Posts Tagged ‘teenage rebellion’
Between last October and now there have been several high-profile movies released that touch upon the subject of teenage girls trying to fight to avoid their planned futures – or to be more accurate, their futures which others have planned for them. Some examples of these movies are An Education, Whip It, and the recently released Alice in Wonderland.
Jenny (Carey Mulligan), the lead girl in An Education, sees herself as different from the other girls in her high school class, perhaps in terms of maturity, worldliness, intelligence, or simply personal goals. Unlike the other girls in her class she, like so many teenagers, begins to show contempt for the scholastic system within which she sits. Told to be ladylike and that her education is of the utmost importance, Jenny tires of hearing how the only way to success is through the strictly mapped pathway that the education system provides. As a result she rebels against structure and experiments with uncertainty. Likewise, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is trying to avoid a marriage that both her mother and society have set up for her, either ignorant or indifferent to the fact that she has no romantic feelings for her suitor. The sole rationale behind the union is that she is both young and attractive and her fiancé-to-be is financially comfortable. But worse, Alice is expected to bear the young man’s children so as to fulfill her social role as a woman. Naturally, when she finds herself falling down the rabbit hole and trapped again within the world of Wonderland, she’s not very eager to get home.
Both of these films touch on the same subject occurring at different time periods (Jenny the 1960s, Alice the Victorian era – both in England), which is the illumination of the social role of young women and their rebellion against that role. The question becomes: why do these movies – released within months of each other – ask for our interest in this matter? Is it that the issue is so inescapably attributed to our conception of the average teenager? Moreover, is the issue so inescapably attributed to our conception of the average teenage girl? Bliss (Ellen Page), the main protagonist in Drew Barrymore’s Whip It, is forced to deal with wanting a different future than what her mother has planned for her (roller derby vs. beauty pageants). It would appear that the society within which Bliss resides is not pressuring her to fulfill any kind of specific social role, but she nevertheless feels naturally compelled to resist being led on any path that she herself has not devised. If these representations of teenage girls, depicted across three different time periods, are indeed intended to be considered authentic and representative of the archetype they illustrate, then one must ask what the relevancy is in bringing these characters to our attention at this point in time. Read the rest of this entry »