“What’s powerful about this film is that it’s a political act to articulate one’s story on film and see their lives reflected back to them,” Dowell said. “There are themes that carry across these very individual girls, but the media allows for linking and a powerful lesson.”
Dowell also said the film did fail to explore questions of how colonialism and imperialism had facilitated the desperate or disadvantaged situations of the young women in the film. Additionally, Irvine observed that statistics the film presented about the state of women around the world may have been inaccurate.
“Many of the statistics floating by on the screen have been highly contested, productively so — it’s very hard to measure some of the things we’re discussing. Different agencies produce different statistics, it’s extraordinarily difficult to arrive at concrete information,” Irvine said.
“The most important I thing I hope all of you get from this is to understand that behind the statistics are human faces. I find that educating yourselves and understanding what’s really going on is the best thing that each of you can do, so I would ask you to pause and question what you do hear,” Mengiste said.