Adolescence for me is the period within human life when most of a person’s characteristics are changing from childlike to adultlike. Changes in the body are the most observable occurring at this stage. Other kinds of developments take place such as, intellectual, academic. Social and spiritual.
During the phase of Adolescence, girls body is changing in size, shape, and hormonal structure. Adolescent girls focus on their changing bodies. They feel, look and act differently. Absorbing all these changes is very difficult. The preoccupation with bodies at this age cannot be overstated. Small flaws become obsessions. Just at this point that their bodies are becoming rounder, girls are told that thin is beautiful, even imperative. Girls in this stage feel an enormous pressure to be beautiful and are aware of constant evaluations of their appearance. The movie “Welcome to the dollhouse” illustrates this phenomena. Dane had never worried who was popular or attractive, but with puberty everything changed. Her clssmates suddenly started to tease her because of how she looked. All of asudden, her looks mattered. Her nickname was “dogface,” and they called her like this to her face. She was largely ignored by the other kids. Her self-esteem started to crumble as she experienced rejections.
At this stage of life, girls who are unpopular, are discriminated. And popular almost always is tied with being beautiful. In this case, Dane was seen as ugly by her classmates and worst of all without an identify. This was the reason why she was left out of social life and missed the developmental experiences adolescents most need at this stage of their life. Dane was starting to notice the importance of physical appearance in order to be accepted by people. Even with her parents this was an issue. Her parents were always paying their undivided attention to their youngest child and not to Dane. Therefore Dane tied it up as “she is pretty that is why they love her, I am ugly, that is why they don’t love me as much, and don’t care about me.” This issue created Dane a lot of distress and made her adolescent stage, even more difficult than what it is.
Dane did not receive the parental support an adolescent girl is supposed to receive. Her parents did not do all they could do, to help her through her adolescence. They did not encourage Dane to be true to herself. She needed their support and their unconditional love, in order to overcome the difficulties she was facing in her adolescent stage. Dane was experiencing pain at this stage, and that pain she blamed on others, her parents, sister, etc. And eventually that pain that she was feeling was expressed as anger. This anger was mislabeled by her parents and was seen as rebellion. Her parents did no realize that her anger was a mask of a severe rejection of herself. Dane lacked both her mother’s and father’s guidance and love through this difficult period of her life. For example all the attention was always given to either her older brother or her youngest sister, but never to her. Her mother always pointed out that she did not have friends. When her sister disappeared, she thought she was going to steel the attention her parents gave to her, but she was wrong. Her parents were too depressed to put any attention on her. Even when she goes out to look for her sister, and disappears for one day, no one notices nor cares, because her sister has already appeared and they are very occupied with her.
Adolescence is a time when development and culture put enormous stress on girls. So many things are happening at once, and therefore it is very important for them, the support, love and guidance that their parents give them. In the case of Dane, she was in desperate need of emotional nourishment.
They should have taught Dane about sex, menstruation, birth control, etc., etc.
During Adolescence girls face two major issues, one is coming to terms with their own sexuality, defining sexual self.
The other issue concern the dangers girls face of being sexually assaulted.
In the Adolescent stage, many girls complain about sexual harassment in schools. The content of this harassment’s are both sexual and aggressive; rude and controlling. Often harassment’s extend beyond remarks to touching. In the case of the film “Welcome to the Dollhouse” where this kid always harasses Dane because he knows he can control her, and that makes him feel powerful. And because Dane doesn’t have a true self, and has no clear position about sexuality, she is easily pressured to be sexually active before she is ready. Even though he finally never abuses her, maybe because he feels pity.
It is obvious that Dane was not emotionally or intellectually ready to handle that situation. I think that most early sexual activity, is harmful to girls.
There is a lack of information and that is why girls don’t have any guidelines for making descisions about sex. Nowadays girls as Dane in “Welcome to the Dollhouse” are coerced into sexual intercourse.
Dane felt an immature love for the new member of his brother’s band. She based on fantasies and neediness, making her unable to function in other areas normally. She was experiencing her first feeling of love. It was an idealized love because it was nor reciprocate. But because he was very attractive, older than her, popular and at the same time was nice to her and treated her a little better than other guys, she fantasized with him. She was trying to find out how she could get him to be with her. She even invites him to her “special people’s house” and that is the first time she feels his rejection. Then she starts to be more real about his feelings towards her. It is very tipical for adolescent girls to fall in love with some unreachable person such as a rock star or some one much more older than them.
I can conclude by personal own experience and by watching at the movie ” Welcome to the Dollhouse” that during the stage of Adolescence girls need, loving parents, descent values, useful information, friends, physical safety, freedom to move about independently, respect for their own uniqueness, and encouragement to grow into productive adults. In the case of Dane, she lacked almost all of these which made her developmental stage difficult and painful.