PREFACE: I am aware that Grease is a product of its time, and I do genuinely like most of the movie, especially the soundtrack. But what was acceptable in the 1950s, when the movie is set, and in 1978 when it was released, does not always translate well to our present day. This article is not an attack against the whole movie, it is just detailing my opinion of the controversial ending in terms of Sandy’s transformation. I do not wish to cause offence to anyone.
Young people today are bombarded by images of what they ‘should’ look like, due to social media exposure. The ‘perfect’ body is just a societal construct, and this unhealthy ideal needs to be eradicated. Young people should be encouraged to accept themselves no matter their shape and size, and to be confident in themselves as people. No one likes horrible people, even if they are a size petite. The movie musical Grease is still popular today, and while the songs are undeniably catchy, I don’t think the message portrayed by Sandy’s drastic change at the end of the movie is entirely the right one to be sending out to today’s impressionable teens and young adults.
Sandy’s reason for altering her appearance was to secure the attraction of her love interest, Danny. She felt that the way to be happy was to squeeze her body into skin-tight clothing and plaster her naturally beautiful face with makeup. Making herself overly sexual to secure a relationship sends out the message that women must dress in ways that will please men, and that men will pay more attention to outward appearance than personality. This is a hideous injustice to both men and women; women are not subservient, and it should not be generalised that men are shallow.
I am absolutely not saying that young people shouldn’t dress in in ways that make them feel amazing and beautiful and confident, and dress for themselves rather than for someone else. I am saying, however, that Sandy was perfectly happy with her original appearance until things became tricky with Danny. I do acknowledge that Sandy seemed to fit comfortably into her new image and that nobody forced her into making the decision to change so much, but ultimately she changed to have more in common with Danny’s bad boy persona, and I think that message is problematic for young people today.
On the other hand, Danny was prepared to change too. He tried to become more of a jock in an attempt to please Sandy, so credit where it’s due. Although, the sight of the new Sandy made all that fly out of the window. Moreover, she supposedly meant a lot to him the way she was before and yet he never told her this, nor did he tell her that she does not need to change for his sake.
Frenchie and the other Pink Ladies were guilty of this too. They encouraged the radical transformation instead of boosting Sandy’s self-confidence when there was nothing wrong with her, to begin with. What’s worse, she changed her personality to get the guy, so did Danny and Sandy ever really have that much in common?
These are some of my thoughts. I hope this movie does not have a negative impact on our present and future generations.