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In many movies, a stereotypical character shown is the materialistic woman. She struts her way through life shopping at the mall with “daddy’s credit card” and isn’t in touch with how the real world is. She buys expensive things without caring about the price, and is perceived as conceited by everyone. In the movie Clueless, the main character, Cher, accurately represents the stereotype of a materialistic woman because of her specific actions and what she says throughout the movie.
Near the beginning of the movie, Cher is getting ready for school in her big and fancy room. She goes over to her closet full of designer clothes and accessories, but doesn’t know what to wear to school. As she is getting ready, she says “but seriously, I actually have a way normal life for a teenage girl”. She then proceeds to use a touch screen computer that tells her what pieces of her many clothes look good together or not. Cher doesn’t realize that most teenage girls, especially for the 90s, don’t have a computer to tell them what clothes make a good outfit combination. She has lost touch with how most people live without all of the materialistic things she owns and takes for granted. This scene introduces Cher to the audience and allows them to know that she is wealthy and materialistic based on the way she acts. The fact that she has so many designer clothes, but still cannot pick from them, shows that she just wants more and more clothes that she doesn’t actually need.
Next, Cher represents this stereotype because whenever she feels like everything is going wrong in her life, she goes shopping to help ease her mind. Standing in the hallway after not being able to convince her teacher to change her grade, she says “I felt impetent and out of control, which I really hate. I needed to find sanctuary in a place where I could gather my thoughts and regain my strength”. It then shows Cher and her best friend checking out at a store in the mall, and they both have handfuls of shopping bags. At the mall is where she feels the most confident and in control, so that shows that shopping is all she’s good at to the people around her. Her being surrounded by materialistic things makes her feel at ease, and she isn’t worried about how much she’s spending. She has her dad’s credit card to use because he is a successful lawyer that doesn’t care about how much she spends. She has to have materialistic things to make her feel better and more like herself again.
Finally, Cher represents the stereotype of a materialistic woman when she doesn’t want to ruin her dress while she is getting robbed at gunpoint later in the movie. She had just gotten left behind in a parking lot after a party because the guy she was riding with tried to make out with her when she didn’t want to. As she was on the phone to get a cab, a man put a gun to her head and told her to get on the ground. She easily handed over her phone and bag that certainly had money in it, which shows that she doesn’t care as much about money as she does the materials. When he tells her to get on the ground again, she explains “oh, no. You don’t understand. This is an Alaia,” and looks down at her dress. She is upset because it is a dress made by a famous designer and doesn’t want it to get ruined, despite the fact that he is telling her that he will shoot her if she doesn’t get on the ground. She hesitates and slowly gets on the ground, whining because she is going to get her dress a little bit dirty, and not the fact that he has a gun pointing at her. This scene shows that she cares more about her clothes than her own life that was at stake.
Cher in Clueless accurately portrays the stereotype of a materialistic woman that is seen a lot in movies because of her actions and what she says. In movies, materialistic women’s actions are usually exaggerated, like Cher’s, and they are supposed to come across as rich, unintelligent, and selfish. People watching these movies that have a character like Cher see how immature and egotistical someone like her can be. That makes people believe that all materialistic women act just like she does in real life. That’s where this stereotype sneaks its way into reality and doesn’t just exist in the movies. It impacts the way people think about and act towards one another, and makes them see how much the movie industry is involved in how we think.
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