LitCrit: There’s Something Dangerous About the Boredom of Teenage Girls


There’s something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls was a very specific trope that was popularised on tumblr a few years back. The actual quote comes from the novel Dare Me by Megan Abbott, which tells the story of a fiercely competitive cheerleading team. This novel as well as Megan Abbott’s other mystery novels focused on the relationships of teenage girls, they showed the obsessive nature that could easily develop in the lives of teenage girls.

The more I did it―the more it owned me. It made things matter. It put a spine into my spineless life and that spine spread, into backbone, ribs, collarbone, neck held high.
It was something. Don’t say it wasn’t.

I must add a trigger warning, some of these books contain elements of eating disorders, and sexual assault. So if you’re thinking about reading any of these books look into trigger warnings.

If you want to read another explanation on this trope I’d recommend reading this. During its heights on tumblr the aesthetics surrounding the trope had a tendency to hyper-sexualise teenage girls, as well as glamorize eating disorders. Before reading anything from this list i would recommend you to read these posts. 1, 2. They shine light on why the obsession surrounding this trope turned toxic, and why the trope stopped being popular on tumblr.

The majority of the people who partook in the community surrounding this were teenage girls themselves, who saw these teenage girls who had flaws. Instead of being portrayed as Mary Sues these teenage girls were more, not necessarily relatable, but they displayed a different part of the teenage girl, that many hadn’t seen before. But with this came the glorification of the characters, and with that the glorification of eating disorders, and all the other more unhealthy aspects of these books.

Other novels fit this trope, my favourite apart from Dare Me has to be Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, much like Dare Me it tells the story of an obsessive friendship. Dangerous Girls is much more a mystery than Dare Me, where Dare Me was a thriller that chilled you to the bone, Dangerous Girls is a mystery; it leaves you on the edge of your seat. Dangerous Girls is the story of a teenage girl whois convicted of her best friends murder, which happened while they were on spring break in Aruba.

The truth is, we made each other, like we learned about in science class. Symbiosis.

As i mentioned previously Megan Abbott has written other thrillers, that fit into this trope. Most notably is The Fever. The Fever is about a close-knit family, who lives in a just as tight-knit suburban community. It focusses on three best friends, and when one of them falls ill to a mysterious disease, hysteria spreads through the community. When more girls start falling ill, secrets about this seemingly idyllic town starts to come out, and threaten to unravel the entire backbone of this community. The novel explores the relationships and situations in which teenage girls might find themselves in dangerous and even lethal positions.

I have another friend who gets what I’m really like, and I get her. She scares me. Did you ever see yourself times ten in another person and want to cover your eyes?

Honorary mentions:

May be books I haven’t read but that have been grouped in this trope many times.

A child weaned on poison considers harm a comfort.

We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together. We knew that the girls were our twins, that we all existed in space like animals with identical skins, and that they knew everything about us though we couldn’t fathom them at all. We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them

I lie there and wait, and remind myself over and over that it doesn’t last forever. That there will be another day and after that, yet another day. One of those days, I’ll get up and eat breakfast and feel okay.

If I’ve learned one thing today, it’s that teenage girls make Moriarty look like a babe in the woods.

My old ballet teacher had said the difference between a good dancer and a true ballerina is that a ballerina must be perfect—like a doll come to life, made just for the stage.

I had originally meant for this post to be about a trope that I loved years ago but mainly forgot, I wanted to write a bit about some of my favourite books that conform to this trope, but when i went to tumblr to research the books on there, i found some of the imagery that surrounded the trope to be, frankly, disturbing. This lead me to read some critiques of the trope, and i decided to make this post more critical of the trope. I decided to still keep the part where i talk about my favourite books, but to preface it with some mild critique.

This was how LitCrit came to be, and I hope to keep posting LitKrit every friday. The main objective of LitCrit is to look at some genres, tropes, and maybe even specific books that I love, or that are beloved by the public, and to analyze them critically and admit that not everything we love, or have loved needs to be perfect.

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