Much has been made of the fact that the new movie The To-Do List, featuring Aubrey Plaza as a high school valedictorian who’s eager to get some sexual experience under her belt before heading off to college, is one of the few loss-of-virginity comedies whose protagonist is a teen gal, not a guy. But then, few movies at all have teen heroines, horny or not.
Maybe the subjective experience of teenage girlhood is just too foreign for Hollywood’s mostly male screenwriters. Or maybe the studios, which nowadays cater primarily to teen boys, don’t think their audience is interested in anything but adolescent (or arrested-adolescent) male heroes. Or maybe our whole culture is still too squeamish about female adolescence, about recognizing that girls mature into women with their own dreams and desires, strengths and weaknesses, often long before others (boys, parents, society at large) are ready to acknowledge them.
So here’s to that rare creature, the teenage movie heroine. Here are 10 of them who’ve faced the scariest threats that movies can throw at them —from slashers to split ends, from school cliques to sex — with pluck, grace, and style.
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