Last week the Huffington Post reported on new data released from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which found that "adolescent girls suffer from depression at a rate nearly three times that of boys their age." As it was stated:
A depressive episode was defined as a period of two weeks or longer during which teens experienced a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure, along with other changes in day-to-day functioning, like a loss of sleep or appetite or changes in concentration.
The figures also suggest that an average of 1.4 million girls between ages 12 and 17 experienced one of those episodes within the last year -- a rate that is nearly three times that of their male peers.
I don't know about you, but I do not find this information all that shocking. First, the data came from one-on-one interviews with teens of this age group as well as personal questionnaires. Girls, by nature, are much more inclined to talk about their mental state as opposed to their male counterparts. How many pubescent boys do you know that will openly admit to having "feelings?" I don't even know many grown men who are willing to cop to their emo side.
Secondly, and not to in any way belittle teenage depression, but girls of that age are so dramatic. Ladies, do you remember being 14? Life was the worst! The littlest thing could set you off into an all-out fit of hysteria. Every middle school dance I can remember consisted of nothing but girls crying in bathrooms over boys who were more interested in drinking soda and burping than dancing. I spent the majority of junior high school holed up in the bathroom either comforting a crying friend or crying myself.
And of course we were always crying; at any given moment your pants could be covered in blood and you wouldn't even know until some football-playing dillweed pointed it out to the entire school. I knew girls who used to walk around with their backpacks slung lower than their rears in the unforeseen event that their period just decided "today was the day."
I cannot even imagine being a teenage girl now and all the horrors you have to contend with. Now, when you are not invited to the older kids' keg party and you spend the night watching PBS with your family, you have to see the entire affair documented pictorially on Facebook. Your diary is your Twitter feed and your mom and kid brother can totally read it at will. Your dad knows that you are buying maxipads because Foursquare tagged you at Walgreens. OMG, who wouldn't be completely depressed?
Ignoring the violations of privacy that young girls have today, I think it is pretty safe to say that teenage girls have always been a depressed bunch and will forever be. They can't help it.
And luckily they are because we grownups love to vicariously relive our teenage maladies so that we can feel better about "getting older." Ogling the pathetic plights of teenage girls in movies is practically a national past time. Here are our top ten favorite depressed movie teens.
10. Pump Up the Volume
Granted,Pump Up the Volume
is all about Christian Slater's angsty pirate radio DJ, Mark Hunter. However, his devoted listener, the overachieving daddy's girl Paige Woodward, shocks the entire school when they find out that despite her outward appearance, she is a miserable mess. Just like any normal depressed teenage girl, she microwaves her pearls.
9. Sixteen Candles
There is absolutely nothing that happens to Molly Ringwald's Samantha that isn't the most embarrassing moment in her life. Her parents forget her birthday, her underwear goes on nerd display, her grandparents snore, her sister's a bitch; her life is a series of horrors. I am surprised she even lived to be 16.
Winona Ryder plays the depressed goth teen to perfection in this Tim Burton classic. There is nothing as disheartening as the scene in which she can't even write a good suicide note without dramatic self-deprecation. "I am alone. I am utterly alone."7. Welcome to the Dollhouse
This wonderful indie flick came out in 1995 and focuses on the god-awful life of Dawn Weiner (Heather Matarazzo). It's really no wonder that Dawn is so depressed, you would be too if a boy told you every day that he was going to rape you and then he chickens out when you actually want him to do the deed.
6. Ghost World
Thora Birch's Enid ofGhost World
is a real sad piece of work. She is the epitome of that late '90s (the film was made in 2001) stereotypical, despondent teen slacker who says things like, "I just hate all these extroverted, obnoxious, pseudo-bohemian losers." Life is, like, so totally awful.
5. Girl InterruptedGirl Interrupted
is not lacking female head cases, that is for sure. One of the saddest characters in the movie is portrayed perfectly by Brittnay Murphy. Murphy's character is a bundle of self loathing nerves and in the end, she takes her own life. Sad.4. The Virgin Suicides
The focus of this Sofia Coppola film is a family of sisters living under their parents' martial law. Of course these girls are screwed up. Their parents are overly protective, which causes nothing but retaliation and eventually mass suicide. This is teen girl depression to the extreme.
Winona Ryder, once again, was the 1990s movie illustration of teenage depression. She hates her friends but feels compelled to be a part of their incestuous clique. Her unhappiness turns into rage when she hooks up with the crazy new dude in school and the two go on an "accidental" killing spree. Teenage suicide man, don't do it.
2. The Breakfast Club
Ally Sheedy is such a basket case she doesn't even have detention, yet she goes! Girl, you're crazy; brush your hair.
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1. Splendor in the GrassShe is cra-cra.
Natalie Wood is a nutjob in this movie! She becomes disturbingly obsessed with her boyfriend Bud (Warren Beatty), and when he cheats on her with the type of girl who "does that sort of thing," Wood goes absolutely manic. The result is that she is institutionalized in order to regain the sanity lost by her broken heart. Talk about dramatic.