Why Are Teen Girls Being Barred From This Movie About Teen Girl Sexuality?

If you've watched the trailer for Diary of a Teenage Girl, you probably already have a fairly good idea of what the movie is about. For those who have not, here are the Cliff's Notes: Minnie Goetze is age 15. She recently lost her virginity (albeit to her mother's boyfriend). But, she isn't a victim, or simply falling prey to someone else's desire. She's precocious, hopeful, and excited about sex. If you're thinking, "Finally, a film about young female sexuality that actually focuses on the totally normal sexual exploration of a young woman!" you're not alone. Based on the bestselling book of the same title, Diary represents a turning point in narratives about young women's intimate self-discovery onscreen. Unfortunately, in England, the film received an "18 certificate rating," which means that the potential audience members across the pond — who might benefit most from watching it — will be barred from the theaters. Vertigo Releasing has issued a strong statement of admonishment about the harsh rating. “We are massively disappointed,” said representative Wahida Begum in The Guardian. “The film explores female sexuality with boldness and honesty in an unexploitative manner. In an age where young women are still continually being sexualised and objectified we feel The Diary of a Teenage Girl sends a very positive, reassuring message to young girls about female sexuality and body image." The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) swiftly issued a counter statement, insisting that the movie received such a harsh classification because of the "numerous" and "sustained" sex scenes. Just to make this clear, then: The BBFC has decided that teen girls shouldn't be able to see a movie about the sexual awakening of a teen girl, and this is the sort of paternalistic nonsense that shoved relatable stories about female sexual empowerment under the bed in the first place.

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