Honorable Mention

Growing Up Girl

  • Photographer
    Juliette Lynch

Five pretty young girls stand around a kitchen island chatting and making cookies. But the conversation isn’t exactly G-rated. It skips from sex to cheating boyfriends, parties and drinking, parents and divorce. They talk of their friend’s attempted suicide, but move on quickly. Such events are merely everyday challenges in their young lives. These high school senior girls come from a privileged community. They grew up together, popular and beautiful. But out of small town America emerges the darker reality of their struggles to hold on to their individuality amidst depression, divorce, love affairs, betrayal, absent parents, and academic pressure.

Story

It looks like a scene from a Hilary Duff movie: five pretty young girls stand around a kitchen island chatting and making cookies. But the conversation isn’t exactly G-rated. It skips from sex and who hooked-up with whom to parties and drinking, parents and divorce, cheating boyfriends, and why girls aren’t friends anymore. Their tones grow somber when the discussion moves to their friend’s attempted suicide, but within minutes they move on. Such series events are merely everyday challenges in their young lives. These high school senior girls come from a privileged and wealthy community. They grew up together, popular and beautiful. But out of small town America emerges the darker reality of their struggles to hold on to their individuality amidst depression, suicide, divorce, love affairs, betrayal, emotionally and physically absent parents, and the pressure to succeed academically. My work points to a wider culture within American society in which teenagers are not given the necessary relational, emotional, and communicative tools to navigate life and it’s difficult situations. By understanding the issues that young girls face, society can work at solving the problems and providing teenagers the tools to maturely handle the more complicated future.

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