help noticing was teenage girls' clothing. Unlike the teenage girls dressed like street-level prostitutes in current movies (see the movie stills below from The Bling Ring and Easy A) the teenage girls in Anne of Green Gables are fully dressed. The reason for this is not simply because the story takes place in the early 1900s. Teenage girls were also fully dressed in movies from the '80s (see the movie stills below from Pretty in Pink and The Heathers). The portrayal of teenage girls in mainstream movies is one of the dozens of things I have documented for my upcoming 700-page book on the sexualization of women in media—for which I analysed over 425 mainstream movies.
© 2018 Alline Cormier