I think I might come across as a far more reasonable person if I told you that teen girl vengeance was a theme that just started cropping up naturally in my work, but the truth is I make the conscious decision to explore it every time I sit down to write. Teen girls wreaking havoc in the face of individual monsters and hateful sociopolitical systems is very much my wheelhouse. That’s largely because I like teen girls. I’ve been one. And I know that during the time I was a teen girl, all my teen girl friends were interesting, complicated people: we were funny, creative, political, warm, cynical, intelligent, hard-working, and inexplicably passionate about the 1992 Disney musical Newsies. I think all adolescent girls contain these multitudes.
But still the same tired stereotypes persist (and carry over to the way we talk about grown women): girls are dumb and slutty and dramatic and irrational. I know I internalized a lot of that stuff when I was young and let it affect the way I acted—it was important for me at that time to behave in ways that could never be construed as typical. For a long time, the highest compliment a boy could pay me was, ‘You’re not like other girls.’ Now, I find that so infuriating—why wouldn’t I want to be like other girls? Other girls are amazing!
I think a lot of the time I’m starting from a place of anger on behalf of my younger self, a girl who worked hard to limit myself, to make myself smaller, so that boys would want to hang out with me. The characters I write tend to be girls who have tried hard for a long time to act in a similar way and are forced by circumstance or pure exhaustion to snap and start fucking shit up on a grand scale.
I talked to Adrienne Celt about Vivian Apple
, short stories, Kelly Link, Doctor Who
, and teen girl vengeance, and today the whole thing is up on The Butter!
Big day, folks, let’s eat a bagel.