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Help Me Pick My Paper Topic: Girls who wanna “do it”

0021217photoOk, you know that movie where there’s a teenager who knows that the only way to be a real man is to have sex, so he decides that this is the year he’s going to lose his virginity and he spends like the next 90 minutes getting into all kinds of crazy hijinks in the hopes of getting laid? You know, every teen movie ever? I call it “the Virginity Quest.” So I’m going to write a paper about that movie this semester, EXCEPT I kind of want a small twist on it. What’s the GIRL version? That’s totally the plot in every teen guy movie ever, but I want to write about how that specific story ends up changing when portrayed from a female point of view.

So give me example movies? The best one I can think of right now (and what will probably be the center of my article) is Sisterhood the Traveling Pants, but I feel like there has got to be better examples, or if not better, ones I should certainly watch and think about while I’m working on this paper. So what are they? Help me build a list.

For bonus points, I will also take the counterexamples of boy virginity quest movies (American Pie, Can’t Hardly Wait, Losing It, The Sure Thing) and the more traditional female teen narrative where the girl is looking for true love rather than just jerky boys who are interested in nothing but sex (anything by John Hughes ever). Just let me know what list it goes on.

And go!

87 comments for “Help Me Pick My Paper Topic: Girls who wanna “do it”

  1. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    There’s a fairly new movie called “The To-Do List” This goes on the counterpart to American Pie list

  2. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Oh, duh… defintiely! that’s totally a good one that didn’t even occur to me because I sorta kinda forget that it’s a “teen movie” because she Aubrey Plaza wasn’t actually a teenager… But I tend to think of 40-year-old Virgin as a virginity quest movie, even though he’s obviously, you know… 40… so it certainly fits as well as that

  3. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Hmm, I haven’t seen it so I can’t say either way if it fits what you’re looking for, but my partner named Juno right away. Are we specifically looking at something closer to the Virginity Quest, or is it more a basic female coming of age tale? For coming of age you’d have Hunger Games and Divergent possibly.

  4. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    I haven’t seen the movie. But from what I understand, kinda this:

  5. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:03 pm
  6. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Easy A

  7. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Debbie does…

  8. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    There’s a new Dakota Fanning film called Very Good Girls that might be of interest.

  9. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    what was the movie that yeardly smith debuted in, wasn’t that baout girls looking for sex?

  10. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    What about Never Been Kissed?

  11. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I think it misses the mark, but Liv Tyler’s subplot in Empire Records could apply.

  12. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    I have a script for a Porno like that.

  13. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    I thought of Juno too, although her decision to lose her virginity is what drives the rest of the movie. Fast Times at Ridgemont High. TV Tropes also suggests Four Rooms.

  14. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:22 pm
  15. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    What about mallrats? There was that girl who was keeping a date book of all the boys she was with, and what they did together ‘the smiley face with lashes is when he goes down on me’

  16. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    And she was underage

  17. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Actually speaking of Liv Tyler, Stealing Beauty. Also, The Crush and the Poison Ivy series perhaps.

  18. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I remember that because it inspired me to do the same my junior abd senior year of hs

  19. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Virgin suicides was sorta about a girl losing her virginity.

  20. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Lolita !!

  21. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Second for Stealing Beauty. Heavenly Creatures and Ghost World for counter narratives? (Holy $&#+! was Stealing Beauty terrible)

  22. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Really Ghost World ?

  23. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Watch B gata h Kei yamadas first time. It’s a pretty fun one with the female perspective. Anime its about 14 episodes

  24. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    My first thought was Ginger Snaps, but that’s kind of a different movie.

  25. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    What about Kids? Sort of from the girls perspective but with a darker twist.

  26. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 9:37 pm


  27. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Fault In Our Stars for the tear-jerker version.

  28. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Cruel Intentions (teen version of Dangerous Liasons), though maybe that’s too much of game playing for the focus?

  29. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    I’m thinking from looking at a frequent common thread here we have the answer, the counterpart to the Virginity Quest seems to be the Lolita story.

  30. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    I was also pondering Lolita, but that’s more Humbert’s creepy perspective than hers

  31. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Wow… I was out at pub trivia… so I’m just catching up now…

    Looking through the list, I should definitely rewatch Stealing Beuaty again and see if it would work. I don’t remember it very well. ummm… SPOILERS

    To answer Steve: I’m looking specifically for Virginity Quests, but I want to compare them to other coming of age stories and Juno is interesting there since the driving force of the narrative (and what makes her come of age) is her pregnancy which is necessarily post virginity. But I think it does work as a counter example.

    Several of these I haven’t seen and may have to look into, especially Very Good Girls, just because it’s out right now. Who wants to be my date to that?

