I Know You're Not 15

Mean Girls. She’s the Man. Romeo + Juliet. Stick It. 10 Things I Hate About You. High School Musical 2 and 3. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Bring It On. John Tucker Must Die. Princess Diaries. Dude Where’s My Car? So, so many more.

All of these actors are basically filing for social security and I’m still supposed to believe they’re sophomores or juniors in high school?

My question is why, if there are millions of teenage actresses and actors who are capable of starring in these movies, and who are probably more talented than some of these dumb-asses, are 30 years olds being cast as 14 years old? Note to the casting agencies: we’re not exactly fooled over here. I’m 16, not completely disillusioned.

If my eyes weren’t enough, there’s the huge disconnect when I open a magazine with the star on the cover, expecting to read about their high school experiences, because they’re portrayed as a high schooler in their newest movie, and instead read about their quicky divorce.

Why can’t they cast someone I can relate to? Why can’t they cast someone who looks like me? I know we’re told that we, as the public, can’t relate to someone who isn’t beautiful, won’t want to see them in movies, won’t care about them. But I don’t know that that’s true.

The problem is, even though I’m completely and totally aware that what I see on the screen is not what I, as a real teenager, am supposed to look like, or even could look like (some things just come with maturity), it still affects me. I’m smarter than that. But still. It’s hard to watch someone for over an hour, relate to their story, then write it off as something you shouldn’t relate to in the first place.

Bring It On—cheerleaders might still carry around that ridiculous stereotype of being beautiful…but I know that no high school cheerleader I’ve seen around here looks like Kirsten Dunst. Mean Girls—Rachel McAdams is great, but no 17 year old has that body or even that face. I mean if you really think about it, even really beautiful teenage girls don’t look like that.

We’re always talking about impossible standards of beauty in the media. Maybe if we started creating appropriate standards, even if that is casting a beautiful teenage girl instead of a beautiful 20 year old, we can change our standards just a little bit. Of course, I’d like to ultimately see the most talented girl, and the one that fits the character the best (including AGE) win the role no matter what they looked like. But I think this is a step we could probably all agree on.

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Julie Zeilinger
Founding Editor of The WMC FBomb
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