The actress re-examined the teen film while questioning its director John Hughes in light of the MeToo movement against harassment.
Writing in the New Yorker, Ringwald, 50, said she recently watched the film again with her ten-year-old daughter and, while fearing her child would be concerned by it, she “hadn’t anticipated that it would ultimately be most troubling to me”.
Ringwald wrote: “At one point in the film, the bad-boy character, John Bender, ducks under the table where my character, Claire, is sitting, to hide from a teacher. While there, he takes the opportunity to peek under Claire’s skirt and, though the audience doesn’t see, it is implied that he touches her inappropriately.
“What’s more, as I can see now, Bender sexually harasses Claire throughout the film. When he’s not sexualising her, he takes out his rage on her with vicious contempt, calling her ‘pathetic’, mocking her as ‘Queenie’. It’s rejection that inspires his vitriol.”
Ringwald noted that, despite all of this, the film sees him “get the girl in the end”.
“If attitudes toward female subjugation are systemic, and I believe that they are, it stands to reason that the art we consume and sanction plays some part in reinforcing those same attitudes,” she wrote.
She said that lately she had “felt the need to examine the role that these movies have played in our cultural life”.