Throughout films about girlhood, what comes back time and time again is relationships with other girls. This, of course, differs massively across national context, each with unique cultures that influence how girlhood is enacted. The high school female friendships depicted in American teen classics like Mean Girls, Clueless, Heathers centre massively around the ‘rules of girlhood’ and ‘bitchiness’. Although many of these films end on a conclusion of moving past the power struggle of these rules, it is often framed as a necessary process intrinsic to experiencing Girlhood. However, this is not present in many international recreations of girlhood. Films like Innocence, Mustang and Indivisible often show a greater comradery in girlhood, rather than competition.
More recent examples in American films about girlhood seem to be making waves to challenge this, perhaps moving towards a perspective similar to those across international contexts. However, they still continuously establish that these power dynamics are centralised to many of the interpersonal relationships, such as in Booksmart, To All The Boys I Loved Before, despite protagonists reluctance to them.
- Alison Winch, ‘The Girlfriend Gaze’ in Girlfriends and Postfeminist Sisterhood (Palgrave, 2013), pp. 8-32