Society has progressed past the need for hating teenage girls
(@gallary-ofmy-life / giphy)
If you’re a girl who has spent any time between the ages of 13 and 19, the following statement probably won’t come as a big surprise:
Society hates teenage girls.
The poetry writing, photography-driven Tumblr Girl armed with eyeliner and Doc Martens; the lip-glossed and fully hydrated VSCO girl who never leaves home without a string of Puka shells on her neck and a scrunchie on her arm; the semi-goth, semi-pop E-girl completed with a pair of delicate black hearts under her eyes — doesn’t matter the details, society will find a way to shit all over it.
Those subcultures alone — unarguably distinct, yet universally critiqued — highlight the saddening truth of the matter: when it comes to excessively harsh and often unjustified backlash, everything with a following consisting of largely adolescent girls is up for grabs.
Need an example? Look no further than the widely loved (and even more widely despised) Twilight Saga. The films gave us more than our fair share of contentious content — a shirtless and sparkling Robert Pattinson, the CGI baby that still haunts my nightmares eight years later, and the infamous “You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness monster,” scene.
But the franchise gave us something else, as well: proof that misogyny will stop at nothing to turn harmless teen girl fun into something evil. Melissa Rosenberg, the screenwriter for the films, best described this double standard:
“We’ve seen more than our fair share of bad action movies, bad movies geared toward men or 13-year old boys,” she said, “And you know, the reviews are like okay that was crappy, but a fun ride. But no one says ‘Oh my god. If you go to see this movie you’re a complete fucking idiot.’ And that’s the tone, that is the tone with which people attack Twilight.”
The same goes for boy bands, a music genre constantly belittled and associated primarily with herds of obsessive teenage girls. But male music snobs would be enraged to learn the original “Beatlemania” wasn’t so different from Twilight’s cult following, kicking off with a mostly female following.
And hatred toward entertainment aimed at adolescent girls only multiplies when a teen girl herself is producing the content.
Take the heart and soul of Tik Tok herself, Charli D’Amelio.
With 87.4 million followers at only 16, Charli has not been immune to the hate that comes with Internet comment sections. Comments on her weight, her content, her “undeserved” fame.
Following the recent release of her inspired Dunkin Donuts drink, the mocking nature of the Internet once again reared its head. As if those making fun of teenagers for ordering “The Charli” aren’t the same people who tormented Starbucks baristas with whispered demands for drinks off of the “secret menu.”
A testament to the hypocrisy of misogyny, former Dance Moms cast member Jojo Siwa has faced considerable hate for not being like Charli D’Amelio.
The 17-year-old has continuously faced backlash for her unique style — bedazzled and multicolored clothing, an impressive collection of bows and a ponytail that is always tied as tight and high as possible. But is “not acting your age” really a reason for hostility?
At the end of the day, it’s clear that young girls like Charli D’Amelio and Jojo Siwa don’t deserve the hate they get. Charli has spoken out considerably on social justice matters, preached kindness online and donated $50,000 to those affected by COVID-19 in her hometown. Jojo Siwa has done the same, encouraging resilience and donating $100,000 to aid Australian fire relief.
But do teenage girls, especially those which have gained a following online, have to prove their worth to society in order to not be maliciously attacked?
It’s time for society to let teenage girls be teenage girls — and accept (if not appreciate) entertainment regardless of its target audience.
Besides, if you’ve never marathoned the Twilight movies, I promise you — you’re missing out.
Veronica Nocera is a Staff Writer at Rowdy Magazine. Her simple pleasures include hoarding stationary, rewatching 90s rom coms, and romanticizing the lives of 20th century female authors. She's intensely passionate about the power of language, social justice, and the overlap between past and present. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!