When I was a kid, I really wanted to be Veronica Lodge. But I was peer pressured into saying that I wanted to be Betty Cooper. It was understood even at a young age, that it was more acceptable to be the girl who would totally sacrifice herself for love, accept whatever meagre scraps she could get of a guy’s attention (Miss Cheap – well in terms of her own self-respect) than be the girl who used her sexual wiles in an aggressive way (hello, Easy.)
I understood it, but something about that, even then, didn’t sit right with me. For a while, I thought I’d found a neat loophole. I’d profess in our games of “which Archie character would you want to be?” that I wanted to be Sabrina, the teenaged witch. But that attitude just got me sent to the tetherballs – which was the social equivalent of being exiled to Elba.
I was reminded of this the other day when I saw a production of Grease. One of my all-time favorite musicals, I first saw it as a child. And remembered that the song I had always loved most was not “Hopelessly Devoted To You.” Not the song in which pure Sandy lays her heart bare in her overwhelming love for Danny, who let’s face it, is acting like a giant douche at this point, his own peer pressures notwithstanding. She’s willing to and I quote “sit around and wait for you.” Nicely managed Zuko. (In fact, I only ever liked Sandy once she tarted up. But I was never convinced it would last beyond being cut out of the catsuit.)
Nope. It was “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” – the song in which a sexually active teen *gasp* (okay, it was supposed to be the 1950s) announces that it would be worse to flirt and tease than to just be upfront about her actions. Refuse to hurt someone. Play it tough. I liked it’s saucy, “Sisters are doing it for themselves” kind of vibe – appealed to my love of strong romantic comedy heroines. (Because really Rizzo is great comic relief in this movie.)
I get that some people are uncomfortable with teens having sex. And this blog post isn’t about encouraging anyone one way or the other. It’s about me and probably a lot of other women I know, having been raised to believe that low self-esteem and being good, was the preferable socially sanctioned act to willing to go for what you want. Because I’d like to think that this “get me some” attitude wasn’t just confined to the bedroom. That Veronica and Rizzo could kick butt in a classroom or a boardroom. While Betty and Sandy wouldn’t have a hope in hell of breaking the glass ceiling.
I guess what I’m saying is that I wanted to be Veronica, wanted to be Rizzo, and I’m not afraid to say it. So if that makes me easy? Well, baby, that’s your problem.
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