Okay, I need to address something really quick about one of my favorite musicals. For some reason, some people believe that the message behind GREASE (1978) is a sexist one: “turn into a slut and you’ll get the guy you want.” I can see why it would be misinterpreted in this way but I really need to straighten this out for those of you who agree.
No, Grease is not a sexist film. If you actually watch it, what moves the film along is the inner struggle Danny feels with his public persona and the real Danny he’s only shown Sandy. You would then realize that it was Danny who tried fixing the relationship in the first place by changing himself first. He went against the principles of the T-Birds, his best friend Kenickie, and his own reputation to become a jock, the most ridiculed clique in high school during the 1950’s. He made a fool of himself just to prove to her that she meant everything to him.
Now, Danny has a very different lifestyle than Sandy does— and it’s a life that she secretly covets. She secretly wishes she had the ambition that Frenchie has, the confidence that Rizzo has, the self-assurance Marty has, the freedom that Jan has. She actually does have all of this deep inside, just not the courage to let it shine through.
Luckily for her, Danny is a compelling enough force to give her that confidence she craves. She doesn’t want to be timid, quiet, and shy for the rest of her life. She wants to be herself, without fear. Who better to teach her than her dearest friends Frenchie, the Pink Ladies, and the boy that taught her how to love?
And of course, anyone actually listening to the lyrics of “You’re the One That I Want”? She’s basically telling him to toughen up, grow the hell up, and she might consider being with him. She’s finally liberated, exuding a confidence she knew was there all along. Danny, too, knew it was there all along! He loved her regardless of whether or not she was in skin-tight pants or a poodle skirt. She now knows what she wants and is going right after it!
They proved their love to each other in their own ways: Danny by leaving his friends behind and becoming the exact opposite of what a T-Bird represents, and Sandy by breaking past her comfort zone to find her true self. I think it’s the most beautiful, realistic love story in a high school setting ever portrayed in a musical. So to those of you who think it’s sexist?
Shut the hell up, you haven’t even seen it.