Netflix's "Tall Girl" is a Swing and a Miss

Netflix has my consumer mind down to a science; they know teenage dramas are my clickbait. As overwhelmed as I have been from the range of past Netflix original movies, they are truly both my guilty pleasure and worst enemy. 

The content creators behind the scenes work relentlessly to collide current trends with a plotline that is relatable to their target audience.  At least from my perspective, this was the intention behind the newly released movie, Tall Girl.

Tall Girl tells the story of a 6-foot-1 teen named Jodi as she navigates high school while learning to embrace her height and pursue love interests for the first time. The movie's beginning scene is a conversation between Jodi and an attractive male peer. His mannerisms clearly show he is uncomfortable with her height at the moment she stands up. He backs away with disinterest without getting to know her further.

This opening scene immediately insinuates high school women are consumed by what their male peers think of them, and this is only the tip of the iceberg with the issues and stereotypes this movie emanates. Here are five Tall Girl themes that will get your blood boiling:

1) Women Are Only Motivated By Men

As described above, this theme was clear before the movie even started. Later in the movie, Jodi connects with the attractive, foreign exchange student from Sweden. They bond over their love for musicals, and she is able to demonstrate her piano talent. As a result, Jodi turns to her older sister for guy advice, whom she idolizes as “perfect,”-minus her unfortunate allergies. Jodi soon decides to wear makeup, put her hair down, and transform into a more "womanly" image. The motive behind Jodi to do ALL of this is only because of her increasingly obsessive interest in the male foreigner. Her sister even shares with Jodi how she fell in love with a student from Spain as well. It seems as though every main female character was consumed by some type of male interest besides the bold and individualistic-minded best friend, Freeda. 

 

2) Everyone Is Straight, So You Have To Be Too

This is pretty clear from my last point, but to reiterate, you will only find heterosexual relationships and love interests in this rom-com. How rude!

3) Women Are Vain And Stupid

Jodi's older sister, Harper, was introduced as a spoiled, community college-ridden student obtaining her hotel-management degree with the ultimate goal of winning the New Orleans beauty pageant. In Harper’s free time, she enjoys throwing darts at a photo of the last pageant winner, watching old competition videos while calling herself fat, and encouraging Jodi to slap her when she eats carbs. By night, you can find Harper “breaking-in” a pageant dress that is three sizes too small, two weeks before the pageant. Enough said insecurity and utter delusion runs in the family.  But everything is okay because: “You just have to be strong in the face of adversity,” says Harper and Jodi’s white, wealthy, selfish, and over-privileged mother. According to Netflix, women will tell you to "'suck-it-up'" when life gets tough, "suck-it-in" to make the dress fit, and slap you in the face if you even dare to eat that fry."

4) All Men Are Perfectly Considerate And Sociable ​

Jack Dunkleman, is a polite gentleman that continues to pursue Jodi despite her constant rejection of him and his own height. Dunkleman easily made friends with the "popular" group at school because he is ambitious, outgoing, and fun. Jodi’s dad has absolutely no problem vocalizing his constant concern for her health and attempting to make her feel comfortable in her own body. One example of her father’s desperate attempts includes initiating her into an international organization for tall people called the “Tip Toppers.” Netflix takes this opportunity to remind us that men have all the answers, and will even carry around a milk crate to stand on top of to kiss you (spoiler: a Jack Dunkleman move). 

5) All White Cast, Minus One Of The Moms

At least Jack Dunkleman’s family is interracial! It’s not whitewashing if the background extras are diverse, right Netflix? 

 

Netflix perpetuates cultural stereotypes through media that is demoralizing for teens, and especially young women, everywhere. After reading this article, do not simply boycott Tall Girl. Watch for yourself and start the conversation with your siblings, students, friends, and anyone you know, for these themes are not okay, and they should be discussed. Developing generations are consuming this content that contains misnomers about reality. Tall Girl attempted to speak about self-love and acceptance, but in reality, it is an ignorant product of a corporation’s idiocracy.