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Was John Hughes the voice of our generation?

By Laura Taylor

The world that director John Hughes created onscreen in movies like Sixteen Candles, Ferris Beuller's Day Off and The Breakfast Club defined our generation. He had a unique ability to tap into the very real and angst-driven everyday teen life we experienced growing up in the 1980's. We all identified with one of his characters (or at least knew people who did).

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Not all of us got to drive off with Jake, but we were all hoping that this would happen.

 

My idol was Molly Ringwald, the normal girl who didn't fit cleanly into the freaks and geeks buckets but rather represented the average teen girl who was trying to figure out the world. Granted, not all of us got to drive off with Jake, but we were all hoping that this would happen...maybe...someday. 

I made three movies with John Hughes; when they were released, they made enough of a cultural impact to land me on the cover of Time magazine and to get Hughes hailed as a genius.
— Molly Ringwald, via The New Yorker

Looking back at the 80's, Hughes films showed that not all of us were the stereotypes that wore legwarmers everyday, spoke like Valley girls and had huge hair. These were not my norms and it's been funny to see what today's trendsetters extract as cultural norms for an entire decade. 

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Hughes films showed that not all of us were the stereotypes that wore legwarmers everyday, spoke like Valley girls and had huge hair.

Molly Ringwald recently wrote a piece for the New Yorker, looking back at the movies she made with John Hughes 30 years ago.  In it she talks about the impact those films had on a whole generation as well as what it's like to watch them with her own children now. 

John wanted people to take teens seriously, and people did... I think that it’s ultimately the greatest value of the films, and why I hope they will endure. The conversations about them will change, and they should. It’s up to the following generations to figure out how to continue those conversations and make them their own—to keep talking, in schools, in activism and art—and trust that we care.
— Molly Ringwald, via the New Yorker

I hope that today's teens (my kids included) can find relatable characters (not connected via cell phones!) in Samantha, Jake, and Ferris as well as all the others.

While some things change, so many things still stay the same.


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Ready to share your own story about how growing up in the 80’s influenced you? YAY! Please share your name, contact info, story (500-750 words is ideal) and add link to any supporting media (like video, photo, IG post, etc). Within 48 hours of getting your submission, I will get in touch with you about next steps. In the meantime, why not flashback to all your 80’s faves on our Instagram?

I can’t wait to read YOUR story.

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