girlhood

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AGA Roll Call: Womanchild

I was one of those girls who went to bed one night a Girl, and seemed to wake up the very next day with a giant set of breasts. My body developed early: I was the first girl in elementary school to have breasts, the first to try and figure out, alone, why I both wanted to hide them and have them seen. I was the first to be forced into a brassiere (and was really pissed about it), the first to have to fend off the strap being snapped behind me all the time.

What came with that was an unexpected bipolarity of being treated like a girl -- including the benefit and enjoyment of some level of androgyny, being allowed to play football afterschool with the boys, picking fights, having "buddies," not being groped -- and then being treated like a woman, but only in the respect of appearance and sexuality, as well as sexual objectivism. I didn't inherit any new rights with my changing body: of course, it was a woman's body, so there weren't any real rights to inherit.

AGA Roll Call: Dear Me

I had the absolute delight, during this year's Seattle International Film Festival, of seeing an amazing film, writer/director Lynn Shelton's "We Go Way Back."

In the film, the lead character Kate, a woman in her twenties, is confronted with her 13-year-old self via letters she had written back then to her older self, one for every upcoming birthday.

On the website for the film, Shelton says: "I once heard a writer refer to the 20’s as a woman’s “geisha years”. Feeling a little lost, she seeks direction from those around her and expends enormous amounts of energy fulfilling the needs of everyone but herself—particularly men. I certainly went through this phase in my own life and what breaks my heart about it is that it was not a lack self-direction and self-respect but rather a loss. At thirteen, I possessed a clarity of vision and a degree of self-confidence that I marvel at today. Somehow, the experience of adolescence stole it all away and it took me years—decades, really—to get it back again.

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