Without a doubt, most of us will probably have to grow up sooner or later, but in Ginger and Brigitte’s eyes death was a much better alternative. The two sisters had a pact, “Out by sixteen or dead on the scene, but together forever”. The moment that Ginger – the older of the two – experienced some “womanly” changes, things took a turn for the weird and forever changed both their lives.
Ginger snaps is a comedic horror film portraying the horrors and wonders that is puberty. Not the most popular girls in school, Ginger and Brigitte are obsessed with death and with each other. When one of the girls in gym class hurts Brigitte, Ginger comes to the rescue and the two plot to steal that popular girl’s dog (in conjunction with the Beast of Bailey Downs attacks – where an elusive monster dismembers a number of dogs in the community). On the way, Ginger bleeds and gets her first menstrual period – an event her mother has been waiting for for almost two years already. At the same time, Ginger is also attacked and bitten by the mysterious beast. Those events lead to a transformation that is horrific to both sisters, most especially adolescence which gave a feeling of betrayal from their own body, having eluded the normalcy that is puberty for a few years already. It it very entertaining to see puberty portrayed as Ginger’s transformation into a werewolf, accompanied by both sisters’ ability to expertly deliver biting wit with dark undertones in each conversation. In reality, changes like those can be terrifying, especially to girls who have no older sisters, and have had no classes on health.
I understand how puberty can be a horror movie in itself, because as discussed in class, there is a “monstrous” or foreign element that is introduced but cannot be totally removed from the picture. Gone are the days where you could swim anytime without worrying about anything (for anyone who loves the water, this is a nightmare). Ginger’s transformation into a werewolf mirrored that of adolescence. Ginger grew hair in “weird places”, grew parts that weren’t there before, and had an imbalance in her behavior. Much like puberty, things like those are very strange indeed, especially with the almost uncontrollable urge to eat and eat and eat, even when you’re not hungry. Ginger and Brigitte’s pact to be together forever shows a basic fear of being alone. Having to experience transformation alone, and having been left alone is scary to both Ginger and Brigitte, and in the end explains why Brigitte even considers “infection” from her sister.
All in all, I enjoyed watching Ginger Snaps because of both the creativity and comedy in dark humor, and the portrayal of puberty as a transformation into a werewolf. The characterization of woman as a werewolf in Ginger Snaps is both a testament and a challenge to our society today: to erase the negative connotation that a previously patriarchal society has left behind. Sometimes the difference between two people can lead to alienation, but just like Brigitte, we must recognize the Ginger that can still be found in the “werewolf”.