I wasn’t officially allowed to watch Flashdance when it first came out in 1983. I was ten years old at the time, and my Asian scientist parents freaked out over the R rating. Exotic dancing? Ripped clothing? Sex scenes? Michael Nouri? All that was way too much for their traditional sensibilities. But as the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way. So I ended up watching the movie at my friend Jill’s house. My sheltered young self was dazzled by Jennifer Beals’s maniacal dancing and suggestive moves. I wanted to be a grown-up very badly.
Like every other girl in the mid-80s, I latched onto the Flashdance fashion craze: oversized sweatshirt with the neck cut off, permed hair, legwarmers and leotards. As you can see below, I’m not conveying an ounce of sultriness or seduction with my interpretation. (And please note how colorful a fashionista I was even back then.) At any rate, this is what 14 looked like in my day.
In middle school, we kids thought we were being so clever and racy by changing the words “Take your passion, and make it happen…” from the theme song “What a Feeling” to “Take your pants off, and make it happen…” Geez, it seems ridiculously quaint now compared to Rihanna boasting about S&M, or Santana and Brittany becoming scissor sisters on Glee. But wait, maybe they’re just doing a little DIY together on their sweatshirts??