Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Girl: So Many Messages, Mostly About Hair

The entire 500Jerk family recently watched the new American Girl movie about Chrissa, a modern-day girl who triumphs over the bullies of her school. In the movie, Chrissa, a wholesome brunette American girl, is bullied by some extremely obnoxious classmates. Two of three in the bully clique are fashionable blondes with cell phones. You know right away there's a problem with these girls because they're blonde, fashionable, and have cell phones. You know, TOTAL villains. After becoming a bully target, Chrissa wants to stand up for herself and her dark-haired friends, one of whom is homeless. When the bullies cut the homeless girl's hair so it looks awful, Chrissa springs into action. She "rescues" one of the bullies from herself (the sole brunette and a Latina) by befriending her. Chrissa's posse then wear bandannas over their hair to show their solidarity. And in the end, Chrissa masterminds an effective anti-bullying campaign against the bad, blonde, non-headscarfed bullies with the help of her parents and teachers. Then everyone gets free hair extensions.

Oh, OK, I made that last part up.

The takeaway from Chrissa is this: Blondes are BAD. No, no, no, that can't be the message. Instead maybe: Hair IN GENERAL is bad. Hmmmm. . . . Or perhaps this: Brunettes are GOOD! And homeless people and Latinas, too!

OK, I know I'm being silly, and the movie does have important messages to impart. I'm not sure why I get completely sidetracked by hair* and silly demonstrations of political correctness. It just happens. And then I can't stop. Despite its obvious pandering to brunettes, the homeless, and Latinas everywhere, Chrissa is a good movie to get kids talking about exclusivity, meanness, and standing up for yourself. Boy Wonder (aka, "The Twitch") generally does not enjoy movies. But he was engrossed in this one.

I recommend it.

But I'm telling you in advance, this movie is mostly about hair.

* Which brings me to an interesting conversation I recently had with my hair stylist. We were discussing various teen pop celebrities (he's barely more than a teen himself), when I asked what he knew about Hannah Montana.

"That's the one no one likes until her hair is blonde, right?"he asked.


"Exactly," I said.

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