Hometown: North Weald, Essex
City of current residence: North Weald, Essex
Occupation/ Area of study: Acting
Are there any films that you remember having a strong influence on your ideas of what it meant to be a ‘girl’?: Cracks (2009), Wild Child (2008),
If applicable, in what ways did the films you have mentioned influence your own identity as a ‘girl’ and consequently as someone who is female-identifying? This influence may be positive or negative (please feel free to include as much detail as you would like): Definitely an influence on surrounding myself with female friends + female support, particularly in an educational environment. With Cracks particularly it also was a stark reminder of the toxicity of being excluded from these big groups, though I was never at a boarding school so the stakes weren’t as high for me personally. Further encouragement of female teachers as role models, and a normalisation for me of that admiration being mixed as an outlet of figuring out my sexuality as a teen, having lots of crushes on my female teachers. The more mainstream Wild Child does set up that expectation of heterosexual relationships being the endgoal, which is more of a negative influence.
How do representations of girlhood in your national cinema differ from those of of Hollywood/American cinema?: There is a tendency for a hyperfocus on private boarding schools for girls (which I think might be related to the mass of traditional ‘girlhood’ books like Enid Blyton being set in those environments) which does set a kind of class barrier for the ‘ideal’ girlhood.
Do you prefer narratives of girlhood from your own national cinema to that of other countries? Why/why not?: I prefer British/English narratives compared to most American ones mainly because of the more relatable experience of the education system (even if it’s not the specific one that I’m used to in this country) – as the framing device it can be kind of jarring in certain American films. I don’t think I’ve experienced enough girlhood narratives outside British and American to know what I prefer otherwise though.
How diverse are the representations of girlhood in your own national cinema?: Class could definitely be more widely represented, which I think is happening more in narratives of girlhood explored in television rather than cinema. Sexuality could be included more as it tends to be only heterosexual relationships explored unless it’s meant for an older audience, even if girlhood is a prominent theme. A more multicultural lense of British girlhood is needed as well, even if there has been gradual progress there – we need more Bend it Like Beckham’s where the main character isn’t white.