By Claire White & Odalis Garcia Gorra | September 21, 2020
Every year around this time, a shift occurs. Day and night are of equal length, and the earth moves into a new season. For Odalis, this signifies autumn and for Claire, this means spring. When we decided to create Grow Up this release date seemed cosmically apt. A change of pace for the two of us. And especially a change in how we think and talk about youth on screen.
Our love of Glee and shared late-night/early morning discussions of the show on Tumblr dot com brought us together. Now, many years from those moments, we are still having very similar conversations. Maybe with a little more nuance than our 15-year old selves could allow, but that was foundational in our understanding of how media representations impacts us in meaningful ways. And now, with pandemic times running amok, we wanted a reminder to tap into our younger selves. To understand what it is that brings us joy at an elemental level. May this seasonal shift spark glee into our lives.
Every two months we will have an ‘Issue’ based around a certain theme. These Issues will highlight topics which are important and frequent in narratives about youth. There is no one way of growing up, and while some concepts are universal and reocurring, the way we relate to them can be quite different. By opening the conversation to a diverse range of perspectives, we hope to explore coming-of-age and adolescence in wide-reaching ways.
While there will be a call for pitches for future themes, New Beginnings was specially curated out of our pool of pitches. That we were able to fill the Issue this way just goes to show how prevalent new beginnings are to the coming-of-age genre and growing up. Youth can be a time when everything is new and exciting! It’s a time of self-discovery, either in discovering your purpose (The Roads to Maturity and Self-Discovery in ‘Whisper of the Heart’ by Miguel Galang), recognizing a part of your identity you did not realize before (Me and Jo March: Locating Queerness at The Orchard House by Anna Burnham), or daringly discover the beginnings of a new love that will span a lifetime (Analog Love in a Digital World: Re-watching ‘Before Sunrise’ 25 Years On by Sam Nicholls). But youth is also daunting, either by being on the precipice of the unknown annals of adulthood (Growing Up with “Scream”: A Closer Look at High School Musical 3’s Most Dramatic Song by Katherine Clowater), or representing a time where hope came easier, and thus is something we return to, searching for a semblance of a do-over (‘Never Been Kissed,’ and Why We Still Watch High School Movies in Adulthood by Claire White).
This is also our New Beginning. Our years-long friendship culminated into a website dedicated to our love for a genre which not only brought us together all those years ago, but we are also passionate about discussing and exploring in the critical and journalistic space. A genre worthy of love and attention. By exploring the films and television shows which helped us grow up, we hope Grow Up can inspire others to revisit their childhood, or be inspired to rethink the critical value of the teen and coming-of-age genres. To really dive deep into the conversations that otherwise would not be happening. We hope to celebrate and provide a space for which previously did not exist (where else can you write essays about Disney Channel Original Movies?) for writers established and emerging.
We are excited about this project, something we wish was around when we were growing up. We hope you are excited, too.
C + O
Claire & Odalis
Grow Up Co-Founders
P.S: While we were editing and setting this website up, a lot of hours of The OC were watched. Talk about new beginnings, Ryan Atwood.