I must confess I loved Dirty Dancing when I was in college. I was also naïve. Back then I was Baby, the smart girl who never got the HOT Johnny Castle guy. So all I cared about was that this smart/not that hot chick ended up becoming this great dancer AND getting the HOT guy to fall for her. Somehow I managed to ignore the whole part about the ‘back alley’ abortion, and the fact that Baby ends up having sex with the HOT guy she has known for less than 2 weeks. I am pretty sure the version in my head has a part two where after Johnny returns for the final dance, he follows her to college, proposes, they get married and have 2.5 children with a white picket fence, thereby excusing her having sex with him so quickly. Uh yeah. When you are a virgin, this whole thought process seems quite possible. You think that when a guy has sex with you it MUST be because he sees how valuable and incredible you are and that he will never let YOU go because you are SO DIFFERENT than every other girl he has slept with.
So when talk came up recently about the remake of Dirty Dancing, I had mixed opinions along with the rest of the world simply because I didn’t think anyone could replace Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze…and since I have been told I look like Jennifer, well someone replacing US seemed …sad. But secretly, I wondered…if it meant promoting the smart girl getting the HOT guy again, I was intrigued. What I didn’t think through was: promoting that all abortions pre-legal were done ‘in a back alley’. The truth is abortions were happening in doctors’ offices back then too. Our clients admit that. Could this really be a way for pro-choice people to push the image yet again what a horrible fate will befall women if abortion is made illegal?
The other thing is that it promotes a smart girl having sex with a HOT guy within two weeks of knowing him, fully knowing that a future with him is unlikely since this is a summer romance. We don’t know if they use birth control, but we do know they have sex. And we do know that all of a sudden Johnny is a changed man. At my age, I have since learned that even the smart pretty girls who have sex with the HOT guy don’t turn them around so easily. Most don’t return for the ‘magical dance’.
I was challenged to think about this and possibly change my perception of this movie based on this article I read it online and felt really convicted. You would think in my line of work, I would have realized the negative influence this movie, wrapped in good music and some skilled dancing, could have to a whole new generation. That another generation of girls would act stupid pretty quickly when said HOT boy gives them some attention. How easily I was sidetracked….how easily could our young people be sidetracked?
What do you think?
Renee Rizzo is President and CEO of Hope Clinic for Women. She feels passionate about helping all people; especially women who have been hurt or broken, realize there IS hope, and that God has a purpose for each one of us.