Photo Gallery: Teenage Girls’ Bedrooms in the US and Middle East


Rania Matar’s A Girl and Her Room project is exactly what it sounds like: photos of teenage girls in their bedrooms. But its simplicity is deceptive. A girl’s room is her one sanctuary from parents, teachers, and peers alike — the place that is entirely her own. As Matar discovered while observing her own daughter’s transformation from child to adult, girls are the most themselves in their bedrooms, and how they choose to decorate them says a great deal about this transitional stage, when teens are discovering who they are, were, and will be. “Posters of rock stars, political leaders or top models were often displayed above a bed still covered with stuffed animals; mirrors were always an important part of the room, a reflection of the girls’ image to the outside world,” Matar writes.

Matar’s decision to include teens from the US and throughout the Middle East (as well as a few from Spain) in the ongoing project adds an additional dimension; it illustrates, without forcing the issue, how much American girls and their Lebanese, Palestinian, and Israeli counterparts have in common. In one photo, Mara from Boston has scrawled graffiti on her own walls (“I will never deep throat a penis of cheese”). In another, Hiba, who lives in a Beirut refugee camp, has written (in Latin letters) and drawn butterflies on the inside door of her closet. A pink-haired emo girl from New England recalls a Lebanese refugee in a hot-pink shirt that says “Rock Star.” A teen in Beirut cuddles her cat while a teen in Boston snuggles in bed with her dog. Page through some of our favorite shots after the jump, and then visit Matar’s website for more images from the extensive project.

Mara 15, Boston MA, 2009

[Design You Trust via The Hairpin. All images via]

Hiba, Bourj El Barajneh Refugee Camp Beirut, 2010

Elham 18, Shatila Refugee Camp Beirut, 2009

Krystal 17 #1, Boston MA, 2009

Shifa’a 14, Jerusalem, 2009

Madison Chloe 16, Cornwall NY, 2010

Bisan 16, Bethlehem West Bank, 2009

Rocia 17, Dorcester MA, 2010

Mona 15, Shatila Refugee Camp, Beirut Lebanon, 2010

Raissa 15, Medford MA, 2009

Dima 18, Beirut Lebanon, 2010

Geneva 22, Brookline MA, 2010

Emma 17, Brookline MA, 2008

Alia 19, Beirut Lebanon, 2010

Brittany 19, Boston MA, 2010

Sarah 17, Shatila Refugee Camp Beirut, 2010

Devin 18, Winchester MA, 2009

Jessica 19, Rabieh Lebanon, 2010

Fernanda #2, 22, Barcelona Spain, 2010

Ai 22, Boston MA, 2009