    Lauren suggested Easy A: Which I thought of but rejected because despite it’s heavy focus on her virginity on the surface, the film is more about her explicitly NOT losing it (even though she pretends she has) and therefore in my mind more the traditional YA female sex narrative.

    Jenn suggested Fast Times which I also thought of. It’s interesting because I think of it primarily as the boys’ viriginity quest, even though the girl is on it too, and she’s the one who ultimately ends up completing it… her story, like Juno’s ends up being more about the pregnancy… But that becomes interesting and could play into my paper. Maybe the plot is often averted in female narratives because of the cultural significance of pregnancy as a marker of female maturity rather than loss of virginity.

    Sarah’s pick of Mallrats is interesting, because she’s certainly questing, but not for virginity or maturity. She has a specific goal of exploring sexuality not maturity and she’s already not a virgin. Though I’m not positive that virginity is the most important issue, as I WOULD count the Sure Thing as a virginity quest, even though Cusack’s character is not a virgin it.

    Christy’s picks of Lolita and Virgin Suicides are both interesting at all. I wouldn’t count Lolita because depending on how reliable you believe Humbert to be a narrator, Lolita is either seducing him or he is corrupting her innocence. But in either case, I don’t really think of the plot as being about her coming of age. Virgin Suicides on the other hand is really interesting and sort of fits the opposite side of the question. What happens when you attempt to hamper teen sexuality at all costs?

    Bryon’s Ghostbusters I don’t understand the logic of at all.

    Dana’s Kids is a good choice too. I don’t normally think of it as a virginity quest because rather than an attempt to become adults through sex, I think of it as an acknowledgement that sexuality exists among kids.

    Charlotte’s Cruel Intentions (and really, any version of Les Liaisons Dangeruses kind of works for the Cecile subplot… but i worry because she’s not really the driving force of the story, so much as Valmont’s corruption of her is. I don’t know that she’s “being an adult” either. I think she might fit more in the Lolita or Kids veins.

  32. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Thelma & Louise is also possible, but hardly teen girl plot.

  33. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Thelma and Louise fits another bill for me. An adult woman’s quest for sexual liberation. I actually see a lot of that for possibilities. How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Eat, Prey, Love (I think. Haven’t watched/read it yet). Even 50 shades of grey. But even though I count 40yo Virgin, I consider the fundamental narrative changed for the others because of their maturity. (Maybe not with 50 shades. That would be on the bubble for me)

  34. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Heathers comes to mind too, but the focus isn’t as much on sex either

  35. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Dude!. The professional!

  36. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Was thinking of the Moranis/Weaver subplot but it’s a stretch at best. Retracted.

  37. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    I totally did think of the Professional. But in the Professional, she isn’t trying to become an adult through sex. Even with the deleted scene where she and Leon have sex, Mathilda is an adult in her own mind and therefore sexually interested in him on that level even though he sees her as a child. To me, it works more on the Lolita line (if you assume Humbert is on the level) than the Virginity Quest.

    (this is all good stuff by the way, even when I say no, you guys are forcing me to think through issues… so keep it coming)

  38. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    It’s a damned good question, and I am intrigued to figure out which movies work, even if it ultimately isn’t one marketed to teens/young adults

  39. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Go classic with peter pan

  40. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive, Pulp Fiction

  41. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    So for the record… the class is “Sex, Myth and Media” and the parameters of my assignment are that I have to talk about Gender and Coming of Age… this is the approach I gave myself, because I think that the fact that the question of female virginity quests has been lacking compared to male ones necessarily because of the way we construct gender.

  42. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Hmmm… Twin Peaks I can see, though it’s less obvious. I don’t see it with Mullholland Drive or Pulp Fiction. Explain?

    Peter Pan would be interesting. But I’d have to read sex into it, since it’s not explicitly there, and I don’t know that I want to go that route given the stuff I just said.

  43. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    MD is probably a weak link, but PF, Mia Wallace seems to be a pretty sex-positive/confident person, though thinking about your goal it’s off track again. Long day, tired. I’ll sleep on it and maybe something will pop out of my brain.

  44. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    You didn’t comment one way or another, but I really think Little Darlings fits the bill. It is a story of two girls who make a bet on which can lose their virginity first. It practically is the poster child for female teen virginity quest movies (especially given the ending).

  45. avatar
    September 16, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    oh… yeah, I missed that one. Yes, Little Darlings is definitely a good example.

  46. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Mystic Pizza and 10 Things I Hate About You both come to mind but likely miss the mark. The sister’s sub-plot in Dirty Dancing.

  47. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Dirty Dancing I definitely thought about. But more from Baby’s POV. But I dismissed it because I think she’s looking for love. And she’s not really “looking” per se. Lisa on the other hand is an interesting choice.

