Of course, there’s the infamous discussion of the double-edged sword / double bind of female sexuality in the ad-libbed circle of the five detentioners. Allison bates Claire to admitting she’s a virgin, explaining, “if you say you haven’t you’re a prude, if you say you have you’re a slut… or are you tease?”. Allison had previously admitted that she wasn’t a virgin, that she had slept around, specifically with older men, to which Claire slut shamed Allison for. “Doesn’t it bother you to sleep around without being in love? Don’t you want to be respected?”, Claire lectures Allison, to which Allison replies, “I don’t sleep around for respect. That’s the difference between you and me.” Claire is clearly repulsed by Allison and makes her feel less than, telling her, “not the only difference, I hope.”
And then we all hoped that was where the conversation ended; Allison beginning the conversation of sexual freedom in women, and admitting that sex was just sex, and not a tool for respect. But, looking at all of the other bullshit John Hughes allowed in the movie, of course this wasn’t going to be allowed to be uncorrected. Once Claire finally admits that she is, in fact, a virgin, the fact that Allison follows suit, explaining that she also is a virgin, and that “it’s ok if you’re in love”, is so disheartening as Allison had the opportunity to be represented outside of gender norms / gender roles.
Allison had a lot of opportunities to represent feminism, or counter-female culture, but instead was represented as crazy. She doesn’t speak for the first thirty three minutes of the film, and when she does it’s the most odd things being said. Her lunch is an eclectic variation of foods, she constantly takes the group off guard, and flip-flops in every conversation. Allison being eclectic would have actually been so cool, and refreshing, if she weren’t treated like shit and represented poorly.
When the group eventually retires to the back of the library to smoke with John, Allison is reluctant and makes her debut in the scenes when she reveals that she stole Brian’s wallet. “He’s got a nude-y picture in there, I saw it!” she proclaims to Andrew. And even though Allison was standing in front of Brian and Andrew, talking about Brian, and even though they were uninterested in what she was saying, and had basically ignored her throughout their time in detention together, Andrew’s reaction is “Oh, let’s see it!”. His interest in a photograph of a nude model, although he had a clear disinterest in what Allison and Claire had to say in the film, is objectification of women. Which is unsurprising with the rest of problematic situations in The Breakfast Club.
Allison’s character makes me sad. Claire views Allison as unworthy, and less than her throughout the movie, admitting that if Allison came up to her at school, she’d make fun of her and walk away. At the end of the movie, Claire is seen giving Allison a make-over. When the transformation is complete, Allison’s style portrays a standard fashionable female in the 1980s, and it isn’t until then, that Brian and Andrew find her desirable. Allison walks through the library, and notes Brian staring at her, with his mouth open, and (as if the fact that Brian and Andrew didn’t think twice about Allison until this wasn’t enough of poor treatment of women), Allison thanked Brian for objectifying her in this way. Andrew and Allison then are seen flirting, and in the very last scene, are shown kissing.
The makeover compulsion of Andy and Allison being drawn together still doesn’t compare to the revolting fact that John Hughes found it necessary to have Claire and John end the movie with a passionate kiss, even after previously Claire predicted Bender would be ashamed of her, if their friends saw them together, “you’d probably tell them we were doing it so it’d be okay that we were together”, and Bender’s only selling point of himself was that it’d be a good way to anger her parents. The last thing that I would feel if I were being threatened, harassed, and treated generally with hostility is attraction to the man. But man-made Claire, the prom queen, bubblegum, “activities” girl, wasn’t actually created to represent a real girl. She’s supposed to be cute, peppy, but kind of annoying. She ditched class to go shopping, which is what landed her in detention, she has a mouth on her, she’s a “tease” but, believes “in one guy and one girl (because) that’s the way it should be”. She’s depicted as the stereotypical girl generated by the media to be hated on by the women, especially when she says, without a sense of sarcasm, “Do you know how popular I am? I am so popular, everyone loves me so much at this school”, but is supposed to be adored by the men. Claire is objectified to the point of representing herself (and feeling of self-objectification) through her diamond earring, which she gives to Bender in the final scene.