“Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.” – An Awkward Walk Down Memory Lane
One of the comments I receive the most about my classes is, “I wish this had existed when I was entering puberty.” For example, watching the new film adaptation of Judy Blume’s classic book, “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.” Brought back so many feelings from my youth that I walked out with an intense sense of gratitude for all the parents who passed through my classes with their tweens these past 20+ years.
The film sticks closely to the source material (which I reread before going to the cinema, and I’d recommend it to you too). That means that the action takes place in the ‘70s, and all the period products, bras, and social dynamics are accurate to that time. Where this means that some of the content might need translation for modern tween and teen viewers, the journey of Margaret through early puberty is timeless, and the film should be a great jumping-off point for post-movie conversations.
I’ve always recommended that parents help open a dialogue with their kids by sharing openly with their children about their experiences in adolescence. I can imagine a mother and daughter duo (or even including grandma for another perspective) going out for dessert after seeing this movie and talking about their different experiences and the products they had to contend with.
I know I had to contend with the belted maxi pads depicted in the film, but my daughter entered puberty in the era of self-adhesive pads, and my granddaughter has options we could never have imagined. Despite the differences in the products, we all dealt with the same insecurities about when we’d hit puberty milestones and whether we were “normal” in every regard. The girls in the film only ever think to talk to each other about what they’re going through—or to God—but we can share this film with our children and use it as part of a life-long, open dialogue between generations.
If you see the film, I hope you’ll let me know how the conversation went. Try having it on the car ride on the way home! Or see it with another parent/child pair and discuss things over pizza. I can’t wait to hear what it brings up for you.
I include some conversation starters below if you need help getting things rolling. I offer in-person and digital classes and coaching. During the summer, both in-person and digital classes are discounted. To learn more about classes, visit my website, www.Leslie-dixon.com, or contact the office at 949-394-1556.
Some Discussion Questions
Why do you think the girls were so excited about going through puberty and getting their periods?
Why was it so crucial for all the girls to wear a bra?
Why was Margaret having difficulty being honest with the girls in the club?
Why do you think it was hard for Margaret to come to terms with religion and God?
Why do you think Margaret felt the need to communicate with God?
Is it necessary to practice using period products before getting your period?
Do you think 11-year-old girls start having feelings about 11-year-old boys?
Why do you think Nancy lied about getting her period?
What do you think is the best way parents can help their daughters prepare for getting a period?
Do you know the physical signs of a period getting closer?
Why is it important to celebrate once a girl gets her period?
If possible, have your daughter ask one of her grandmothers what they used when they got their periods.
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