Growing Up Female (1970) is a lyrical examination of the socialization of American women. In concise portraits, the film introduces the audience to girls and women ages five to 34 and looks at the ways their lives and self-concepts are shaped by the institutions of marriage, school, advertising and popular culture. The film was produced, directed, photographed and edited by Julia Reichert and Jim Klein.
The film was shot in Ohio over a three week period in the early Spring of 1970, using an Arriflex BL. The editing was done on an upright Moviola and the filmmakers mixed the sound themselves. In 1971, Reichert traveled by bus to show the film to groups of women in dozens of venues, including church basements, union halls and living rooms, from Norman, Oklahoma, to Boston, Cleveland and Washington DC. In early 1972, Growing Up Female became one of the inaugural films of the distribution co-operative New Day Films, founded by Reichert and Klein and fellow filmmakers Liane Brandon and Amalie Rothschild. Reichert is the first woman to be nominated twice for the Academy Award for directing, with Best Feature Documentary nominations for her films Union Maids (1977) and Seeing Red (1983). Her current film is on the Oscar short list. Reichert is Professor of Film Production at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
Growing Up Female was added to the National Film Registry in 2011.