This is one conflicted song. On one hand, Cyndi Lauper does seem to be preaching a positive feminist message. The tune itself sounds triumphant, as do some of the lyrics. Lauper sings, "Some boys take a beautiful girl/ And hide her away from the rest of the world/ I want to be the one to walk in the sun." So, she seems to think that boys/men should not try to control or monopolize their girlfriends. By saying, "I want to be the one to walk in the sun," she seems to claim her independence from men.

And then there are the lines, "When the working day is done/ Girls -- they want to have fun." This can be interpreted as a refusal to give into society's mundane work-sleep-eat patterns. Girls may have to work, but they sure as hell won't give up their fun. However, these lines can also be interpreted in a different way. In saying, "Girls just want to have fun," Lauper implies that all girls just want to have fun. While this may seem like nit picking on my part, the statement does make a gross generalization, which is exactly what a stereotype is and exactly what feminism tries to eradicate. Some girls/women would prefer emotional stability, a long-term relationship, a good book, or any number of other things to simple fun. After all, fun is pretty short-term, whereas there are plenty of other things that are much more fulfilling in the long run. So, claiming that "Girls just want to have fun" not only assumes that women all have the same desires, but also denies the more complicated goals that many women have.

If you're still not convinced, consider the line, "That's all they really want." Maybe the line "Girls just want to have fun" could have been interpreted to mean that fun is just one of the many things that most girls want (which would be a fairly reasonable assumption for Lauper to make). But when Lauper gets to "That's all they really want," there's no denying it. She is saying that the only thing that all girls/women want is fun. In addition to the previous arguments that she is making huge generalizations and not giving women credit for their variety of serious goals, she is also making them sound incredibly shallow. Fun is something frivolous; it is going to a party, dancing at a club, playing videogames. Of course fun is important -- for relaxation, social bonding, and so on --but focusing only on fun would be foolish. This is the sort of thinking that corresponds with the idea that men should be the breadwinners, the ones who deal with the money so that the women don't have to worry their pretty little heads about it.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun is a 1985 movie direct by Alan Metter. Staring Helen Hunt and Sarah Jessica Parker, this film hits the 80s dance craze in the same manner as Flashdance and Dirty Dancing. The main difference is only Girls is aimed more at a preteen audience.

The plot centers around Janie (Parker) and Lynne (Hunt), two Catholic school girls. Janie is the "new girl" and Lynne is the "wild girl" who befriends her and teaches her to break the rules. The girls bond over a mutual love of dancing and end up auditioning for parts on their favorite tv show "Dance TV." Conflict erupts as Janies father (Ed Lauter), Colonel Glenn, forbids her from doing it. Lynne convinces her to try out and to lie to her father about it. The plot is pretty predictable from here on out.

The movie is a cute, truly 80s piece of work. Its worth seeing if you like nostalic feel good movies like this, or if you like to see now famous stars (including Shannen Doherty) acting in their ealry teens.

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