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  • Lars Henriks

Nostalgia: Boy films = Good, Girl films = Bad?

A re-evaluation of youth-oriented "chick filcks"


Nisan, my girlfriend and filmmaking partner, is a cinephile.

Thinking about it, she is perhaps the first female cinephile I've known well.

And she has opened my eyes to the question: Why do films for (teenage) boys (Star Wars, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth) get regarded with more loving nostalgia than films for (teenage) girls (Mean Girls, Heathers, Freaky Friday)?

I used to do that, too, until she introduced me to the films that were as nostalgic to her as The Neverending Story or Jackie Chan's 90's output are for me. And I really liked them.

Heathers is a weird, flawless classic, expressing teenage angst in a timeless way!

Mean Girls feels like the continuation of that same (mean!) spirit.

Seriously, the only general thing that bothers me about these teenage girl films (Jawbreaker, too, for example) is their coldness an mean-spiritedness, but watching them as an adult, they are really well made, good looking and a ton of fun!

(The treatment and depiction of the boy-characters, who are usually just shirtless knuckleheads with the intelligence and character of puppies and very little significance for the plot, is kind of iffy, too - but that is, of course, just a fair reversal of the Michael-Bay-style-objectifications of women everyone is used to)

All those movies are at least equally as good as the films that defined MY youth and childhood!

So, is it just (younger) me, or are female-oriented films (in general, but particularly in the youth-sector) generally regarded as inferior - Without much of a reason?

I mean, sure there are silly and stupid ones - heaps - But not more or less than in male-oriented movies.

Is this obvious inherent sexism particular to (younger) me or is it a general thing that something needs to be done about? I more appreciation for the classics of the genre in order? Do these films need to be re-discovered? Or am I late to the party?

I feel like, for a time (before the backlash) a worrying devotion to youth-oriented action and fantasy films has almost been regarded as some kind of marker for intellectuality, while liking "chick flicks" - especially youth-oriented ones - was and is regarded as a very, very guilty pleasure.

If you know what I'm talking about, have the same unconscious bias and would like to challenge your own prejudice, here are some typical examples of the kinds of films I'm talking about, that I'd recommend to check out with an open mind:


Jawbreaker


Heathers


Mean Girls


New York Minute


Freaky Friday


Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen


Easy A


Cruel Intentions


Charlie's Angels


"Bearkittens" was our way of trying to make a nostalgia-bait movie that didn't aim to evoke Spielberg & co., but these chick-flicks, and I'm still very, very happy with the result!


Watch it on Amazon Prime now!

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