She’s Too Young to be Part of School Curriculum

She's Too Young Movie Poster

She's Too Young Movie Poster

Audrey Rowland, Writer

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Hannah, the 14-year-old protagonist of She’s Too Young, should never have been told that she was too young. This Lifetime movie flirts with serious issues such as peer pressure, sexually transmitted diseases, teen partying, and the media’s focus on sex, but fails to seriously address them. Instead, the movie relies on scare tactics, placing the onus for sexual activity solely on girls, blaming emotional immaturity for poor choices. Teens are portrayed as wanton drinkers and drug users with upwards of twenty sexual partners, a lifestyle that many teens do not relate to, especially at Madison High School. In addition, She’s Too Young is hampered by poor acting and inane dialogue, giving teens ample opportunity to mock the movie and ignore the lessons it tries to teach.

She’s Too Young should not be included in Madison High School Health curriculum, which aims to equip students with the knowledge of how to make responsible sexual decisions, factors that influence these decisions, and the consequences of unsafe decisions. She’s Too Young works against these goals. By relying on gender stereotypes to impart the importance of responsibility, the movie portrays teenage boys as predators and teenage girls as their hapless yet culpable victims. Nick, Hannah’s popular boyfriend, coaxes her into sex, yet it’s Hannah who gets syphilis and must face her disappointed parents. The school nurse, after assuring Hannah’s friend Becca that she will not judge her, gasps audibly after hearing how many partners Becca has had, while Nick, thought to be Patient Zero, is allowed to make a joke out of the question.

She’s Too Young depends on stereotypes to determine the causes of promiscuity, contradicting Madison High School curriculum. According to Lifetime, Nick’s parents’ long hours and Becca’s single floozy of a mom drive them to make bad decisions in return for the love and attention they lack at home. As Becca relays to Hannah, she “is the most popular girl in the 9th grade.” While Lifetime is wrong to equate single parent and working parent households with rebellious teenagers, She’s Too Young got what Becca and Nick want right.

Even when She’s Too Young strikes the right note, it still strikes out. The movie was released in 2004, but Elena Buchsbaum, an MHS alum, noted that “I thought it was from the 80’s.” Its dialogue is often stilted, resembling an adult’s idea of what teens sound like more than the reality and its use of technology has more in common with the 1990s than the 21st century. In addition, She’s Too Young makes key mistakes: syphilis is a bacterium, not a virus as the movie claims, and there is no syphilis vaccine. Rather than facilitating discussion, this movie allows students to laugh at its ridiculously outdated and inaccurate portrayal of the high school experience. She’s Too Young is an entertaining movie, but it doesn’t belong in classrooms.