Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of discussion about the newly released movie “The Duff.” At first, the story seems like a classic teen comedy recipe – a plain girl gets transformed into the prettiest girl on the block, while winning the affections of the high school stud. Through the years, we’ve seen this formula over and over in movies like “A Cinderella Story,” (Sam can’t get the guy without the help of AIM and a mask), “Grease” (Sandy needs to “sex up” to win over Danny Zuko) and “The Princess Diaries” (Mia isn’t a princess until her hair is stick-straight and shiny). While these movies all still have weight in our collective memories today, I do not think “The Duff” has the makings of a memorable high school chick flick.

I haven’t seen “The Duff” myself, but from what I have gleaned I don’t feel that “The Duff” is doing anything revolutionary. While the message of “The Duff” encourages girls to love themselves and embrace who they are, there is simply nothing special about the way they deliver this message.

I am the oldest of four girls. I constantly see my sisters struggling with the pressure to be perfect. I know firsthand the crazy, scary pressure that society pushes on women at a young age. Time and time again, one of my sisters or myself have felt the insane influence to be pretty, smart, flirty – the “right” kind of girl. This message is further spread through TV, magazines, billboards and in the language we use every day. By the time we are in high school, we rarely see girls that are comfortable in their skin and confident in themselves and their goals. Rather, we see hundreds of girls faking happiness and confidence and trying to be someone else.

This message is repeated in “The Duff.” We watch Bianca as she feels forced to change herself to become “the datable one.” Even though she eventually is able to embrace who she really is, this cannot be done without changing her appearance to become hotter, cooler, and altogether “better.” “The Duff” isn’t encouraging girls to stay true to themselves. Instead, it is implying that you can’t be yourself on the inside if you don’t look right on the outside.

This isn’t the message we should be sending to girls. Instead, let’s encourage each other to love ourselves now. Let’s encourage ourselves to stay true to our original Sams, Sandys, Mias and Biancas, pre-makeover. Girls should be comfortable in their own skin now and not wait for some nice friend to give a helping hand. Instead, girls should know the truth: No one is really a DUFF.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.