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The postmodern film Clueless directed by Amy Heckerling, and the novel Emma

composed by Jane Austen are two texts presented in different forms and cater to different
audiences; yet they both convey the same morals and interests that prove to be an
everlasting trend within society.
The concept of sexual liberalism is shown through the image of the lady in a red dress,
portraying suggestiveness or provocative appeal. Chers statement Sometimes you have
to show a little skin. This reminds boys of being naked, and then they think of sex
emphasises the superficial outlook of Beverly-Hills teens. The sexual innuendos made in
Clueless juxtapose the conservative nature of characters in Emma set in the Regency
period, a society which largely considered intercourse as taboo unless married and
anathematised fornicating women, whereas the film considers sex to be something the
cool kids do regularly whilst virgins were looked down upon.
Marriage can be considered a blessing but a shackle for those forced to engage in such
activities. The image of the couple wearing wedding rings yet handcuffed together,
suggests issues beneath the surface. Oh! To be sure it is always incomprehensible to a
man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. A man always imagines a
woman to be ready for anybody who asks her. The quote from Emma presents a negative
outlook on marriage, as Emma believes that it is merely a tool used by men to bind the
woman they have an interest for. Cher, at 16, does not consider marriage as her
environment does not necessarily require women to marry young.
Women in a patriarchal society have been historically obliged to comply with restrictive
expectations. The cartoon image of the women who are reprimanded under each
circumstance depicts the endless criteria they must fit. In Clueless, Cher points out that
When a boy comes over you should always have something baking. The notion of
expectation in a male-dominated society is subtle, presenting the sustained physical and
mental constraints and expectations imposed on women (such as forced acceptance of a
mans proposal as mentioned above).
Overconfidence is an Achilles heel demonstrated in both texts where the protagonists
blinded judgement causes them to undergo risks that are potentially detrimental to
themselves and those around them. Everything I think and everything I do is wrong. I
was wrong about Elton, I was wrong about Christian, and now Josh hated me. Chers
self-pitiful realisation emphasises the negative effects of her overconfidence. The cartoon
depicting a man envisioning a false reflection of himself in the mirror symbolises how
both heroines have a distorted perception of their abilities in regards to match making.
With only one successful match made, the two believe that pairing people is their
calling, yet it becomes the root of all their complications.
Our society continually revolves around and perpetrates gender stereotypes regardless of
the era. The photograph of the Barbies highlights the top 7 characteristics of each gender
separating the masculine and feminine. Both texts abide by gender stereotypes
demonstrating the great distinction between male and female. The ladies here probably
exchanged looks which meant, "Men never know when things are dirty or not;" and the

gentlemen perhaps thought each to himself, "Women will have their little nonsenses and
needless cares." The quote undermines women by insinuating that they amuse
themselves with insignificant gossip and are unable to involve themselves on a mature,
intellectual level while the men are portrayed as the sensible gender.
Social class is the most prominent divider amongst the characters from both texts; the
image of what the rich and poor do at bins is a visual metaphor symbolising the
dependence of lower classses on the benevolence of the priveleged. The quote It was an
unsuitable connection, and did not produce much happiness references Mr Westons first
marriage when his family disapproved of his failure to meet social expectations, and the
faux pas of interclass marriage. Similarly in Clueless, Tai was taken under Chers wing
and temporarily transcended her social class through her make-over, representing the
power of the upper class and strict class structure determined by the elite.