Polls show that Hillary Clinton has a problem with likeability. Part of this can be attributed to her formal persona in a world that craves intimacy, personal revelations, and “sharing.” Another factor is her gender: it is certainly true that social media depicts ambitious women in a bad light. This goes double for girls.
Alice in Wonderland, despite her airy persona, was a rebel. She goes down the rabbit hole in the first place, leading to her famous adventures, because she is energetic, curious and tired of making daisy chains. In Jane Eyre Gets Real, a novel by Annabelle Troy, Alice finds herself in contemporary NYC. She is at first confused, then dismayed, to find that girls aren’t really viewed that differently now. OK, they are allowed to be overtly sexual, promiscuous, badly behaved–but focused and organized??? That is still taboo.
The character of Rachel Berry, portrayed by Lea Michelle in the highly popular TV show Glee, is a case in point. Rachel knows from early days that she wants to be a Broadway star. She perfects her craft and lets nothing stand in her way (she never does anything evil to get what she wants, she simply pursues her goal with great determination). Through a series of twists and turns, Rachel does finally become a Broadway star–in a hit musical entitled Jane Austen Sings! Ironically–or not–the actress who plays Rachel has been accused of being stand-offish, egotistical, and all-business. It is said Lea Michelle doesn’t mingle enough with her fans and that she concentrates more on her career than on her co-stars or social life.
Inspiration for the Rachel Berry character was rumored to stem from the 1999 movie Election, starring Matthew Broderick and a very young Reese Witherspoon. A fresh and biting comedy, Election shows the politics behind a small town high school election. Reese plays Tracy Flick, Hillary before there was a Hillary, who has set her mind on being class president. Matthew Broderick is the mild-mannered teacher in opposition to her; mediocre himself, Tracy’s larger than life ambition frightens him. He fixes the election so that his own favorite student, a friendly, athletic but rather stupid boy, wins instead. Tracy, however, has the last triumph. Yes, there is something funny in Tracy’s passion: her mom writes to famous women, including Connie Chung, to get career advice for her daughter; Tracy gets up at 4 am to bake cupcakes iced with the words Pick Flick; and at one point in the film, enraged at having serious competition, she unfairly tears down her opponent’s campaign postures. Though talented and attractive, she has no real friends and is even called the c-word by one of the other (female) characters. A girl with no father, from a poor background, she earns everything she has and is bitterly disappointed when, at her dream school Georgetown, she finds not driven students, but spoiled rich kid stoners and slackers. Tracy is not perfect and she can be ridiculous at times–but aren’t we all? Why is Tracy singled out for hate-laced mocking by peers and faculty alike? Why are they so threatened by her?
Let’s recap: we have a privileged, wealthy, thoughtless male running for president and a goal-driven committed female. He shows up with a lot of rhetoric–and baseball caps–and garners a huge amount of support; she doesn’t curry favor, has proven experience but undisguised intelligence and a blunt manner. We are, of course, talking about the movie Election. Any semblance to any real election is purely coincidental!