The coming-of-age films I am known for from the ’80s seemed revolutionary, at the time, for centering on a young female protagonist. In truth, Judy Blume was doing it long before in her groundbreaking young-adult fiction—now popular in onscreen adaptations. Judy’s writing helped me to honestly play a teenage girl because her books helped me become one. At a time when no one was chronicling the monumental minutiae occupying a young person’s brain—body shame, bullying, grief—there was no subject that Judy wasn’t up for exploring in her books. Even the most taboo subjects of the time—menstruation and masturbation—were examined, helping millions of young women to enter young adulthood a lot more informed and a little less afraid. Her books have been banned many times in various places over the years, since there are always people for whom the thought of an empowered young woman’s autonomy over her mind and body is objectionable. But good books will find their way into kids’ hands, and I’m so grateful they found mine.
Ringwald is an actor and writer
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