The Inspiration Behind "Hairspray"

The Inspiration Behind "Hairspray"

This meaningful movie holds many lessons and innovation.


"Hairspray" is a movie that takes place in mostly-segregated Baltimore in the early 1960's. Recently, "Hairspray Live" played on television; the lessons and plots throughout this movie overall speak such loud and meaningful words. The original "Hairspray" was released in 1988 and then a remake, which is the one most of my generation is familiar with, followed in 2007. Numerous characters in the show come together to fight back against what they believe is right, such as fighting for the right to integrate on "The Corny Collins Show". In the midst of this plot, the movie is overall inspiring.

The main character, Tracy Turnblad, doesn't let what others say or think stop her from not only attempting to achieve her dreams, but fully succeeding at them. Her positive attitude puts all of her haters to shame. Throughout the movie, Tracy is constantly being rudely remarked due to her weight. Many believe that she will not succeed at being a dancer because of it, which we all know is not the case under any circumstance. She doesn't let anyone or anything get in her way and proves all of the people who doubted her completely wrong. Tracy fully flaunts the glories of being a curvy actress; not all actresses need to hold the "skinny" and "perfect" stereotype that most of us think of. The story line of this movie is meaningful and addresses issues that we've worked to overcome as humanity throughout the years.

Of course, the songs make the movie. They fit perfectly with the storyline and continue to show inspiration. Motormouth Maybelle sings the song "I Know Where I've Been" while marching for integration with Tracy and other supporters. This song is definitely the most powerful one in the movie and the lyrics say it all:

"There's a dream / In the future / There's a struggle / That we have yet to win / Use that pride / In our hearts / To lift us up / Until tomorrow / 'Cause just to sit still / Would be a sin"

The power behind these words touch the hearts of many. Lessons are taught throughout. This movie teaches lessons about history, while also showing power and action taken.

There isn't a scene where Tracy is unhappy with herself; she embraces who she is, her talents, and everything in between. She has a love interest with the main male character, Link Larkin. Tracy is fully aware that she's a good dancer and she knows she is more than enough. The idea of her weight being an issue is addressed numerous times during the movie, but that does not put a doubt in her mind:

"Everybody says / That a girl who looks like me / Can't win his love / Well, just wait and see"

"Amber, much to your surprise / This heavyweight champion / Takes the prize"

And once again, Tracy pushes herself towards her goals and proves all those around her wrong. This movie is overloaded with inspiration on many levels revolving around all different aspects. The plot is extremely important and the movie is still very popular today due to its songs, story line, and overall lessons to reach for goals and to never let anyone push you down.

Edna Turnblad: "You can't stop my happiness, cause I like the way I am. And you just can't stop my knife and fork when I see a Christmas ham! And if you don't like the way I look, then I just don't give a damn!"

Maybelle: "Well, love is a gift, a lot of people don't remember that. So, you two better brace yourselves for a whole lotta ugly comin' at you from a never-ending parade of stupid."

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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