I first watched the movie Grease when I was very young. I don't even remember how old I was, just that I was young enough to not understand anything they were talking about. But boy, those were some good songs.
We actually had the soundtrack on a record and my sister and I would dance around in our basement while trying to learn the hand jive.
Hours were spent, carefully putting the needle on that record, treating it like a piece of precious history that was too delicate to break.
I couldn't even begin to estimate the number of times we listened to the record or watched the movie, but it's got to be somewhere in the hundreds.
Over my many, many, many viewings of the classic movie, I have obviously grown up a lot and have learned a lot about myself and what I think about characters.
When I was a kid, obviously you are rooting for Sandy and Danny, because they were in love. But now... I don't know, something just feels off.
Sure, Sandy and Danny end up together and it's great, that's not what I mean. It's the fact that the character we should all aspire to be more like isn't Sandy or Danny, it's actually Rizzo.
Rizzo is a leader. Rizzo is an icon. And Rizzo is an absolute hero.
Sure, she kind of seems a little bit like a bully and sometimes was a little bit harsh, but you've got to admit it, she is the better role model.
Rizzo: The Fierce Leader
Rizzo is the coolest Pink Lady by far, at least in the first one. Personally, don't hate me, but I think Stephanie Zinone from Grease 2 may be even cooler.
But, focusing back on Grease, the movie was set in the late 1950s, meaning that there were a lot of standards that women were being held to.
They were told to wear skirts to class, they had to have perfectly styled hair, they had to be demure and sweet, and most of all, they had to focus their lives around their partner.
Sandy is the perfect example of this. She is a good girl with perfect hair, she has a big skirt for every day of the week, and even in the end, she does what Danny wants her to do.
Rizzo however, she isn't going to fall for that.
Sure, she still wears a skirt, but she chooses a tighter fitting skirt.
Sure, her hair is nice, but it's wild, curly, and short.
And sure, she is interested in finding a partner, but when he doesn't act the way she wants to, she stands up for herself and finds option B.
Rizzo leads her Pink Ladies by example, showing each and everyone of them that they don't have to conform.
It's probably because of her that Marty was confident enough to have multiple "pen pals," Frenchy was brave enough to drop out of high school (even if it didn't work), and for sweet Jan to just be her goofy self.
There was no need to put on a show, these ladies were a team, and they are all iconic in their own way.
Maybe Sandy's transition is partially due to the fact that she's letting go of society's expectations and just trying something new, but if so, she owes her confidence to Rizzo, no doubt.
Frenchie may have given her the perm, but it's Rizzo who has all the attitude.
Rizzo: The icon
Rizzo may not be a perfect person, but that's because no one in the real world is perfect.
She's realistic in her actions, she's flawed, and she doesn't always make the best choices.
Should she have made fun of Sandy for being so pure and innocent? Maybe not, but if you want to pretend like you don't joke around with your friends about people you know you would be lying.
Her style is one of a kind. She doesn't shy away from bold colors, tighter fits, or even short-shorts. She is confident in herself, her style, and her ability to rock whatever she wears.
How many people do you know look this cool in a purple button-up night shirt with no pants? None. The answer is none.
She's not just a fashion icon though, it's also the fact that when she starts to be treated in a way she deems unacceptable, she's not afraid to say no.
Rizzo may throw a drink in your face, she may bring a date to the dance that is specifically chosen to make you jealous, and she may try and tell you that the potential baby she is pregnant with isn't yours, but you know what, she never does a single thing she doesn't want to.
It's a good lesson that people should learn. Stand up for yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you.
Rizzo: The Hero
Rizzo is the real hero of this movie. She manages to grow and evolve, but unlike Sandy, she stays true to herself.
Rizzo manages to get through her pregnancy scare even though her friends don't seem to be all that helpful. I mean, Marty, come on. Did you have to tell someone immediately?
But anyways, Rizzo has to deal with a potential pregnancy without the support of anyone, and honestly she does a decent job.
She also has such a soft side, one that she hides from everyone and that is truly relatable. In her song "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" she reveals just how hard it is to show her true emotions, and if that isn't realistic I don't know what is.
But by the end, she opens up a bit, and you can see this by the way she goes back to Kenickie and you can see how much she cares about him.
You don't need to be a literal superhero to be a hero. You just need to be someone who conquers the things they are afraid of, and she does exactly that.
Personally, I will always believe that Rizzo is the better role model than Sandy, how about you?
Although, if you could find a way to combine the two and have someone confident in themselves but also isn't afraid to be kind, then you would probably have Stephanie from Grease 2. She's cool and unique, and she's the best part of that movie.
As for the cast of Grease, it's been 40 years since this classic came out, so if you are curious where they all ended up we have all the answers for you.
But because this movie is so old and so popular, it does end up getting a lot of strange stories and conspiracies surrounding it. One is particularly bizarre, that claims that Sandy dies at the beginning of the movie.
Even after all of these years, the cast still loves the movie as much as we do. They even occasionally reunite to sing some of our favorites!
H/T - The Odyssey