Molly Ringwald watched 'The Breakfast Club' with her daughter. Her thoughts were epic.

Molly Ringwald was basically the face of my adolescent years.

I was 10 years old when “The Breakfast Club” came out, and by the time I graduated from high school, I’d probably seen the film a dozen times.

“Pretty in Pink” was one of my go-to sleepover flicks with my girlfriends, to the point that we wore out our VHS copy of it (here's an explainer about VHS, for you young'uns).


GIF from "Pretty in Pink"/Paramount Pictures.

John Hughes' films served as both a mirror and a map of the turbulent teen years for my generation. Many of us saw ourselves in his quirky, awkward characters and appreciated teen life being portrayed at least somewhat realistically.

But 30-something years later, as a full-on adult, the mother of two adolescent girls, and a human being in the age of #MeToo, I'm starting to view those movies through a different lens.

As it turns out, so is Molly Ringwald. She shared her thoughts on her roles in iconic '80s films in an essay published in the New Yorker, and it was epic.

After Ringwald watched “The Breakfast Club” with her tween daughter, she couldn’t get the sexual harassment scenes out of her head.

In the film, Ringwald plays the role of Claire, the popular girl. In her essay, she opens up about how a scene where Judd Nelson’s character, Bender, hides under Claire’s desk and looks under her skirt — and then presumably touches her inappropriately.

GIF from "The Breakfast Club"/A&M Films.

She also shared how some scenes from her other Hughes movies now strike her as "troubling":

“There is still so much that I love in them, but lately I have felt the need to examine the role that these movies have played in our cultural life: where they came from, and what they might mean now. When my daughter proposed watching “The Breakfast Club” together, I had hesitated, not knowing how she would react: if she would understand the film or if she would even like it. I worried that she would find aspects of it troubling, but I hadn’t anticipated that it would ultimately be most troubling to me.”

As an example from “Sixteen Candles,” Ringwald points out how “the dreamboat, Jake, essentially trades his drunk girlfriend, Caroline, to the Geek, to satisfy the latter’s sexual urges, in return for Samantha’s underwear.”

Yeah. Eek.

GIF from "Sixteen Candles."

In the age of #MeToo, many of Hughes’ storylines come across as normalizing unhealthy sexual dynamics at best and condoning flat-out misogyny at worst.

Perhaps Hughes was simply a product of his time. But that doesn’t make his films immune to scrutiny.

As Ringwald points out, one of the major issues with Bender and Claire’s storyline in “The Breakfast Club” is that Bender basically verbally abuses Claire throughout the film, calling her names, yelling at her, intimidating her — in addition to sexually harassing her.

GIF from "The Breakfast Club"/A&M Films.

And yet, in the end, he still gets the girl.

What message does that convey to young audiences? That depends on who you ask, but reading through Ringwald’s essay, Hughes appears to have had quite a history of misogynistic expression — far deeper and darker than the teen movie scenes we’re talking about and far more than what we might expect for a "product of his time."

“It’s hard for me to understand how John was able to write with so much sensitivity,” Ringwald wrote, “and also have such a glaring blind spot.”

GIF from "The Breakfast Club"/A&M Films.

I think she was being kind. Seriously, if you’re feeling protective of your favorite teen film or defensive on Hughes’ behalf, read her essay in full. It's an eye-opener.

Ringwald’s mixed feelings about her films reflect the tension we all feel when we realize things we love are also problematic.

“I’m not thinking about the man right now but of the films that he left behind," Ringwald wrote. "Films that I am proud of in so many ways. Films that, like his earlier writing, though to a much lesser extent, could also be considered racist, misogynistic, and, at times, homophobic.”

"The Breakfast Club" actors Antony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, and Paul Gleason accepting a Silver Bucket of Excellence Award at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

In the simplistic narratives that define our age, that last sentence alone might be enough for many to abandon Hughes’ films altogether.

But, as Ringwald points out, it’s not that simple. She has heard from countless fans over the years that Hughes’ films helped them feel less alone as teens. She shared a story of a black, gay man who told her that “The Breakfast Club” saved his life. He said the film showed him “that there were other people like me who were struggling with their identities."

As much as we might want to make it so, this is not an easily defined issue.

Ultimately, Molly Ringwald reminds us that our views on art and culture should be ever-evolving.

It’s easy to brush off "troubling" elements of music, film, art, and other creative works as products of their time. But we need to remain aware of how ongoing enjoyment of such works affects our culture as well as our subconscious.

Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy at "The Breakfast Club" 30th Anniversary Restoration at SXSW in 2015. Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images.

Toxic ideas about women, race, sexuality, and other identity elements are always toxic, even if we don’t recognize them as such at the time. And when we do recognize those things in hindsight, it's important to give them the analysis they are due.

The good news is that we are recognizing and analyzing those things as a smarter and more sensitive society. That's progress.

We can still enjoy a film like “The Breakfast Club" — we just need to be honest about its flaws. And I, for one, am really glad Molly Ringwald was the one to go there.

Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

We Americans are an interesting bunch. We cherish our independence. We love our rugged individualism. Despite having pride in our system of government, we really don't like government telling us what to do.

Since rebellion is literally how we were founded, it's sort of baked into our national identity. But it doesn't always serve us well. Especially when we find ourselves in a global pandemic.

Individualism—at least the "I do what I want, when I want" idea—is the antithesis of what is needed to keep contagious disease under control. More than anything in my memory, the coronavirus pandemic has tested our nation's ability to put up a united front, and so far we are failing miserably.

I hear a lot of the same complaints from people who decry government mandates to wear a mask or governors' stay-at-home orders. We don't need a nanny state telling us what we can and can't do! This is tyranny! This is dictatorship! What ever happened to personal responsibility?

I actually have the same question. What did happen to personal responsibility?

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This year, we've all experienced a little more stress and anxiety. This is especially true for youth facing homelessness, like Megan and Lionel. Enter Covenant House, an international organization that helps transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is Delivering Smiles this holiday season by donating essential items and fulfilling AmazonSmile Charity Lists for organizations, like Covenant House, that have been impacted this year more than ever. Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a charity of your choice or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

via Brittany Kinley / Facebook

Brittany Kinley, a mother from Mansfield, Texas, had a hilarious mom fail her and she's chalking it up to being just another crazy thing that happened in 2020.

When Kinley filled out the order form for her son Mason's kindergarten class pictures, there was an option to have his name engraved into the photos. But Kinley wasn't interested in having her son's name on the photos so she wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" on the box.

Well, it appears as though she should have left the box blank because the computer or incredibly literal human that designed the photographs wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" where mason's name should be.

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via Becker1999 / Flickr and Price and Sons

One of the major themes that arose out of World War II was how America's national character helped propel the Allies to victory over the Axis powers. Americans came together and sacrificed by either picking up a rifle and heading "over there" or on the homefront, they did whatever they could to help the war effort.

They bought bonds. They turned their businesses into factories. They rationed items such as meat, dairy, fruits, shortening, cars, firewood, and gasoline.

After living through nine months of COVID-19, one wonders whether today's Americans would be adult enough to make the sacrifices necessary to win such a war.

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