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Juno: Female Memes

  • Date Submitted: 03/12/2010 07:52 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 43 
  • Words: 1343
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Listening to the non-stop one-liners and biting world-weary observations that come from the main character in Juno may have caused a crisis of coolness among some audience members. This 21st century antiheroine has given some people the disconcerting feeling of not "getting" her, accusing screenwriter Diablo Cody (the pen name of Brook Busey-Hunt) of having drawn Juno (played by the talented Ellen Page) as a goofy and untouchable character.

This young woman — "avant-garde posturing mixed with a post-punk naïve spirit" --   has certainly proven to grate on a lot of people's nerves, through her odd screen persona. For some cinephiles this is new proof of marketing-savvy mass entrancement, a deceitful "feel good" story that tricks us into believing in happiness ever after.

I think the film can alternatively be seen as the origin of a new female meme, a redefinition of "Peter Pan's Never Land" as "Eternal Pun and Negative Land". Ellen Page delivers another challenging performance after her previous turn as Hayley Stark in Hard Candy (2005), where she wore a red hooded sweatshirt — a reference to Little Red Riding Hood, one of the classic female memes.

Juno's voice introduces us to a world of teenage climes (and climaxes), unceremoniously shedding the typical image of the "klutzy" all-American doll, as Diablo Cody criticizes the Hollywood studios responsible for the sexist movie market who want to push this shallow feminine imagery on their audiences over and over. Obviously the treatment of Juno is never the usual sex symbol disguised in the prototypical girl next door cut-out who is invariably obsessed over a more important male lead character in the story. Instead, in Jason Reitman's film it's just the opposite — the central feminine character is a slacker type girl, who doesn't dress in sexy outfits or giggle in the classroom with the popular girls' clique. Juno often appears isolated, uncontrolled in her verbal puns, disheveled, and frequently pissed off, a...


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