Dirty Dancing: A feminist classic
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30 years on from its original release, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Dirty Dancing is just another chick-flick. But beneath its pink, romantic exterior is a feminist masterpiece - a film that defies the expectations of the decade it was made in. From addressing the ever-controversial topic of abortion head on, to depicting a passionate romance from the gaze of its female lead, Dirty Dancing is something special, even by today's standards. Set in the summer of 1963, the film follows a bright, naive young woman who, upon arrival at a family vacation in the Catskills, becomes enraptured by Camp Kellerman's enigmatic dance teachers. However, the main plot - and the reason Baby and Johnny get together in the first place - stems from something altogether more serious. Carefully embedded within this story of romance and burgeoning female sexuality is a social message about the dangers of illegal abortion procedures. Johnny's dance partner, Penny, becomes pregnant after a fling with the film's repugnant antagonist Robbie. Distraught, Penny seeks a quick, but costly, solution from a shady 'M.D.' - with Baby not only providing the money but also pledging to fill in for Penny at her and Johnny's next dance gig. However, just as Baby and Johnny are beginning to warm to each other, it soon transpires that the 'M.D.' who performed the procedure was nothing more than a conman with "a dirty knife and a folding table," leaving Penny on the brink of death. It is only after Baby desperately pulls her father - a real doctor - out of bed to aid her, that Penny manages to recover.
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