What is more magical, peculiar, whimsical and curious than being a teenage gxrl? It’s an experience that is fleeting and so quick it almost feels like it never happened in retrospect, yet feels like a lifetime when you’re in the midst of it. I talked to two teenage gxrls whilst in Hong Kong, Elsa and Guenevere, who are both turning fourteen this year and have gone to school together for two years now. We spent the day in Central, the city area of Hong Kong, where people wear tailored suits and branded bags. Being a teenage gxrl is a ‘if you know, you know’ type of thing that allowed me to start a conversation with the gxrls the second we met at the fast food restaurant. I think the sheer experience of it gives fellow teenage gxrls a very specific language that’s only for us, and it’s probably the reason why we started talking about boys and astrology (Elsa is a Sagittarius and Guen is a Leo) the minute we sat to eat our food.
I’ve always been passionate about what teenage gxrls have to say. Guen and Elsa prove that they’re welcoming by nature, and are almost always willing to open up, if someone would just ask the right questions. The gxrls talk about drama at school, and both mention how they seem to get dragged into drama that isn’t theirs. “It makes life harder, makes going to school harder,” Guen shrugs. We even talk about crying at night, “I cry about my insecurities and people I’ve lost in the past,” says Elsa. “I tend to keep it bottled up, too, since I don’t want to bother anyone,” Guen admits.
We talked about rebellion, honesty, and passion. Earnestly, Elsa tells me that the most rebellious thing she has done is shoplift. I instantly asked her if she was scared, and she was, “but I did get away with it,” she laughs after. Guen, on the other hand, is occupied by societal issues, “I grew up with activism around me, so I’m passionate about gender equality and feminism,” and she notes that standing up for the queer community is kind of like rebelling against her parents. They both wish people understood them better. “I wish people knew that I’m not mean, and that teenage gxrls are just trying to figure out life. We really don’t care about what you look like, we just care about what we look like,” Elsa explains. “I wish people knew that I’m tough, that I work hard and I’m passionate, even though things don’t come easy to me,” Guen says. “I wish people knew teenage gxrls are all going through something, too. Just because we’re young, doesn’t mean it’s dramatic.”
They are multificated people, and I know they have worlds within them, but being a teenage gxrl almost always seems to depend on the way you look. I asked them what they would wear if there were no restrictions, and Elsa admits that she’d wear something out of her comfort zone that makes her feel good, “my insecurities stop me from wearing what I want to wear, and I’m trying to get over that,” she says. Guen shares a similar sentiment, saying that she wishes she could wear clothes like cropped tops and shorts whenever she wants. “It makes me feel the most me, it’s my style.” Finally, I asked them for a song that makes them feel alive. They both chose Drake; Elsa’s is Trust Issues, the remix with Justin Bieber, and Guen’s is One Dance.
Watch the short film here: