Words: Laura Vale
Selfies, sex, simplicity. The teenage girl is one of the most precious gems in existence and yet she is subject to constant ridicule and disapproval. She is lost and learning and constantly finding her feet. She is slowly emerging into herself and adulthood. She suffers constant criticism for either being or acting too old or being or acting to young. She is delicate. She is beautiful. She is wise. She is strong and brave before her time, dealing with adapting to societal norms, challenging them, and ultimately recognizing she is above them all. She suffers from debilitating insecurity and yet can find complete joy in herself when she snaps a selfie, which is so readily criticized. Any self-confidence is frowned upon. She laughs loudly and boldly with her friends and retreats to her fear of being too brash, too bold. She is shunned for being ‘unfeminine’. Owning her body is a sin. An opinion is a crime. She is a series of paradoxes.
The teenage girl gang is also one of the most important gems. It is filled with such love and devotion. No matter day or night, the girls will be there, for heartache, for anger, for laughter. They will be the first to confide in you about their sexual experiences. They will not call you a slut or a slag. They will egg you on if that’s what you want, spotting the finest guy or girl and reveling in your joy when you end up together. They will cuddle you at the end of the night. They will be the first ones to pick you up drunk on the floor. You will dance wildly and madly together, in love and in peace with one another. They will drive round when you can’t face anything or anyone else. They deliver the power and strength that you cannot muster. The girl gang is beauty and resilience. It’s bond is beyond all else. The girl gang is beautiful, for each individual’s baby hairs and laughter and belly rolls.
Girls require complete adoration for the challenges they face, for the constant disapproval, the catcalls, and the abuse. The teenage girl is a piece of art. She is complex and confused and will eventually find her place. For the time being she is fragile and takes knocks hard and fast. Each leaves a bruise that will last longer than anticipated. But each girl seems to be able to rise up once again and move forward. She is able to recognize, finally, her own value. The teenage girl, when able to adore and endure herself, is magical.