Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

Editor-in-Chief: Claudia Mitchell, McGill University

Subjects: Gender Studies, Education, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Media Studies

Call for Papers: A Seat at the Table
Call for Papers:
 Boundless Girls
Call for Papers: Pregnant and Parenting Young Girls

Winner of the 2009 AAP/PSP Prose Award for Best New Journal in the Social Sciences & Humanities!

Girlhood Studies is published in association with the International Girls Studies Association (IGSA).


Latest Issue Table of Contents

Volume 17 (2024): Issue 1 (Mar 2024): Girls on the Move: Girlhood and Forced Displacement, Migration, and (Re)settlement. Guest Editors: Rosemary R. Carlton and Nesa Bandarchian Rashti

Volume 17 / 2024, 3 issues per volume (spring, summer, winter)

Aims & Scope

Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal is a peer-reviewed journal providing a forum for the critical discussion of girlhood from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, and for the dissemination of current research and reflections on girls' lives to a broad, cross-disciplinary audience of scholars, researchers, practitioners in the fields of education, social service and health care and policy makers. International and interdisciplinary in scope, it is committed to feminist, anti-discrimination, anti-oppression approaches and solicits manuscripts from a variety of disciplines.

The mission of the journal is to bring together contributions from and initiate dialogue among perspectives ranging from medical and legal practice, ethnographic inquiry, philosophical reflection, historical investigations, literary, cultural and media research to curriculum design and policy-making. Topics addressed within the journal include girls and schooling, girls and feminism, girls and sexuality, girlhood in the context of Boyhood Studies, girls and new media and popular culture, representation of girls in different media, histories of girlhood, girls and development.


Girlhood Studies is indexed/abstracted in:

  • Bibliometric Research Indicator List (BFI)
  • Biography Index (Ebsco)
  • Emerging Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science)
  • European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS)
  • MLA International Bibliography
  • Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers
  • Scopus (Elsevier)
  • Social Sciences Abstracts (Ebsco)
  • Social Sciences Index (Ebsco)
  • Studies on Women and Gender Abstracts (Taylor & Francis)
  • TOC Premier Table of Contents (Ebsco)
  • Women's Studies Librarian: Feminist Periodicals (University of Wisconsin)

Jacqueline Kirk photoIn Memoriam

Jacqueline Kirk, 1968-2008
Tribute to Jackie Kirk


Editor-in-Chief: Claudia Mitchell, McGill University, Canada

Managing Editor: Ann Smith, McGill University, Canada

Reviews Editor: Marnina Gonick, Mount St. Vincent University, USA

Editorial Board
Annmarie Adams, McGill University, Canada
Rawwida Baksh, Women's Rights and Citizenship program, International Development Research Centre, Canada
Lyn Mikel Brown, Colby College, USA
Suzanne de Castell, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Fatuma Chege, