Among the countless articles written about Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh this week, Constance Grady’s “The rape culture of the 1980s, explained by Sixteen Candles” may have the most original premise. The piece, published by Vox, connects the Supreme Court nominee’s high school and college days to the John Hughes comedy, which includes a reference to date rape that’s played for laughs. Molly Ringwald, who starred in the oddly beloved teen movie, shared the article on Twitter and included a simple note: “I could not agree more.”
“‘Sixteen Candles’ isn’t a college sex romp like ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ or ‘Animal House,'” writes Grady after pointing out that those two films are extremely problematic in their own right. “It’s a high school love story. It’s been celebrated for 34 years for its sweet, romantic heart. Yet it is entirely willing to feature a lengthy, supposedly hilarious subplot in which a drunk and unconscious girl is passed from one boy to another and then raped.”
Ringwald remains best known for her collaborations with Hughes, including “Pretty in Pink” and “The Breakfast Club.” Earlier this year, she penned a New Yorker article explaining why she’s “troubled” by the latter film more than 30 years later: a scene in which Judd Nelsons’ character looks up her skirt.
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“Bender sexually harasses Claire throughout the film,” she wrote. “When he’s not sexualizing her, he takes out his rage on her with vicious contempt, calling her ‘pathetic,’ mocking her as ‘Queenie.’ It’s rejection that inspires his vitriol…He never apologizes for any of it, but, nevertheless, he gets the girl in the end.”
— Molly Ringwald (@MollyRingwald) September 28, 2018