City of current residence: Rome
Occupation/ Area of study: Communications Trainee Lazio Innova. BA Communications Sciences, MA Media, Digital Communications and Journalism.
What kind of films on the subject of “girlhood” did you watch as a girl?
As a teenager, I was addicted to “Chick Flicks”, a category that is considered by many to be lesser than. Obviously, since they are romantic comedies or “light” drama, it could be that not all of them proposed a model of femininity similar to what I was looking for. However, in spite of this preconception, the genre is not all the same, even if does tend to deal with some issues in a disengaged way. I was therefore particularly fond of films like “Sidney White”, “A Cinderella story”, “What A Girl Wants”, “Easy A”, “She’s The Man”, “10 Things I Hate About You”. As a lover of TV, I also took after role models like Veronica Mars, Brooke Davis (One Tree Hill), Summer Roberts (The O.C.) and Rory Gilmore (Gilmore Girls). These are characters with dreams that are not always clear-cut from the beginning, but they evolve, grow, and become more aware, especially of their own identities.
How do you think films like these have shaped your identity or your ideas of what it meant to be a ‘girl’?
I always turned to representations of non-hyper-feminine girls. This is because I myself have never been devoted to makeup, clothes and the like, especially in my early teens. I believe that this kind of representation has helped me to better understand myself, the things I like and the possibility that they are also very different from each other. Before, I saw in femininity and in its traits (accessories, makeup) a sort of danger, a trace of vulnerability. Seeing that it is not the case, that you can wear a dress but still make your way through the various obstacles of life with conviction, has reconciled some “contradictions” in me. It may seem silly, but I have always appreciated the unconventional protagonists, the ones that are a bit clumsy, still discovering themselves. I, therefore, believe that these characters did not directly “shape” my identity, but they helped me to more smoothly face the discovery of myself.
Are there any movies you’ve seen that reflect your own experiences of girlhood? If not, what are they missing?
I think that all films set in high school have somehow reflected my experience or at least the feelings associated with it (friendships, relationships and so on). Probably the films that I saw lacked the most critical part of being a growing girl, one who somehow feels she always has to have something to prove, and what happens when one’s family/social situations are not the best.
What are your favourite films on the subject of “girlhood”?
One film that I really appreciated was “Juno” because it seemed new to me in its style and dealt with thorny subjects in a direct way. Then probably “Mean Girls”, which, albeit in an ironic way, highlights many behaviours that are unfortunately so widespread between girls of the same age (labelling, gossip, envy) and against whom I myself have clashed. I have always related to “She’s the Man”, wherein the protagonist must disguise herself as a man in order to succeed in her field… which seems significant to me. And then definitely “Easy A”.
Which movies which you know about now would you recommend to your younger self?
While growing up my tastes broadened, but they never abandoned the inclinations of when I was younger. I would certainly recommend to myself “Silver Linings Playbook”, “The Blind Side”, “Gran Torino”, “Ameliè”, “Mona Lisa Smile”, “You’ve Got Mail” … but maybe these they are a bit off topic. In the teen genre, definitely “Easy A”, which gives a good perspective on the question of prejudices related to gender, especially in the sexual sphere. And I can’t forget “The Art of Getting By”!
What topics are important to you in the narrative of “girlhood? Why?
I believe that when it comes to girls and growth, the key is to try to represent diversity and not always just representing the “Prom Queen”. I like to see the relationships between the characters, in terms of female friendship and solidarity. And above all, I am interested in questions related to the body, from judgments about it to stigmatization. How society imposes a certain vision of the feminine which in some characters can instead be rendered differently or even internalized in new ways.
Do you prefer narratives of girlhood from your own national cinema to that of other countries? Why/why not?
As stated before, I felt more represented by American films. This is because the films which tried to represent Italian students in middle school seemed rather reductive and superficial to me. It did not seem to me that they gave much thought to the problems of boys and girls, especially in regard to issues of gender and equality. These were my feelings when I was younger, at least. The Italian characters all seemed the same to me, all conforming to the styles of Disney Channel sitcoms.
How do the representations of “girlhood” in your national cinema differ from those of Hollywood / American cinema?
Honestly, as you can see from my film examples, I am not a great consumer of Italian cinema (apart from older films). Perhaps this is because of television, but when I was a teenager I developed a meticulous taste which excluded anything from my country, which I think was actually a mistake, as I remained so attached to the idea that they are unsatisfactory that I might have ended up losing out on some good material in the process.