Not Just a Phase

Queer Girlhood and Coming of Age on Screen

in Girlhood Studies
Whitney Monaghan Monash University

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In this article, I seek to interrogate the visibility of queer girls in contemporary cinema. I demonstrate how queerness has long been associated with a passing phase of adolescent development in the teen media sphere. I reflect on the nuanced relationships between queerness and girlhood in four contemporary US independent queer films, arguing that Pariah (2011), Mosquita y Mari (2012), First Girl I Loved (2016), and Princess Cyd (2017) are representative of a new wave of queer girlhood on screen. Rejecting the pervasive tropes of coming out as coming of age and just a phase, these films use queer girlhood to challenge linear models of girlhood.

Contributor Notes

Whitney Monaghan is an Assistant Lecturer in Film and Screen Studies at Monash University, Australia. Her background is in screen, media, and cultural studies. Her research examines the representation of LGBTIQ youth on screen, and her research interests include queer screen culture, queer theory, feminist screen studies, and new forms of televisuality such as web series. She is the author of Queer Girls, Temporality and Screen Media: Not ‘Just a Phase’ (2016). ORCID: Email:

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