Male nostalgia is a dead teenage girl : The romantic nostalgia of idealized traumatic female adolescence in Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides
Sammanfattning: The historic portrayal of the teenage girl in cinema as a mythical, sexual, hyper feminine and contemporary creature makes way for a specific but fairly common trope. Namely a trope where the teenage girl is used to elicit nostalgia and romance for the male protagonist, specifically because of her trauma and pain. The connection between the youth, femininity, pain and her status as contemporary is what makes the teenage girl an especially nostalgic object. Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides is a film that perfectly highlights and exaggerates this trope. By analyzing this film as well as comparing it to earlier examples, this essay will problematize this portrayal and locate its roots. This essay will analyze these examples and compare them to the general portrayal of the teenage girl in cinema during the twentieth century. By looking at The Virgin Suicides through the theory of the male gaze and the female spectacle, Coppola’s highlighting of this trope becomes clear. This essay concludes that it is unclear if Coppola subverts or simply leans into this trope, but it becomes evident that it is a trope built on the fact that pain and deadness is the height of perfect femininity. Perfect femininity in turn can only be achieved during adolescence, and therefore, the trauma of female adolescence becomes nostalgic.
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