Stranger Things finally makes room for Girls’ Generation nostalgia — kinda

Stranger Things Revel in the nostalgia and aesthetics of the 1980s – but that nostalgia is very limited in scope. Throughout its four seasons, the Netflix show has celebrated more than anything else the little boys who grew up in the predominantly white suburbs of the ’80s. Which makes sense, considering the creators themselves were little boys during that decade. The Duffer brothers have gone public Their influences and all the references in the showwhich has translated into the passion of the main characters: ghostbustersDungeons and Dragons, and To digto name a few.

None of these things are blatantly anti-girl, but they’re still overwhelmingly tailored for boys.Yes, there are a lot of 80s signs in the show that are more general concepts like big shopping malls and new cola. but Stranger Things There’s a clear lack of ’80s pop culture elements that girls particularly like. Where is the fashion section?This Jem and the hologram Or Barbie? Stacks of Sweet Valley High School books? There might be a strawberry shortcake costume or two in the background, but the other girly vibes are lacking since most of the main female characters in the show just like what boys like. It illustrates not only the treatment of female characters in the play, but also the larger cultural phenomenon that elevates childhood interests to those of teenage girls.

But with the introduction of Lucas’ sister Erica (Pria Ferguson), as the protagonist last season And the expansion of Max’s interest this season, Stranger Things It’s also worth remembering things that slowly start acknowledging girls. Well, kind of.

[Ed. note: This essay contains some spoilers for Stranger Things season 4 part 1.]

Nancy and Robin in the dark

Image: Netflix

what we talk about when we talk about nostalgia

Stranger ThingsTo its credit, it doesn’t completely dismiss the teenage interests of 40 years ago; it barely includes them.in a program like this The vast majority are built on nostalgic references, which becomes a glaring omission. There are a decent amount of female characters, but we rarely hear about their interests beyond what the boys are already interested in. They are all presented as “unlike other girls“—even if the show has hardly any teenage girls to compare it to—or”cool girl,” Both tropes focus on female characters who can keep up with boys, and also reject traditional female interests. In this case, it’s not rejection, it’s more like those things don’t even exist.

raised in sterile research facilities, eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) had no interests of her own, so everything she learned to love came from Mike. When Max debuted in season 2, the boys couldn’t believe she was a cool skateboarder beating Dustin’s high score in arcades. Older women have no real interests other than romance, school, work, or being a mom (in Joyce’s case). In fact, after four seasons, we don’t even know what Nancy (Natalia Dyer) likes to do outside of school and work (except this season, we learn she has a picture of Tom Cruise in her room poster, so that’s it).what are we going to do Do Learn about Nancy – the most stereotyped woman of all girls – who is “different” from the popular girl Steve hooked up with.

Max play dig dig

Image: Netflix

11. Max, Robin, and even Dustin’s hacker girlfriend, Susie, are cool girls that middle and high school boys want to hang out with – their interests either perfectly fit the boys or can be taught to like The boys do the same thing. They don’t talk aloud about their interests, and even though they like the same things boys do, they always do it in a very receptive, boy-friendly way. Yes, there are definitely girls who check all those boxes; but when it’s every girl on the show, it says what kind of girl deserves to be on the show. Stranger Things is one of the most popular shows on Netflix, which means its limited portrayal of female characters has gained a larger platform than the more nuanced portrayals in other shows Julie and the Phantom, teenage bounty hunterand Babysitter Clubwas axed after a season or two.

It’s not that girls can’t enjoy boys’ things; they can and should!To be fair, the male characters in the play Stranger Things Don’t stop girls from being interested in them in ways that unfortunately happen in real life. More importantly, the boy’s interest is the fact that society thinks it is worth remembering, doing shows, rebooting again and again.even girls were able Enjoy these boy things, try to show them in these stories (whether ghostbusters (2016) or Rey wielding a lightsaber) on the internet the vast majority of people met the haters and again kicked them out. Girls things are not worth remembering, and adding girls to boy things destroys their “sanctity”.the fact is Stranger Things Overwhelmingly holding onto these boys stuff and ignoring the girls stuff only emphasizes this double standard. It might just be a blind spot and not malicious intentional.After all, although Stranger Things The number of men and women in the writing room is almost even, with only one woman listed as a writer in 8 of the 34 episodes.

(Token) Girl Power

In another metatext note, previous seasons Stranger Things Also reinforces another annoying stereotype about 1980s media: token girlGranted, the trope of having a girl among a group of boys isn’t going away anytime soon, but it was certainly more common in the ’80s.slowly corrected Stranger Things As more and more girls join the series, Although they’ve only recently started to really get along and consider each other’s friends. But it was Erica who really started to change those dynamics, especially in terms of how she was with the boys and what she liked.

In a crowd of female characters who mostly care about boy things (or don’t really care about anything), Erica is a breath of fresh air. When she landed a major role in season three, her passion for math, capitalism, and My Little Pony instantly divided her from the rest of the cast. Her interests aren’t ignored, and Dustin even argues that her love for My Little Pony is actually nerdy (on the show, he’s basically telling her it’s cool and worth it).there are even officials Stranger Things my little pony Because of Erica.

erica joins the dnd group

Image: Netflix

at the end In season three, Will leaves her D&D stuff, by the start of season 4, she’s fully embraced her nerdy side. However, she hasn’t forgotten her girlish interests. She replaced her brother when he was unable to run for the D&D club’s final campaign because of his championship basketball game. When Eddie, the leader of the Hellfire Club and dungeon master, started questioning her character, she shot back that she had a half-elf rogue named Lady Applejack.

Sound familiar? Applejack was one of the first My Little Pony characters and one of the stars of the first My Little Pony movie, Rescue of Midnight Castle. Erica may also like boy stuff now, but she brings Her love for Girls’ Generation toys for a game traditionally dominated by boys (especially at the time). And she won’t let anyone tell her she can’t.

But Erica isn’t the only example of embracing more female interest. Max gets more screen time this season, and her love for Kate Bush becomes a key plot point.After the death of her stepbrother, she was more or less isolated from friends and is now obsessed with listening to Kate Bush “Run Up That Mountain (Deal With God)” on her Walkman. “Running Up That Hill” was the lead single from Bush’s 1985 album love hound and one of her most popular songs (a song about the difference between men and women, by the way).Kate Bush Yes A popular artist, of course she’s back in 1985 – but she’s still dealing with her misogyny, many male music critics At the time she was put off by her unabashed femininity and thought she was a privileged young woman making pop music. Male music critics are still quick to dismiss young female artists (and those young women love).

Max sits by Billy's grave

Image: Netflix

Max found solace in Kate Bush’s music, and while her friends gave her space for her own musings, they didn’t ignore her enthusiasm. Kate Bush ended up saving her life from Vecna’s curse, and the synth note of “Running Up That Hill” saves her from the monster’s nightmare realm in one of the season’s best sequences. Later, Lucas said he was now a huge Kate Bush fan because she saved Max’s life. It’s one of the few examples of a boy on the show saying he likes things girls like now.

In terms of nostalgia, Stranger Things No turn red, unapologetically embracing the joyful details of Girls’ Generation. The show still revolves primarily around media tailored for reference boys. These two little nods can get lost in the grand scheme of things.but they at least something, which was a far cry from the emptiness of the show’s first two seasons.Given that there are only two episodes left in the season, it’s unlikely that the characters will save the day by channeling the power Sheila Or Rainbow Brite – but at least we have an irrefutable fact that Kate Bush’s music has magical powers.

Stranger Things Season 4 Season 1 is now available on Netflix.