    I had not considered the other two.

  48. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 12:21 am

    I can’t swear to it, but I feel like if you’re willing to go beyond movies that there were plots in Undressed which fit your criteria. Getting ahold of anything beyond the first season to watch, though, might be impossible at this point.

  49. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 12:33 am

    I haven’t seen it, and it’s not US, but “Turn me on, dammit”?

  50. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 12:43 am

    I’ve never watched Undressed and I don’t know that I have the time to sit through a whole TV series even if I could find it. But it’s good to keep in mind in case it comes up in research.

    I don’t know “Turn me on, dammit” at all. But being American is not a requirement

  51. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 12:57 am

    IMDB has the reference- I found it from vague recollections of the title.

  52. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 1:04 am

    Easy A, or The To Do List, are two most recent teen girl movies with a quest for sex or something along those lines.

  53. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 1:04 am

    Undressed isn’t something where you would need to watch the whole show. Each episode had three parts and each part was a portion of a largely self-contained story. Stories generally had three to six parts. There were sometimes characters who bridged between more than one story, but they were not that common and knowing them from previous stories rarely had much impact on the plot. So basically, you would find appropriate stories from within Undressed and just watch those. However, as I said, aside from the first season, the rest of it seems really hard to find at this point. Sumner: you might find this interesting:

  54. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Leaving my thoughts here although I’m not as well-versed in these movies as I could be:

    “Juno” might afford an interesting point of discussion, I think, in terms of the title character being unapologetic for having sex, and being open to talking about the experience and her body. She maintains an amicable relationship with her boyfriend, and he looks after her. But this is Juno’s “coming of age” in the sense that she makes critical decisions about her body/pregnancy (keeping the baby and allowing someone to adopt him), and that she gains more confidence in herself and her relationship with her boyfriend after giving birth.

    I’m also thinking of Adrian Lyne’s “Lolita” (1997). I saw this on TV a while ago, and I remember how poignantly it captures that precarious time when a young girl begins to transition into a woman, and budding sexuality clashes with the nature of still being considered a child. In “Lolita,” the main character–I forget her name–discovers her sexuality and learns how to flaunt and use it, albeit she is coerced into this transformation by a manipulative older man. What’s great about this film is that the main character’s newfound sexual allure and “adulthood” clashes with her ongoing childhood, with her family, with her school life, and then bears heavier consequences with her older lover. And she must choose—will she abandon her childhood, and with it everything that she’s known, in order to live as the independent adult she believes herself to now be? Or will she return to the life she’d had, although she is now irrevocably changed? I guess you can tell by my rambling that I enjoyed the film.

    Not sure if these have what you’re looking for. Hope so.

  55. avatar
    Ian McCullough
    September 17, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Why did I think “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” was about four late-30-something women trying to “get their groove back?” Speaking of… how about “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”? Oh I see you thought of that already… Never mind.

  56. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I may be going to movies that are too dated are too young, but if I leave behind the John Hughes movies where girls are looking for love, I start thinking about movies with girls who are looking for identity/independence, and accidentally (sometimes) find sex/love. Juno might fit here. I’m also thinking of oldies like The Journey of Natty Gann, The Happiest Millionaire, Labyrinth… Legally Blonde probably fits in there with Juno, I suppose (?), or is just the opposite of these others… In any case, I wish you luck. I also really hope that PCU somehow ends up in your paper, and, probably, 40 Days and 40 Nights. I don’t how those fit in except that all of the other movies mentioned above remind me of those, which I kind of adore.

  57. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    i don’t think anyone has mentioned “the to do list” with aubry plaza, that just came out last year i think. i haven’t seen it myself, but it’s exactly that: classic teen comedy but it’s a girl looking to get laid.

  58. avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Clueless, First Bella Vampire Movie, Harry Potter movies (the girls are more overt in their chase of the boys),

  59. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Ok. I just rewatched Stealing Beauty. It definitely doesn’t qualify because she’s not really on a quest to lose her virginity. If anything she’s doing the opposite. She wants it to be about love. There’s also an element I hadn’t considered. The narrative where the girl isn’t interested but is overcome by her passion. That might be an interesting angle to pursue with the counter examples.

  60. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 1:15 am

    Sweet! Thank you! (outsourcing research, the academia of the future!)

  61. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 1:17 am
  62. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 1:22 am

    hah… that’s funny… I hadn’t even looked where the source was… just at the article…. Look what I have right here…

  63. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 1:25 am

    Did anyone say Rules of Attraction yet? I can’t remember it well, but girl virgin, saving it for boyfriend, loses it to townie.

  64. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 1:25 am

    also, Porky’s for the male version!

