I knew the younger generation was addicted to social media, obsessed with looks, captives on “likes”.
But after watching the Quebec documentary Jouvencelles (currently in cinemas), I felt a deep sadness.
This obsession and this addiction is much more serious and much more harmful than I imagined. Because the young women we see in this documentary suffer from a serious illness: they have no self-esteem.
AWARDED AT A FESTIVAL
With Jouvencelles, Quebec director Fanie Pelletier won the Best First Feature Award at the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival in the Czech Republic.
She gave the floor to three groups of young Quebec girls who spend hours on social media (TikTok, Instagram and co.) to show themselves from all angles in live videos to virtual voyeurs around the world. . They are attention hungry, responding to the slightest thumbs up, the most insignificant comments as if their lives depended on it.
One of the young girls interviewed said, “I can’t talk to my parents or my friends. I can only talk to total strangers.”
Another claims that just by commenting on her videos, she feels any semblance of happiness.
These young girls question their looks, photoshop themselves, constantly put themselves in the lens of their cell phones and are totally dependent on how other, total strangers look at them.
Fanie Pelletier also shows live videos of young girls from all over the world: this phenomenon of lack of self-love occurs in all languages.
It’s a well-known cliché: we’ve never been so connected, yet never so isolated. This also applies to us adults. But the teenagers we see in Jouvencelles are isolated… in a prison they built themselves. No one forces her to show off in front of strangers to seek a little tenderness. One of them affirms resignedly: “I don’t like what I think, what I say, I wake up in the morning and I don’t like anything about myself”.
I had tears in my eyes. But how could society send such self-loathing back to these young girls?
They’re obsessed with their looks… and their gender identity. Constantly defining and redefining myself: am I lesbian, straight, bi? Am I fluid, “asexual,” “aromatic,” or outright “abrosexual” (person of fluid sexual orientation)? It’s fascinating to see this generation that rejects conventions but is so in search of labels.
If I was so disturbed by this film, it is because it leads to an acknowledgment of the failure of feminism over the past few decades.
The women of my generation (and my mother’s) fought for girls and women to love each other, have confidence and tell themselves that by becoming autonomous and masters of their destiny, they can achieve anything.
But what a failure! We missed our shot! While we’ve been trying to free ourselves from the gaze of others (that of men), the young girls of Jouvencelles are completely addicted to it.