Recognition and Knowledge

Mapping the Promises and Seductions of Successful Female Futures

in Girlhood Studies
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Today's girls have become spectacles of modern progress and the representation of social desires for success. What has been remarkably unclear in this imagination, visualization, representation, and investment of modern girlhood is what knowledge and what attachments mobilize girls towards their desires for success. In this article I will examine school knowledge and the seduction of rationality and certainty about female futures. I trace some of the effects and affects of curricular knowledge. I examine how girls move ambivalently towards objects of desire, like prestigious colleges, through their desire for recognition, difference, and being exceptional. Using qualitative data collected in a private all-girls school, in this article I bring together feminist poststructuralist theory, curriculum theory, and girlhood studies to attend to affective intensities of spiciness, happiness, and shame and analyze how these disrupt the visualizations of the girls' seemingly unambiguous notions of female success.