Teenage Girls

“I Want to Slap His Hideous, Beautiful Face”: Sexual Awakenings and First Crushes in ‘Bob’s Burgers’

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Honestly, Tina Belcher is the role model young girls have been waiting for, and I’m so glad she’s finally arrived. However, “Boys 4 Now” – the episode that made me really believe ‘Bob’s Burgers’ is *probably* the best show I’ve ever watched – deals with Louise getting her first crush. Rage-filled, insane, absolute genius Louise gets a crush on a boy. Unsurprisingly, she does not take this news well.

Catherine Breillat’s Transfigurative Female Gaze

A Real Young Girl (Une vraie jeune fille)

Breillat’s complete oeuvre (which certainly demands our attention beyond these three films) delivers continually shocking treatment of female sexuality presented though the female gaze. She wants us to be uncomfortable and to be constantly questioning both representations of female desire and our responses to those representations, and how all of it is shaped by a religious, patriarchal culture.

Hate to Love Her: The Lasting Allure of Blair Waldorf

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In an interview with the ‘New York Times,’ Gillian Flynn says, “The likability thing, especially in Hollywood, is a constant conversation, and they’re really underrating their audience when they have that conversation. What I read and what I go to the movies for is not to find a best friend, not to find inspirations…It’s to be involved with characters that are maybe incredibly different from me, that may be incredibly bad but that feel authentic.”

Life is a Battleground in ‘Drunken Butterflies’

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Rockhopper Productions’ first feature film, ‘Drunken Butterflies,’ is a fun-to-watch experiment in filmmaking that’s focused on friendship between working-class Newcastle girls.

In Spite of Mean Girls: The Radical Vision of ‘Pretty Little Liars’

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In her bestselling collection ‘Bad Feminist,’ Roxane Gay starts the listicle entitled “How to Be Friends with Another Woman” with this as the very first item: “Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be bitchy, toxic, or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses—pretty but designed to SLOW women down.”

Girls Just Wanna … Take Control of Their Own Lives

Janey and Lynne bond over Dance TV

I’m a lot older now and I still squeal with excitement when this film comes on. When it showed up on Netflix my daughter and I watched the movie over a dozen times. We would take “supreme silly” dance breaks whenever the music would play and when the Netflix purge occurred we found a DVD copy (OK we got two in case one got scratched or lost) of our very own on Amazon so that we could continue this tradition at will.

Enjoyment Isn’t an Item on ‘The To Do List’

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The sex in ‘The To Do List’—which comes about for Plaza’s character Brandy Klark after she realizes she has no sexual experience going into college—was utterly joyless; it was as if Brandy was going through the motions. This is hardly surprising considering the premise of the film is to check off a smorgasbord of sex acts over summer vacation in order to be appropriately sexually educated as she becomes tertiary educated.

More than Just a Monotone: How Well Do You Remember ‘Daria’?

A memorable shot of an uncaring Daria from the show’s theme song

It’s been more than 12 years since ‘Daria’ ended and it’s still in public consciousness. The beloved MTV series and its heroine frequently end up lists of best TV shows, cult shows, favourite female characters and 90s nostalgia. Music licensing issues that held up home video releases for years, ended in 2010, when a DVD set with the series’ entire run of 65 episodes and two TV movies was released. And last year, College Humor produced a fake trailer for a live-action movie starring Aubrey Plaza. In today’s media landscape, where cancelation no longer means the end of a series, Daria is often one internet commentators beg for more of. And yet, the memory most people seem to have of Daria as a character isn’t quite right.

When Girlhood Fantasy Turns Murderous: ‘Perfect Sisters’

Sandra and Beth rely on each other for comfort and reassurance

It’s no easy feat to make a true crime film that rises above Lifetime schlock. It takes things like dark humor, broader social context, impressive cinematography and storytelling risks to breathe life into a stale murder plot. With that goal, ‘Perfect Sisters’ isn’t exactly a blazing success, often falling into the trap of domestic melodrama, but I think it’s still worth a watch.
Based on a notorious Canadian case where teenage sisters drowned their mother in a bathtub, it’s the story of Sandra (Abigail Breslin) and Beth (Georgie Henley), sisters whose whole world is each other.

‘It Felt Like Love’ (or Something): One High School Girl’s Sexual Exploration

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Some of these scenes we watch like they are part of a horror movie, wanting to say to Lila, “What are you thinking?” Lila, with all her lies (to her father, to Chiara, to her neighbor and to Sammy) never takes the audience (or anyone else) completely into her confidence, so we don’t know what she might do next–and dread seeing her do it. Besides Chiara (who does offer some limited advice and support) Lila has no female figure in her life who can help her navigate the complicated sexual landscape in which boys treat her as if she’s not there. While she listens and watches they talk shit about other girls (and even about her), look at porn and listen to hip-hop in which a man brags that “she fuck me…until she bleed cum.” Lila’s mother is dead and her father hardly seems like someone she can talk to. We can see she wants someone to care about her comings and goings as much as she wants sex: when she texts Sammy or calls him and gets his voice mail the family dog is often her only company.

Fandom, Feminism, and One Direction

L-R: Louis, Niall, Liam, Zayn, Harry

One Direction is, first and foremost, a product. And yet I think the consumption of 1D by fans demonstrates that young women are not completely manipulable by corporatocracy, but rather comprise a powerful grassroots movement capable of taking what they are fed and reappropriating it on their own terms, often in ways that defy the design of the corporate media producers.

‘Bob’s Burgers’: The Uniquely Lovable Tina Belcher

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Delightful Tina. Shy, painfully weird, butt-obsessed, quietly dorky, intensely daydreamy Tina. Tina is a little bit like all of us (and–cough–a lot like some of us) at that most graceless, transitional, intrinsically unhappy stage of life that is early adolescence. She is also a wonderfully rich and well-developed character, both in her interactions with her family and in her own right, and she’s arguably the emotional core of the whole show.