The play Hairspray main themes are about racism and integration between the blacks and the whites in the 60’s. John Waters is the writer of this play and he wrote this play because this was his point of view of society in the 60’s. The play is set in Baltimore in 1962. At the beginning we are led to believe that this play is mainly about a chubby, overweight teenage girl who is struggling for fame and popularity. She is named Tracy Turnblad who is the main character in this play. Later on we are shown the play’s main message is to support integration.
John Waters used this play to show us that there was lots of racism in the 60’s. He did this by showing us that all the cool people were on The Corny Collins show (which is a popular dancing show) but The Corny Collins show separated the black people and the white people and that they had a special ‘Negro Day’ for the black people once a month. The producer, who is a horrible woman by the name of Velma Von Tussle, pushes her daughter Amber to be a star like she never was.
One of the events in this play is when Tracy auditions for The Corny Collins show. At first Tracy is not accepted onto the show because she believes in integration and they didn’t want to ruin the reputation of The Corny Collins show. Evidence of this is when Velma asks her, “Would you swim in an integrated pool?” Tracy tells her yes she most certainly would. This shows us that there was lots of racism in the 60’s because even though Tracy would Velma and many other people won’t and that’s what they wanted her to answer, they don’t want integration. Also when Velma says, “We must steer them in the white direction,” that also shows there was a lot of racism against black people in the 60’s therefore demonstrating John Waters’ point of view on society back then.
Some of the events in this play demonstrate John Waters’s point of view on society. One of them is that all the black people at the high school are put on detention for the colour of their skin. Tracy has a best friend who is named Penny Piglton but her mum is very strict and uber-catholic and also doesn’t want integration. But even though her mum is racist against black people and wouldn’t even think of Penny dating a black person, she does and his name is Seaweed who is one of the Negro dancers on The Corny Collins show. This also shows another one of John Waters’s point of views, it is demonstrating to us that a black person and a white person can both fall for each other even though it may have been hard and difficult.
Tracy’s mum Edna hasn’t been out of the house for years and she is also big and overweight like her daughter. Edna is too scared to go out into public because she feels self-conscious and she had a dream of being a fashion designer but instead she ended up doing other peoples’ laundry for a living. Soon enough Tracy convinces her to go out and this shows us that even though you might be scared of what you look like and that you don’t always get what you want you shouldn’t be afraid of who you are. Tracy also shows us this by even though she is big she goes for her dream and she gets it! It may have been difficult but she still got there and this is another one of John Waters’ points of view.
When Amber is being mean and nasty she ends up losing her handsome and charming boyfriend Link Larkin whom all the girls love and he is a great dancer and singer on The Corny Collins show. This shows us that being mean is not the way to go. Also Link changes a lot through out this play, he goes from only caring about himself to actually caring about others and helping Tracy to try and integrate the Corny Collins show.
One of the main events in this play though is when Negro Day on The Corny Collins show is cancelled and the manager of Negro Day Motormouth Mabelle along with Tracy and the other black people decide to have a march to protest against this and to protest against segregation. This demonstrates to us John Waters’ point of view on society in the 60’s by showing us that its was a very tough time for black people back then and they had to fight for their rights. Also the black people had a separate part of town for them and basically only black people went there because it was deemed unsafe by the white people. Tracy, Link and Penny go to Motormouth Mabelle’s place and that shows us that these characters believe in integration therefore demonstrating John Waters’ point of view on how racist these times were and it still happens today but there were some white people back then who also wanted integration. The march ends up getting out of hand though and Tracy is accused of attacking a police officer which isn’t entirely true because all she did was lightly tap one with one of the signs. A lot of the Negro’s are arrested but Tracy ran away.
Tracy wants to win the Miss Teenage Hairspray competition, which is on the Corny Collins show and Amber usually wins it, but now Tracy can’t because the police are looking for her but she enters secretly with the help of her mum Edna, her dad, the Negro’s, Penny and Link. She ends up getting in and they all integrate the Corny Collins show. This shows us that John Waters’ believed in integration, therefore demonstrating his point of view.
In the end Baltimore gets integrated and Velma is fired because she was cheating the votes for Amber to win Miss Teenage Hairspray. Seaweed’s little sister little Inez actually wins the competition even though she is black. All of this shows us John Waters’ point of view; he believed in integration and believed there was lots of racism in the 60’s.