A recent hobby of mine has been to watch movie trailers for upcoming cinema. Recently, I watched a trailer and I couldn’t help but be filled with a sense of rage I haven’t experienced from a trailer in some time.
A new movie opened in theaters yesterday called The Duff. By watching the trailer, I learned that this movie focuses primarily on Bianca, a high school senior who is self content until she attends a party and hears that she is called a Duff. When learning that D.u.f.f stood for designated ugly fat friend, she was upset and became determined to change her social status. From the looks of the trailer, this OBVIOUSLY can only be done by the help of a very attractive and athletic man. He will help make her “hot” by changing her wardrobe, appearance, attitude, and personality.
As a feminist, the premise of this movie really got to me. Let’s take an already really easily impressionable age group and convince them through media that they need to change something or everything about themselves.
It also makes me sad that someone like Mae Whitman, who plays the main role as Bianca, who is neither fat nor ugly — even in Hollywood— must subset herself to this kind of work to get a lead part. (Because if you have seen her in other work you know she is a fabulous actress!)
Let me say that I saw this movie as someone who enjoys seeing negative female stereotypes get shut down on a daily basis and I thought I knew what I was getting into.
HOWEVER, in my personal opinion, I don’t think anyone should critique anything until after they’ve seen it. So, I took my butt to the theater, spent $11.50, and saw The Duff. After seeing it, I noticed a few things that the trailer completely left out.
- The main character is a feminist. Bianca Piper, played by Mae Whitman, is a total badass. She marches to the beat of her own drum, is witty, doesn’t give into bullshit, and has an amazing sense of humor.
- This is SO not a movie suitable for high schoolers. This movie used a ton of vulgar language, sexual encounters, and mentioned porn quite a bit. When I was in high school, these weren’t things found in movies.
- For once, it shows the girl getting the guy. Usually with movies the focus is always on “the guy getting the girl.” It was so refreshing to see a strong female character being represented in a “teen” drama.
- There was a hot braniac character. A side character, Casey, was considered to be one of the most attractive people in the movie, and was also a BADASS computer hacker. She was able to take down a cyber bullying video of Bianca with a few clicks, and looked absolutely awesome doing it.
- This movie was actually fairly self-empowering. I know from the trailer it does not seem like it but it is. It has a female realization that changing any piece of yourself to appease others is wrong. Being who you are is what shines through and that is something that should be taught to easily impressionable young people.
So all in all, I was wrong. The Duff was actually much better than I originally gave it credit for. I suggest seeing it before making a final judgment call, but to me, a movie that looked like it could be HORRIBLE for society turned out to be way better that planned.