Footloose is the musical drama film, which raises a number of important problems, among which the problem of generation gaps and relationships between representatives of different generations is one of the major problems. At the same time, the film contrasts the conservative culture of a small town versus the mainstream culture of a large city, such as Chicago. In such a way, the film raises a number of conflicts existing in the society and the main characters look for solution of the conflicts. At the same time, the film mirrors the larger conflict that exists in the society, the conflict between a conservative part of the society and the youth, which attempts to introduce new trends in the mainstream culture and stimulate the cultural and social progress, regardless of the resistance from the part of the majority of the society.
In fact, the film depicts the conservatism of the society through the depiction of a small, provincial community of Elmore City, Oklahoma. In actuality, the film shows a very conservative community, which values are grounded on religious beliefs and traditions of the community. In such a way, the film reveals the intercultural conflict between representatives of the older generation and younger people, representing new subculture. People live according to the religious norms and values or, to put it more precisely, according to their interpretation of religious norms and beliefs. The conservatism of the community mirrors the conservatism of the American society. The film raises the problem of a significant impact of conservatism on the life of the entire society. In fact, the film shows that excessive conservatism may have negative effects and lead to absurd decisions. In such a context, the ban of dance and rock music in the Elmore City community is one of the absurd decisions caused by the conservatism of the community. Obviously, dance and rock music can hardly have any negative impact on the community. Moreover, the community’s conservatism takes radical, extreme form since the ban of dance and rock music contradicts not only to the reason but also to the religious traditions.
In such a context, the younger generation drives the socio-cultural change because the younger generation is not willing to obey to values and norms, which are grounded on absurd ideas. In stark contrast, the younger generation is willing to start changes, to try something new, to make the life better and more diverse than the older generation used to lead. In such a way, the younger generation is full of new ideas and, what is more, the younger generation is ready to start action. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that there are many people in the community, who are dissatisfied with the decision to ban dance and rock music, but it is only the young people, who prove to be able to start action and to start the civil action against the ban of dance and rock music. The protest started by the main character is the response of the younger generation to the absurd conservatism of the community. The young people dare to question the authority of the city council and the religious leader of the community. In fact, the community has used to take what the religious leader told for granted, whereas it was only the young people, who had managed to challenge the authority of the leader and suggest their own, alternative way of the development of the community, legalizing dance and rock music.
Moreover, it was the main character, who had managed to prove that the ban of dance and rock music should not be absurd because religious norms admit dance and music as a part of religious rites. In such a way, the main characters appeals to the reason of the community and he has managed to shape the public opinion to support his position and to force the city to cancel the ban of dance and rock music. Therefore, the main character has proved that the community is still capable to force the city council and policy-makers to conduct reasonable policies.
At the same time, the film reveals the fact that the conservatism leads to negative effects and degradation of the society. To put it more precisely, after the ban of dance and rock music some books are burned because people consider them dangerous for the youth. In fact, this step is the direct way to the degradation of the society because the ban of dance and rock music provoked the society to start banning any action that people fail to understand or feel being dangerous for their children. As a result, they start burning books, whereas the next step of the conservative community could have been burning witches at stake.
In addition, the film reveals the impact of religious beliefs and views on individuals. At this point, the film may be viewed in the contemporary context, when Islamism is perceived as evil because radical, extreme manifestations of Islamism are associated in the contemporary society with terrorism. Similarly, the film shows the religious community, where religious beliefs and faith went close to absurd. The film shows that extreme religious lead to the rise of extremism within the society. In this regard, the ban of dance and rock music was the first step on the way to radicalization of the society and further, more extreme measures could be and were introduced in the community. For instance, after the ban of dance and rock music, some community members had started to burn books, which they considered to be dangerous for the youth. Obviously, in a long-run perspective, the community could slip toward more extreme measures and steps, including corporal or capital execution as well as some clandestine activities aiming at the change of the entire American society.
Finally, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the film shows that the negotiation between generations is possible to close the generation gaps. In fact, the main character starts the civil action against the ban and united the community on the way to cancel the ban. Therefore, the younger generation has managed to close gaps between the generations. In such a way, the film promotes the idea of the dialogue between generations. The film debunks the myth that people cannot close generation gaps. Instead, the film stresses that reason and humanistic values will always win over limited, shallow, extreme ideas and values, which have no ground but extremism of some of community members. As a result, the film helps the audience to reconsider views on generation gaps and existing social values.
Barkam, Seven E. Understanding Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World. New York: Random House, 2008.
Ross, Herbert. Footloose. 1984.
Russel, G. Introduction to Philosophy. New York: Routledge, 2003.