Leonardo DiCaprio.

That’s right. MY childhood teen idol. I remember going to see Titanic with my family, liking it okay, and then a week or so later, I was paging through a magazine when I came across this exact picture:

omfg. I fell in love instantly.

A lot of my interest in teen idols stems from my experience as a DiCaprio devotee. I remember falling out of love with him fairly quickly, but continuing the charade for a full two years or so, forcing myself to go to the movies to see Titanic over and over and over not out of love for the film or even DiCaprio, but because I had formed a Leo-community with my fellow 6th graders and my status would fall if I didn’t keep up with the others (there was a hierarchy based on the number of times you saw the film).

What strikes me today is how colossal our consumer power was as 11 year-olds. Titanic grossed more than any other movie ever, it took over mass-media in the late 90s, it catapulted DiCaprio and Winslet into superstardom, it tied with All About Eve for the most Oscars won, it is, in short, a Classic, if not artistically, then culturally– and why? Because of me.

DiCaprio fans, in their sheer fervor and wild-eyed devotion, exercised such dominance over the whole mechanism of pop-culture, they transformed the late 90s into a Titanic-haze.

What amazes me further is the stigma Titanic garners today. I seldom come across a person who willingly admits to having seen Titanic more than once (often times, the standard is “Oh Titanic? *scoff* Never seen it, never want to.) Yeah right. Was I single-handedly responsible for Titanic‘s success? Did I seriously see it so many times, it grossed a BILLION dollars from my 11-year-old allowance alone? If I only had my experience today as evidence, it would seem so.

What if the women my age totally owned Titanic? What if, instead of shame, they felt pride that they rocked the whole pop-world when they were pre-teens. Wouldn’t that be empowering? Titanic demonstrates how much consumer power women have collectively. In a capitalist society, that means everything. Never forget it ladies.

You know what? I declare it here and now: Titanic is feminist. Own it.

For more Titanic as feminist cinema, check out the input from my recent commentators. Brilliant ladies!