Coming-Of-Age Stories About Girls? 'Creepy,' Says Some Old Dude

Screenwriter Andrea Portes, whose novel Hick has been made into a feature film starring Chloe Grace Moretz, recalls that after one preview screening a middle-aged male viewer commented, "I can see making a coming-of-age story about a boy. But when it's a girl... it's just creepy."

Great point, guy. That just gave me a flashback to my own spooooooky girl-puberty, and I'm totally creeped out now! Could you come over and comfort me with a bedtime story about the time your soothing man-pubes grew in? Thx, bro.


Now, I haven't seen Hick and I have no idea whether or not it's a good movie—from the trailer above it seems like it could skew drastically in either direction—but in a guest post at Women And Hollywood, Portes plugs her movie (understandably), while making some cogent points about the way we like our girls in popular media. Namely: as uncomplicated as possible.

Most of this backlash was coming from guys who don't want to be put into the head of a thirteen-year-old girl. Luli is curious, she's smart, she's kind of manipulative, she's vulnerable and, guess what... she is wondering about sex...You may not want to hear things that make you uncomfortable. But if you just allow girls to be more than one thing, not just virgins, not just whores, not just princesses, not just basket-cases, not just hot chicks, if you just allow us to be, say, human... you might just learn something.

It's an important point. Cramming all women (and this applies to any group) into archetypal categories obviously isn't the same degree of harm as, like, "I STAB YOU," but it can have some real consequences in terms of the way people treat women. Like, if we're all either virgins or whores, then birth control is only for whores. And who cares about whore health?* And if we already know which old-timey boxes women fit into, then why bother listening to what women actually have to say? And what if you accidentally think of a conventionally unattractive woman as a human being? You might end up marrying her and IT WOULD BE CHAOS!

People are more than groups. People are individuals. So I guess what I'm saying is that, uhhh, everyone should spend more time running up to 12-year-old girls on the street and asking them about their changing bodies.** Progress!

Guest Post: What It Feels Like for a Girl [Women And Hollywood]

*To be clear, I do. I care about it.


Kat Callahan

Actually, I kind of wish we WOULD talk more about changing bodies, female and male, and the views of identities which surround those changes. Since these changes, of course, ultimately have to do with sex, we FREAK OUT about it, herd males and females into different rooms, where they listen to stilted and uncomfortable pseudo-science by terrified out of their minds teachers, and then any other information, much of it horribly incorrect and possibly hilarious, is passed around by the underground twelve year old rumor mill.

So while I do not advocate everyone spend time running up to 12 year old girls and asking them about their changing bodies, as someone who spends all day in a building teaching 12 year olds, half of which are 12 year old girls, I do advocate that we create safe spaces where these conversations can occur in as much or as little privacy as the individual wants. This way we could perhaps help normalise for our adolescents just how wide the range is in, well, pretty much everything.

But what do I know, it's not like I went to school to learn about adolescents or have a career where my primary business is encouraging adolescents, and helping to to become successful and capable adults, which might require getting into their heads regardless of their sexual anatomy.

Naaaaaaw, let's just listen to the film critic.