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  • Writer's pictureRKPROST

Teen Magazine Influence on "Clueless"

Clueless depicts a stylized life filled with fashion and wealth. One parallel I found interesting from the Leppert's Clueless and the Teen Makeover was how the film integrated elements from teen magazines into the storyline. Especially since I did not grow up reading teen magazines and was unfamiliar with their troupes, I did not realize the allusions the film made to them. Although many people may not be able to relate to the glamor, the film's message about one trying to conform and "fit in" is a takeaway an audience can connect to.

Cher takes it upon herself to mentor Tai to better navigate the high school atmosphere. For example, "Cher's voice-over condescendingly dubs [Tai] 'adorably clueless'" (Leppert 132). Cher self-appoints herself as having authority over attraction and matchmaking. Cher is like a teen magazine reader feeling superior to those who are "less fortunate or more clueless," after reading the "embarrassing-moments sections, quizzes, and confessional narratives" (Leppert 136). She disapproves of her friend Dionne's romantic pursuits, encourages a relationship between her two teachers, and tries to end Tai's natural attraction toward a skateboarder and guide her toward a popular boy. Additionally, Cher embodies the role of an older sister, which "McRobbie notes that the columnists of Jackie are 'like older sisters; young and trendy enough to understand the girls' problems but also experienced and wise enough to know how to deal with them'" (Leppert 133). Tai may believe that life is somehow perfect for Cher even though she has a limited perspective of what she chooses for the public to see.

Cher portrays an illusion of herself where it appears as if she has everything figured out. For instance, "Despite Cher's confident didacticism when it comes to dating, she falls short in her own seduction attempt, which further calls her 'expert' status into question" (Leppert 135). Even though Cher carefully planned and possibly followed the steps from a magazine, its advice is not universally true to everyone all circumstances. If everyone reads the same magazine and does the same things, it would make one more predictable rather than crafting a person who stands out. Clueless suggests that being authentic is more attractive than trying to act like someone else.

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