- Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) in Clueless
Clueless is one of those films you watch again and again. I first watched it in my formative years and loved the fashion and admired Cher. I still do admire her character but for different reasons, or maybe as an adult I have more of an understanding of why she is so likeable. As a teenager interested in fashion I admired her wardrobe, sense of style and fancy lifestyle. When I watch it now - I am 29 years old - I appreciate this film because it is super female orientated, which is so refreshing.
I love Cher for so many different reasons. Obviously some of her quotes need to be taken with a pitch of salt. She could be perceived as materialistic but she is also kind, loyal and very quick witted - ‘doesn’t he look bigger’ ‘his head does.’ Although she doesn’t do well at school I don’t see her as an airhead the way a few of the other characters treat her; she does have a lot of other qualities. Being smart doesn’t always need to be getting the best grades.
The reason I feel like a lot of teenagers adore her is maybe because she is a popular girl who is nice? Like many teenagers at school I experimented with make-up, rolled my skirt up and really made an effort with my hair styles just to turn up for school. And whats wrong with that? It was perfectly innocent and a way to express myself, have fun and really figure out who I was. Unlike Cher I did take my studies very seriously but despite this I was treated by adults as someone who was only concerned with boys. Boys were actually never a priority of mine as I didn't actually kiss a boy until I was fifteen but I always felt like I was being judged for being interested in fashion and really just a normal teenager. I think quite often this allowed teachers to not be concerned when my grades started dropping at fifteen, or not take me seriously when I would ask teachers for extra help.
I am not going to lie, I had an ok time at school in regards to being ‘popular’ but that wasn't just me; I was nice, hard working, finding the teenager years tricky, bullied and also - like many teenagers - very misunderstood.
I feel like thats why I sympathised with Cher that although she was a girly girl she wasn't just that. When she is helping her dad with his work and one of his employees says ‘just forget it ok just go back to the mall or something.’ I feel like so many adults and films give an unfair representation of teenagers. They aren't ‘the cool kids’ ‘the nerds’ ‘the jocks’ - they are individuals that cant be put into a group or a stereotype. Teenager's intelligence shouldn't be based solely on their grades. The film Clueless is of course a comedy and parts of it shouldn't be taken so seriously but it is about self discovery which is what being a teenager is about. Figuring out who you are, making mistakes a long the way and enjoying the experiences of being a teenager even though at times it can be difficult.
I think a lot of young girls liked that Cher was a virgin and didn't care. In most teenage films the popular girl isn't a virgin and quite often we're made to believe that is the reason she is popular. Because why could a girl be popular for being funny or nice or intelligent or interesting? *eye roll*
Every girl has a right to do what she likes when she wants with her body and what I love about Cher was she didn't give into peer pressure she is doing what she wants with her body and when. ‘Cher you’re a virgin’ ‘you say that like its a bad thing.’ I too was a virgin until after my school years and although it was my decision and I think if I went back in time I would do the same, I do feel like so many teenagers get ridiculed at that age and a apart of that was the reason I waited. Because I didn't want to be judged by my peers or seen as a ‘slut’ which is ridiculous. Sex is the most natural thing in the world and instead of judging girls for having it BOYS and girls should be educated on it and not afraid to talk about it.
The film has a lot of truths that many teenagers can relate to. When Cher is driven home and ditched in the middle of nowhere because she rejects Elton who is being forceful, this isn’t made into a big deal for the rest of the film. He didn’t take no for an answer several times and put her in a difficult situation and it was just those two in the car and he took advantage of that. Unfortunately this is an experience almost every women has gone through at some point in their life including me. He insinuates she led him on and is trying to guilt her even though she clearly doesn't want to pursue anything with him. I do love that Cher didn’t let him continue despite the difficult situation she was in but I do wish this was shown as a more serious matter in the film as a way to show other teenage girls that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and also show boys this isn't ok.
Never let a boy make you feel uncomfortable, even if you cant articulate why. When something similar happened to me as a teenager I was filled with so much guilt, that maybe I had done something wrong. Because of this I didn’t tell anyone for a long time. I couldn't tell the teachers because I was never really very understood by them. I wish I had a proper understanding of this back then but I have never let a boy make me feel uncomfortable ever again.
Another example of Cher being relatable is when she says ‘I feel like such a heffer.’ Anyone watching can see that Cher isn't a ‘heffer’ but so many girls feel like this even more so with social media. ‘college girls wear less make up on their face and thats why boys like them’ is another example of how teenagers frequently feel as though the way they look to boys is so important.
Don’t let anyone tell you who you are, being a teenager can be fun despite all of the problems a long the way. Use this time to figure out who you really are and not who society thinks you should be. There is only one of you and that what makes you special. I spent so much as a teenager feeling as though studying and being cool and making everyone happy was important that I missed out on so many experiences. Don’t give yourself such a hard time and try and enjoy the journey of being a teenager.