The Perils of Being a Girl: Our Review of ‘Audrie and Daisy’

Posted in Movies, Netflix, What's Streaming? by - September 29, 2016
The Perils of Being a Girl: Our Review of ‘Audrie and Daisy’

“u have no idea what it’s like to be a girl”.  This sentiment, posted on Facebook Messanger by 16-year-old Audrie Pott shortly before she committed suicide, has never been more accurate.  For a generation of girls, whose lives are documented on and scrutinized by social media, growing up is as complicated and perilous as it has ever been.

Audrie & Daisy, a Netflix original documentary directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, tells the story of Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, two teenage girls who, while under the influence of alcohol, were sexually assaulted by boys they knew and trusted.  But in both cases, as the film painfully details, the assault was only the beginning of their ordeal.  As photographic evidence of their betrayal begins to make the rounds on social media and among their peers, the girls find that the communities which are meant to protect and fight for them are instead complicit in victimizing them all over again.

Teen on teen sexual assault is by no means a new problem but the prevalence and permanence of social media lends a new dimension to the issue.  Photos and videos are easily disseminated and reputations can be made or broken in the touch of a button.  Adding to this the pressure among young people to do whatever is necessary to fit in and be accepted creates a dangerous and terrifying landscape for the young women of the millennium.audrie-daisy-w1200-h630

On the other hand, the reach of social media has made it easier than ever to illuminate the issues of sexual assault and cyber-bullying.  You do not have to look far to find similar tales of girls and women, some who like Audrie chose to take their own lives and others who continue to struggle with the anguish and embarrassment following their assault and subsequent public shaming.  While the stories we read on the internet and see in films like this one are hard to stomach, the fact that they are shared at all is a step in the right direction.

Stories like Daisy’s and Audrie’s must be shared because they challenge us to consider important questions about our responsibility as a society, how we raise our sons and how we treat our daughters.  Perhaps more imperatively, however, they show victims of sexual assault and online bullying that they are not alone and that there is hope.

Audrie & Daisy is a beautiful and powerful movie that is without question difficult to watch.  The filmmakers make great use of animation, photographs, interviews and actual social media posts to tell the tales of these two girls and so many more.  And while at its darkest the film is heartbreaking and infuriating to be certain, it also speaks to the power of hope, the strength of friendship and the importance of understanding what it’s like to be a girl.

This post was written by

Galadriel fell in love with the movies when she was taken to see Superman at the age of three. Legend has it she watched the whole thing standing up with her jaw on the floor. She went on to see Superman four more times in the theatre and developed a lifelong passion for film. Galadriel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto which she parlayed into a ten year stint at Blockbuster Video and more recently a career in nursing. But some things never change – she still loves movies and counts Gone with the Wind, Amadeus, The Shawshank Redemption, La Dolce Vita and the films of Michelangelo Antonioni among her favourites. She is also obsessed with the Oscars and knows more about them than any one person should. Galadriel currently lives in Toronto with her husband and young daughter who is soon to see her very first movie in the theatre.