I encountered Stargirl for the second time in my life recently, when I noticed that there was a Disney Plus adaptation of the Jerry Spinelli book. This encounter brought back memories of my childhood obsession with the elusive and spellbinding character of Stargirl. Watching this film 20 years later highlighted that the character of Stargirl remains a relevant girlhood figure

Stargirl was released in 2000. Her character is presented through the eyes of a boy. A boy who does not fully understand Stargirl’s motives but begins to admire her and be changed by her.

Stargirl came from an upbringing of being home-schooled. When she enters mainstream schooling, she brings much attention to herself by dressing in strange outfits such as buckskin, carrying a ukulele with her so she can sing happy birthday to students, and bringing her pet rat to class with her. Popularity comes when she uses her musical ability to boost the crowd at a football game. 

Stargirl’s popularity gets intertwined with the main character’s affection for her. There is undoubtedly a connection between the two, but the main character is often affected by her popularity and elusive nature. Stargirl is interested in him but does not want his obsession with how they are perceived to affect their connection. Stargirl abruptly loses her popularity with the school population when she cheers for the opposite team at a football game. This affects the main character negatively too. Stargirl is a good example of how popularity can be fleeting, and can be lost even when intentions are good.

I admire Stargirl because she does things because she wants to, without thinking about the reactions of other people. She was happy to be a cheerleader not because it earned her acceptance in high school, but because she enjoys singing. Good things happen to her because she follows her beliefs, and she sticks to her beliefs even when they bring her hardship.

Years after Stargirl left the school, people began to wonder if Stargirl was indeed a real person. I would like girls to know that they can be a Stargirl if they want, and that such a c is possible.

–Emily Scott  
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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