Girls can like pink

“I love feminine styles and pink is my favorite color. I am very passionate about fashion and expressing myself in different ways” said junior Evelyn Gazzola.

Photo courtesy of Evelyn Gazzola

“I love feminine styles and pink is my favorite color. I am very passionate about fashion and expressing myself in different ways” said junior Evelyn Gazzola.

Stereotypical teenage girl interests are often invalidated and have become a topic of criticism. Whether it be romance novels, boy bands, the color pink, or makeup, typical “girly” things are commonly scrutinized.

‘If teen girls like it, it must not have value’ has been a longstanding idea present among reviewers and creators of a lot of media. Literature liked or written by and for girls and women is often not taken seriously with the idea of  ‘chick lit’ being dismissed, despite it making up a great deal of the publishing market,” said junior Maggie Austin. 

“Chick lit” refers to fictional literature targeted for consumption by younger women, and these books often discuss womanhood in a light-hearted nature. Austin believes that chick lit authors ultimately stopped promoting their books as chick lit pieces in order to not be deemed “low-quality.”

“Similarly, many men seem to feel that if teen girls take a liking to old franchises, they enjoyed (Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who) or are represented in them, that these entire franchises have ‘gone downhill’ and ‘lost value,’” said Austin. “The perpetuation of stereotypes often insults the bodies, intelligence, and capabilities of teen girls. Teen girls are often told to sit back and allow boys to lead after a lifetime of being told to ignore them, and are pressured into compliance by society.”

Fangirl culture has had a large impact on how society views teenage girls. Teenage girls who take particular interest in a certain celebrity, for example, are depicted as hysterically obsessed fans who invest all their time and money in a celebrity, thus making young girls seem as though they lack the intelligence to perform well in academic settings based on the assumption that they are “empty-headed.” Additionally, girls may feel that they can’t participate in things that make them happy out of the fear that they will be mocked.

“When I was younger, I often felt pressure to try to fit in with the boys, as being a girl was something that made me less intelligent and dampened my potential,” said Austin. “Even when I am correct and based in fact, many men will dismiss my opinions as being ‘too emotional’ or will listen to the nearest man over me. Someone once actually said to me, ‘yeah, but he’s smarter than you,’ upon me questioning another man’s answer to the topic we were discussing. As it turned out, I was correct.” 

Similarly, young boys are also stereotyped. They are thought to like sports, video games, or comics. These hobbies, however, don’t have as much of a negative effect on the image of a teenage boy and typically aren’t subject to ridicule. A girl being a fan of a popular boy band and a boy being a fan of a football team can bring out two different reactions. 

“I feel the typically stereotypical girl isn’t really a thing like it was. As a guy, we do [make fun of stereotypical interests], but it’s mostly for the interest of music and things like that,” said junior Alex Aguilar. “It happens mostly due to some kind of ignorance. I never got anything in the media of that sort, but I’ve heard of it. Everyone picks fun, but sometimes it gets to the point of being rude and insensitive.”

The ridicule goes beyond poking fun at young girls, as stereotypes can also include the sexualization of adolescent girls. Most commonly seen in various types of entertainment, such as social media, girls are often objectified for the sake of viewership.

Teen girls are also subject to the madonna-whore complex for the first time, with girls experiencing the transition from being viewed as family beings into the subjects of social sexualization. Teen girls are viewed as sexual, yet infantile beings, which society doesn’t want to hear but loves to see,” said Austin.

Many girls are taking the initiative to break down social barriers by not conforming to gender stereotypes and not being afraid to like things that they are expected to enjoy doing.

“Teenage girls should really pay no mind to the negativity shared by those who invalidate their interests. You would only be restricting yourself of your own happiness and potential growth. So stand up tall, take a deep breath, and remember that if what you’re doing is harmless, just have fun,” said senior Alaa Elhiraika.