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BETWEEN GIRLS: A Passage To Womanhood

Karen Marshall

A visual study about friendship among women. The work explores the emotional bonding between girls at sixteen and their identities as women today.



Between Girls: A Passage to Womanhood is a visual study about friendship among women. The project explores the emotional bonding between girls at sixteen and their identities as women today.

By following a group of middle class New York City teenagers from age 16 to adulthood, Between Girls contemplates communal coming of age rituals and the influence that this critical time has on women regardless of their class and background.

The project includes interviews with five women about their thoughts and memories of time spent together and its effect on how they see themselves in the world today.

A sixth girl, Molly Brover, the project’s primary subject for 10 months, was hit by a car and killed in the summer of 1986. A vibrant and impulsive 16-year-old, it was her excitement and support that made Between Girls possible when she introduced Karen Marshall to her wide circle of friends in September 1985.

The sudden death of a vital member of this group created a cloud of confusion for her friends at a time when they were preparing to graduate high school and plan their future. Molly’s death deeply affected their lives and friendships and continues to act as a metaphor decades later. The loss of their friend ensures that one of them will always remain a teenager.

The girl’s emergence as individual women with diverse perspectives is the focal point of this study. Between Girls offers an up-close view of how these women see themselves in relationship to their transformation from girls, to young women, into womanhood.


Between Girls: A Passage To Womanhood has been developed into a multi-media exhibition for museums using books, audio and video projection along with black and white silver gelatin images. The installation was first created for the OK Centrum for Contemporary Art in Linz, Austria in 2008 and is part of the ArtBase at the Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

In October of 2015 the exhibition was seen in its entirety for the first time at Hampshire College in Amherst, Ma.  The project is perfect for the University setting as it can easily interface with academic programming and encourage community involvement.