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February 9, 2024

I’m literally just a teenage girl

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Anne with an E says it best herself, “How I love being a woman!”

From navigating social media dramas to grappling with insecurities and breaking social expectations, all while you’re just trying to convince your mom to drop you off around the block from the movies rather than where your friends can see. Being a teenage girl comes with “The Care and Keeping of You: Body Book for Girls” and a super cute matching rollercoaster ride of emotions, personal growth and self-discovery. Turning 20 this year, I not only feel like a coming-of-age movie, but also that these past 19 years qualify me as a seasoned teenage girl.

A part of being a teenage girl includes the Instagram rabbit hole we all seem to fall down a little too deep. You know, the one where you just want to see if he has a girlfriend, but accidentally end up finding out he has three sisters, has been playing baseball since he was 7 years old, and in 2017 he took some blonde girl to the 8th grade winter wonderland dance. Yeah, that one. Who doesn’t love Instagram and all its wonders? Wonders like: I wonder if I could get that skinny, or I wonder if he will like my post. As a teenage girl, struggling to maintain a body image that satisfies societal standards while not conforming to any extremes, and balancing a desire to be attractive without feeling objectified is a delicate tightrope walk. While social media no doubt lives up to its negative connotations, being a teenage girl in small-town Kentucky, social media serves as arguably the best outlet for self-expression, global awareness and support networks.

Next stop on the emotional rollercoaster: love, heartbreak and coping mechanisms. Three things I have come to know all too well these last six years. For a girl, teenage relationships are filled with joy and exploration. The anticipation of a new crush is almost as exciting as the sweet moments of dating. For a teenage girl, every small step in a relationship seems like an adventure waiting to unfold. It only takes something as simple as how a girl will make a post hoping THE guy, the one climbing his way up the best friends list on Snapchat, slides up. Then, wait filled with excitement. As for myself, I have spent my girlhood advocating for society as your local bi-sexual icon. From the “How did you tell your mom you’re gay?” texts, to being the support our closeted queens need, being bi-sexual has allowed me to have a sense of understanding and empathy amongst teenage girls. The acknowledgment of love beyond gender has allowed me to build emotional connections that have brought me enough joy for a lifetime. Though teenage relationships offer moments of joy, they also come with their fair share of heartbreak. That feeling of going from No. 1 best friend to blocked typically calls for eating ice cream as a meal with a side of debrief with your best friend. Of course, Olivia Rodrigo will be playing in the background while you unironically post with the caption “guys she literally wrote this song for me.”

Speaking on behalf of all teenage girls everywhere, Olivia Rodrigo wrote “enough for you” for all of us. Navigating the labyrinth of personal growth amid societal pressures while trying to find an identity beyond comparisons and expectations presents a journey of self-discovery that took the bumpy route. As a teenage girl, the unwavering support from my friends and family have been my rock. While hours away from home, my girls are the pillars of understanding. We drive through that bumpy route together listening to every Disney song under the sun. As we embrace each other’s quirks and kinks, they make the journey less daunting. Then, there’s my mother who for the 17 years I had her was the guiding light in my adolescent self-discovery. Her gentle understanding and unwavering love remain an echo in my heart. With the lessons and values she instilled in me, and the sisterhood amongst my friends, the women around me continually inspire the limitless possibilities that await me. Because of these women, I am never just a teenage girl, but instead I’m a girl with a voice that matters and ideas that hold significance. Being a teenage girl means learning not to dwell on the limitations, but instead supporting each other to break expectations.

Now that I have reached the prime age of 19, I can confidently attest that teenage girlhood is a rollercoaster of societal pressures, emotional highs and lows, and a quest for personal growth. As I step forward into the next chapter of my life, I stand not merely as a teenage girl, but as a woman in a world where the diversity and strength of femininity know no bounds.

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About the Contributor

Laurel Brown is a sophomore from Cadiz, Kentucky, finishing her first semester at Campbellsville University. This is her first year reporting for The Campus Times.

She transferred from the University of Kentucky in the fall of 2023. She is a motivated dual major journalism and political science student with a minor in criminology.

Alongside her studies, Brown is an alum of Commonwealth Honors Academy, a current cheerleader for Campbellsville University, and the social media assistant at WLCU Studios. Brown was also a member of the social media committee and director of DEI for Alpha Gamma Delta and Panhellenic Council DEI representative at the University of Kentucky. While at UK, student Brown worked as a First Year Experience Ambassador, collaborating with UK marketing.

Brown’s hobbies include hanging out with her BEST FRIEND Nathan Whaley.

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