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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Saenz

Girlhood in Films

So far, looking and keeping up with the trends of pink coquette bows, the clean girl aesthetic, and the sound and phrase of “I’m just a girl” has been introduced a lot in connection with girlhood/womanhood. The funny thing about this is that not all movies show this side of happiness and stress-free. As most rom-coms and coming-of-age movies go, this isn't always the case.

Because of that, I’ve noticed that girlhood is presented in many different ways throughout screenwriting and cinematography. This consists of feeling lonely, enraged, not confident, angry, and even including romance.

When explaining "lonely" girlhood, it doesn't just mean that they are physically alone but could be in a state of mind where they don’t feel as appreciated or supported by those around them. This could also be the idea that they seem lost in life or a specific chapter and can’t find themselves or the person they want to become. This is where the non-confident and sensitive side comes into play. Sometimes, when feeling unconfident or stressed, women tend to feel emotional and cry. Others feel anger, heat, and rage. This is another side of girlhood where we scream at the injustice and unfairness that we come across. It could be towards society, someone like our partners or family, or ourselves.

The following images are from nine films, and each depicts a quote or two about how the character thinks and acts as a woman.

(Images via Pinterest, edited by me, Vanessa)

Amy March in Little Women (2019) Jo March in Little Women (2019)

"Well. I'm not a poet; I'm just a woman." "I care more to be loved. I want to

"I want to be great or nothing." be loved." "If I was a girl in a book

this would all be so easy."

I love Little Women. All the March sisters have amazing lines that scream what it was like growing up to become a woman after the Civil War.

Gloria in Barbie (2023).

"It's literally impossible to be a woman."

This simple but powerful quote begins the famous monologue that Gloria, played by America Ferrera, executes while speaking to Barbie. I loved her speech, and everything she said was absolutely correct. Seriously, if you don't know the speech or haven't seen it, look it up and watch it. You'll see the realness of all the women present in that scene and their reaction to Gloria's words.

Nina Sayers in Black Swan (2010)

"I want to be perfect."

To add, "I was - I was perfect."

When do you know you have reached the limit to becoming "perfect"? Will you stop even after knowing it? Nina did not want to be a failure, but at what cost did this cost her?

Tracy and Evie in Thirteen (2003)

"Tracy was playing with Barbies before she met Evie." "Mothers, lock up your sons."

This movie showed a whole other world of what it's like to be a teenage girl. There are many trigger warnings, so please watch at your expense. To put it this way, I had to keep reminding myself that the characters were 13-year-old girls.

Christine "Lady Bird" in LadyBird (2017)

"What if this is the best version." "I wish I could live through something."

This film explores motherhood and the idea of growing up. Young and wild Lady Bird finds herself apart from her parents and tries to better herself.

Charlotte in Lost in Translation (2003) Pearl in Pearl (2022)

"I just don't know what I'm supposed to be." "All I really want is to be loved".

"I'm a failure."

On the left-hand side, this is what it means to be a woman trying to find herself through a bad marriage. Where does it end? She was just as too lost.

On the right-hand side, Pearl is a character known for how she rages. I loved the way she portrayed anger with her screaming yet remaining calm right after...

Anna Scott in Notting Hill (1999)

"I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her."

Most of these characters just wanted to feel love, even when feeling lonely, angry, and sensitive. Anna stood there, with pride aside, asking for love. Does this also qualify as being part of womanhood?

As I mentioned earlier, multiple films showcase the different sides of what it's like growing up as a teenage girl, what it's like being a woman and having family or relationship problems, and what it's like being lost in your own world. However, these examples are not the main feelings or actions women only do. Just as in Barbie(2023), for example, it showed that we have our happy and love-able times; we can be stress-free, have fun, and do great things....but we can also fail, be misunderstood, and be able to show anger. Films that pertain to characters who show off the differences in womanhood and at different stages are for sure ones to watch. Other films that I would like to make a note of that follow these similar "negative" guidelines are:

  • The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

  • Girl Interrupted (1999)

  • The Florida Project (2017)

  • The Virgin Suicides (2000)

  • The Worst Person in the World (2021)

  • Mustang (2015)

— tune in for more stories from #lachurrosstories 


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