Sisterhood is universal, there’s no doubt about it. The need to bond with other girls, ladies and women who are experiencing the same things you are, is very real.
It is no surprise that a French film called ‘‘Girlhood’’ was a big hit on the Indie circuit this year and that it is already streaming on Netflix.
Besides it being beautifully shot and its unique setting and characters, the theme is very familiar. Every young woman struggles with self identity, independence, confidence and boys.
‘‘Girlhood’’ tells the story of Marieme, a black teenage girl living in the projects of France. Living in an oppressive family setting, with bleak school prospects and the boys ruling the neighborhood, Marieme decides to change things after meeting three free-spirited girls.
She changes her name, her dress code, and quits school to be accepted in the gang, hoping this will be a way to freedom.
There are a few dark moments within the film but overall, there are so many moments that will seem familiar to every female watching.
Without providing too many spoilers, here are just some of the ways every girl in the world can relate to "Girlhood."
The Pressure Of Excelling At Academics
To be fair, both boys and girls have to deal with academia, but there is a different kind of pressure for women.
We have to find a way to keep our grades up, be social butterflies and not intimidate boys in our school. And, of course, we also have to avoid social peer pressure. There’s a lot of crap to balance.
Parents and teachers just don’t get it.
Struggling / Uninvolved Parents
Every family is different, but there’s nothing worse than parents who don’t have time to figure out that everything isn’t alright with you. It’s not always their fault, though; they have jobs to work and bills to pay so they can send us to school while we try not to flunk out and stay away from drugs.
Most kids who "go down the wrong path" tend to have a disconnect with their parents. It’s sad but true.
I’m the youngest of my family, so I am definitely the dependent sibling.
If you’re the eldest, you know all about the burden of taking care of everyone. In a way, you’re the second or third adult in the house. You can’t mess up; you can’t be unpredictable, and you have to be the sensible one.
But, people need to realize the oldest kid is still a kid. Let her do her own thing before she’s too old to enjoy anything.
Big brothers are the worst, am I right? When I was younger, all my brother and I ever did was fight. He was bigger than me so he always had the advantage, which is why I grew my fingernails so I could scratch my way back to victory.
That’s typical in a household with more than one kid.
In "Girlhood," the bullying is a little more serious, which makes me super grateful for my PG beef. Thankfully, most big brothers get out of that "let me torture my sister" phase. Or, they move out.
Teen boy crushes are just a rite of passage. Every time you see him, your heart rate drops; your hands get moist, and you get butterflies in your stomach. But, it’s a great rush, and it’s all very innocent and exciting.
Does he like you? Does he not? Oh, the thrill of it all!
And, it gets even scarier when he returns your feelings. Now what? Do we hold hands? Do we tell people?
In the film, things are taken a little further than holding hands, but it’s still sweet and sentimental.
Confidence needs to be a hormone that gets injected into females when they’re super young because it’s not always something we have. We look to the world to tell us we’re cute, pretty, beautiful, maybe even smart.
Marieme doesn’t start the film with the most confidence, but after a quick transformation (a nice weave and some lipstick), she feels like a woman.
There are plenty of young women reading this article today who find confidence in a similar way.
Dancing To Rihanna
I dare you to find a group of girls that doesn’t dance to Rihanna at a party, a sleepover, a club or inside a girlfriend’s car.
Rih Rih is fierce, independent and rebellious. While she has a string of hits that are easy to dance to, the girls in this film choose to dance to "Diamonds," which literally urges you to "shine bright like a diamond in the sky."
I’ll be damned if every lady in the world doesn’t deserve to do just that.
Let’s all agree on something: Cliques are the worst. They make everyone feel like they have to choose a certain kind of environment to be in all the time. You’re always hoping to get picked to be in the cool one, and you know not everyone is going to make the cut.
"Girlhood" portrays a pretty tough clique who recruits a new girl and they actually seem to be really sweet once you get over the fact that they beat up rival gangs for fun.
On second thought, I’m glad the girls in my high school just liked belly piercings and fake IDs. I am not the fighting type.
Experimenting with New Looks
As I mentioned before, a lot of girls get their confidence from makeup and dressing up -- or down.
The truth is, it takes years to figure out what your personal style is. And, if you’re like me, your personal style changes about every three years.
I was the girl who wore miniskirts with Chuck Taylors. Then, I wore gypsy skirts and ironic tank tops. And, now, I wear maxi dresses and tribal print bodycon dresses.
Yes, I’m all over the place. I’m a female; let me find my vibe.
Sexual Encounters and Their Consequences
Sex is a natural stage in everyone's life, but society makes it out to be a dirty act that only men can partake in without the social consequences.
Our moms teach us to keep our legs closed, and boys treat us like dirt if they hear too many rumors about us. It’s unfair that boys and men can sleep around and not deal with any stigma; yet, their female counterpart dates two guys in the same neighborhood and she’s a "fast one."
Newsflash, society: Enough with the double standard already! It takes two to do the horizontal mambo, and there is nothing wrong with having a few dance partners in your life. Just make sure your helmet is on.
These are just some of the themes explored in ''Girlhood,'' a fantastic film I would recommend to anyone with good cinematic taste and/or female sensibilities.
Also, who doesn't love a French accent, am I right?
''Girlhood'' is now available to stream on Netflix.