The teenage friends Ellen (Yasmin Najjar), Sissi (Elsa Marjanen), Nana (Alisa Röyttä), and Eveliina (Anna Kare) are celebrating Nana’s birthday at her house. The girls start dancing in front of the window in their bras and draw the attention of some older boys who are cycling on the road. The girls try to make the boys leave but are also fascinated by the situation. Then the boys ask if they can join the party. Girl Thing is written and directed by Inari Niemi, and it is part of the film anthology Force of Habit.
Directed and screenplay by: Inari Niemi
Produced by: Elli Toivoniemi & Sanna Kultanen
Cinematography by: Päivi Kettunen F.S.C.
Production design by: Laura Haapakangas
Costume and make-up design by: Roosa Marttiini
Editing by: Anna Berg
Sound design by: Lotta Mäki
Ellen: Yasmin Najjar
Sissi: Elsa Marjanen
Nana: Alisa Röyttä
Eveliina: Anna Kare
Einari: Elias Salonen
Joel: Lauri Karo
Country of production: Finland
Domestic content rating: S (for all ages)
To me, the central theme in Girl Thing is that teenage girls have the right to be equally sexual and lost as boys, without being punished or shamed for it. We adults may think we are only protecting girls when we want them to dress and behave in a way that does not provoke anyone, but making girls responsible for someone else’s behaviour is the same bullshit as the whole “your skirt was too short/you begged for it” rape rhetoric. Girls should not have to suppress an essential part of themselves only because some people fail to understand that a child is a child and no means no. Or because for many of us, a wild, curious, and scantily clad girl is too much for some reason. Or because we hope that girls are safe if we teach them to be scared and ashamed.
I do not see predators or victims in Girl Thing. I see girls driven by both insecurity and curiosity, and power that is not explicitly on either side of the window. I see an escalating situation where it would be easy for the adults to shame the girls. But it does not happen. Because it’s their party, their bodies, their right to experiment, screw up, and still feel like there is nothing wrong with them.
What do you see differently after having seen the film? Share your insights!
DISCUSS THE FILM!
The discussion material created by the Yksittäistapaus campaign and the Timeout Foundation help you have constructive dialogue about the film and to see things from a new perspective. The discussion material is especially designed to support dialogue in school lessons.
You can lead the discussion by showing the guidelines and discussion questions to the participants directly through the slide show below. You can download and print the more extensive guidelines with additional support for the leader of the discussion as a PDF file.