Could you give a brief explanation of the context of belonging in the film Hairspray (2007)?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We can find many examples of the idea of "belonging" in the film.  The fact that Corny Collins' show is racially segregated is one such example.  The heavy notion of racial division and what constitutes "belonging" in each realm is a dominant part of the storyline.  When Tracy auditions for a role on the show, she is rejected for being a proponent of racial integration and for being overweight.  It is in the latter condition where we see another aspect of belonging present.  That helps to establish another element of belonging between the "traditional notion" of beauty, as embodied by Amber and Velma and Tracy.  I would also say that the act of dancing helps to define another element of belonging.  The manner in which the White teenagers and the African- American teenagers dance represents a sense of belonging in each group, with the former dancing in a different manner than the latter.  In this light, dancing helps to reflect a sense of belonging.