  65. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 1:35 am

    Ok, not on topic but I found this fascinating when I read about it. And the novel is being made into a movie in Albania?

  66. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 1:36 am

    How have I not ever watched Rules of Attraction? Oddly enough, that’s one of the subplots to 16 to Life, which I didn’t bother mentioning because it’s one of those movies that no one has seen but me.

  67. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 2:37 am
  68. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 2:41 am

    Girl in Progress

  69. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Hehehe. How are you not back in school?

  70. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 2:44 am

    Very Good Girls

  71. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 2:44 am

    I know, I should be. The only thing I really love to do is research…;) and I’m waiting for my coffee before I can even think about getting to work.

  72. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Yeah. I want to see very good girls this weekend. I figure it should work for me. I think Stephanie isn’t interested though. You wanna fly halfway around the world and be my date?

  73. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 2:51 am

    Little darlings. I can’t believe I’ve never seen this…1980s awesomeness and farah fawcett hair.

  74. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 2:52 am

    Yeah. I’m totally using little darlings. I need to get a copy. It’s not on Netflix.

  75. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 8:37 am

    A Phoebe Cates movie “Private School” comes to mind. I seem to remember it was more about her wanting the first time to be perfect and neither she or her boyfriend understand that it depends on their feelings and not some contrived location or setting. So she wants to, but wants it to be special.

  76. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 8:58 am

    What about Easy A? That’s got an interesting twist.

  77. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Would Easy A work?

  78. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Since it keeps coming up and my answer is probably hard for Marli, Maegan pr anyone else to find it all the comments, I said this about Easy A before: Which I thought of but rejected because despite it’s heavy focus on her virginity on the surface, the film is more about her explicitly NOT losing it (even though she pretends she has) and therefore in my mind more the traditional YA female sex narrative.

  79. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Cruel Intentions is interesting as well, in that it portrays the sexually active girl as essentially evil, and the young innocent as… Innocent.

  80. avatar
    September 19, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Yeah, I think I may have mentioned it before too…. all versions of Les Liaisons Dangeruese are interesting from the Cecil POV… but more as to how they treat her sexual awakening. I don’t know that she’s looking to lose her virginity specifically to be an adult so much as her sexuality is awakening in and of itself…. which, to me, is different

  81. avatar
    September 20, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Ok. Just watched Very Good Girls. Also not really a virginity quest. Virginity is a central issue but the narrative forces love and maturity to the forefront. This is actually helping me formulate my thesis. It may be that culturally me do not allow sex to be the end goal for girls the way we do with boys. It is instead a means to an end.

  82. avatar
    September 21, 2014 at 2:40 am

    Ok, also watched “Now Is Good” with Dakota Fanning (right after Very Good Girls — it was a double Dakota day) at the suggestion of a friend of Sarah Presogna’s. First, oh my God, was that depressing. Second this seems to be confirming my suspicion. Sex for the teen film heroine is certainly more acceptable in contemporary film than it once was, but it can never me the end, it must always be the means. In this case, much as in Stealing Beauty or Very Good Girls, the story is definitely about love and maturity. In fact, I’d say it’s a true “Coming of Age” story, as opposed to the male versions where the sex is the goal and there is generally some small life lesson learned only incidentally.

  83. avatar
    September 21, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I don’t know if I agree with your assessment of the male version of virginity quests. Consider for example, “The Last American Virgin, which I’d argue is one of the quintessential virginity quest movies. Sex is the vehicle that drives the story, but the life lesson is unquestionably the reason the story is being told (and a rough life lesson at that).

    Similarly, “Trojan War” is basically just a comedy virginity quest, which means the wacky hi-jinks take precedence over everything else. Yet the final lesson is more than just incidental. The whole story built to it and the ending would be a lot less satisfying without it.

    In fact, I find it really difficult to think of any virginity quest, with the possible exception of “Porky’s”, where the sex took narrative priority over the lesson or lessons (“American Pie”) that were learned.

  84. avatar
    September 21, 2014 at 11:16 am

    That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying the sex quest takes precedence over the rest of the narrative. What they learn is not if issue.

    In the movies you are mentioning sex is the goal. There might be a reason behind it. But the goal is to lose virginity.

    To do list, has this going for it as well as Sisterhood of the a traveling Pants, but it’s rare among girl narratives.

    As opposed to Very Good Girls or Stealing Beauty where the main character is a virgin and maybe even loses her virginity along the way, but she’s not really *trying* to. At least not in a way that drives the plot.

  85. avatar
    September 21, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Cruel Intentions (or Dangerous Liaisons, same difference really) is about this, except that the people who want the virgin to lose her virginity aren’t, well, her.

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