If You Don’t Understand Clueless, You Don’t Understand Me

Shani Silver
4 min readMay 8, 2023

Written for writers. Prove me wrong.

I’ve never enjoyed the dismissal of girls. The assumption that our affinities and capabilities are somehow silly or less valuable than what boys and grown-ups do. The pinkification of a gender letting society know you don’t really have to take those seriously. That strategy was very much the message I received in the original marketing campaigns associated with one of the most brilliantly written films of my youth, Clueless.

Amy Heckerling is one of my professional heroes. And she was even before I found out, by reading this book, that she keeps a slang binder. Do you know how much of a boss you have to be to continue to care about what teens are saying after you, yourself, are no longer a teen? She has collected slang terminology her entire career and it’s what helped her invent new slang terms that folded themselves into the batter of actual society for years to come following the release of her fucking movie. I am in awe. I am spellbound. I am, indeed, totally buggin.

When you’re a 90s teen, Clueless is iconic because of the fashion, the one-liners, the music that crystalizes in your brain becoming full-body reminders of what specific memories sound like. As a kid, you take the film at face value, because you haven’t learned additional values exist…