Film Analysis - Hairspray

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During the 1960’s in the United States of America there was very little acceptance of people with different backgrounds or races. The only way to be accepted was to be a conformist and to prove you were just like everyone else around you. This would hold impossible for any one that was not white. Any sign of unconformity or differences would be used against you and any place you hoped to hold in society. The United States, during this time period, was not the land of equality that President Lincoln had hoped for when he proclaimed freedom of slavery for African Americans in the Emancipation Proclamation. In the 1950’s and 1960’s there was a new type of music being introduced and called Rock N Roll. In the beginning of this film the first reference to the time and place in history is hearing Tracy Turnblad’s mother refer to the music she was listening to as “race music”. This music was completely unacceptable to white Americans that were practicing conformity and Christianity in masses. This was also seen in the way the characters dressed similarly. There was only one way to live and that was the conformist way. Any other outside influence would surely be seen as communist influence. In this time period Americans were terrified of the spread of communism and nuclear warfare, and rightfully so. Another reference to this issue was the bomb shelter where Tracy Turnblad was hid, by her friend Penny Pingleton, which stored Russian textbooks and gas masks. The fear of communism was alive and real. At the same time the people of the United States were still harboring, practicing, and some were overcoming the effects of racism against African Americans solely based on their skin color. Such references, in this film, as “the white direction”, and holding a “Negro Day” on the television show were miniscule in the terrible world of racism and segregation. These references show the ignorance and determination of one race to retard and degradate the others....
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