.THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL's Minnie Goetze is a revolution. She is not a sexual object. She is a sexual being. Her sexuality is entwined with her desirability (how could it not be?) but once she becomes a participant, she owns her pleasure in a way we basically never get to see. The gaping maw of her desire scares the shit out of everyone—even herself. But the angel of art, in the form of Aline Kaminsky, reminds her of the power of her own truth.
.A few weeks ago, Runaways bassist Jackie Fox told the world that manager Kim Fowley raped her, forcing a new filter onto our view of the O.G. fuck you to little lady mores. Jackies story shattered the fantasy that sustained the fetish: assuming these girls were empowered, or at least complicit in their exploitation. The part about her bandmates standing by and watching was painful not just because it crushed our idols, but because it revealed the accomplices in ourselves. We knew the dynamic. (Pervy Svengali with five sexualized teens…what could go wrong?) But we stood by, head-banging with our fingers in our ears, singing Ch-ch-ch... Because we believed in the power of rock and roll. We wanted to believe they were writing their own story. And because Cherry Bomb is a really good song.
.Minnie Goetze is writing her own story. (Literally.) Her choices are questionable, though not nearly as questionable as her partners’. Her relationship to consent wanders through some murky places. But Minnie does not come off as a victim. She pursues an inappropriate relationship with an adult and emerges intact. For the most part, she is the master of her own sexual destiny, and of her destiny in general.
.Our views of girls’ sexuality are two-dimensional because we have so few visible examples of its expression. Phoebe Gloeckner’s story and the film it inspired are mind-blowing as works of art, but also as crucial testimonies in a void. Minnie is not meant to be universal. She's the voice of one girl who did, to show that girls can, and they do, relate to the world with as much hunger for experience—sexual and otherwise—as their widely chronicled male counterparts. We need to see this. It will help girls know that they are not alone in their feelings. It will also help them (and us) to learn to recognize what real desire feels and looks like in this little-seen form. We need to see this to normalize it, and to get better at recognizing it when it isn’t there.