Female virgins and the shaming gaze
in Catherine Breillat
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Alice, the eponymous heroine of Une vraie jeune fille, is fourteen verging on fifteen years of age during her summer vacation in the early 1960s. Popular culture also shapes Alice's masculine object of desire the sexualised male as 'bad boy', much as songs and images had lent a form to her desiring self the 'naughty girl'. Alice worships the female singer for transporting her to another world of the music's making: 'Ecoute ca. Je ferais n'importe quoi pour cette femme'. 'Naughty girls' may get to play with 'bad boys', but they are still 'naughty': her parents' repression of her sexually developing body, their looks of disapproval, make Alice feel ashamed of herself. Alice uses her imagination in an attempt to exorcise her fear of Jim's penetrating eyes and phallic dominance.


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