“A Feminist and Ideological Examination of Clueless”

Senior Thesis, Loyola Marymount University ’10

The purpose of this study is to understand the 1995 film, Clueless, in its social context through feminist, ideological and metaphoric lenses. In the zeitgeist of the 1990s, the Generation X movement serves as inspiration for the “coming-of-age” movie that Clueless embodies, but uniquely through comedic and satirical elements. The director, Amy Heckerling envisions the culture of the 1990s through metaphors that exist within the film. Clueless is a representation of third-wave feminist discourse through the main character Cher and her best friend’s exercise of girl power. The paradox of a feminist text however, exists within the ideologies of womanhood and how the teenagers are characterized as stereotypical of Beverly Hills, California. Ultimately, these characters and the backdrop of California serve as metaphors in understanding society’s role as a determinant for stereotypes and eventually, self-growth.

“Outside a new day is dawning
Outside Suburbia’s sprawling everywhere…
New York to East California
There’s a new wave coming I warn you
We’re the kids in America.”

-The Muffs, “Kids in America”

Read it in its entirety here: A Feminist and Ideological Examination of Clueless