Andrea from Beirut, Lebanon in her room in 2010.
Photograph: Rania Matar / Umbrage
As I was browsing through the photographic project A Girl and Her Room, the memories of my own teenage shelter drifted along. It’s common secret that a girl’s room is nothing less than a sanctuary, in which there is an absolute need for privacy and free spirit. Actually, there isn’t another room in a family house where these privileges are completely allowed or enjoyed. This doesn't make parents dictators; it's just the simple hierarchy of the family system. The decoration, the furniture layout, the cleaning rules and the overall schedule are normally applied by the older members of the family. But in a girl’s bedroom, it’s time for some individuality to shine.
In there, you could almost certainly expect to come across walls chock full of posters, distinct personal photos, scattered beauty accessories, mirrors in key spots, fashionable clothes, and a strong imposition of colour. It’s rather trite to assume that a girlie room is going to be pinkish from top to bottom. Girls express themselves more irregularly in every placement and ornamentation within their bedroom, because it’s an extroverted declaration of their self-determination. So, they might as well arrange their private territory according to classic style, romantic ambiance, rock mood, a kind of minimalistic deco, or boho attitude. In any case, it is a clear reflection of their personality in conjunction with a room cut out for coziness and independence.
The significance of a space comes from the importance of the hosted activities. All being well, a girl’s bedroom is where fundamental learning is explored, confessions are sealed, friendships are confirmed, and pastimes are experienced to the maximum. Even when privacy is not fully granted, something positive may come out as a result. For instance, I have always been very possessive about my stuff, so having a bedroom in common with my sister throughout our adolescence provided me with a good sense of compromise and coexistence (I still have a long way to go on these!). Among Rania Matar’s photographs, I have spotted one or two that closely match my shared room as teenager. Did you find a similar depiction to yours?
Girl Museum Inc.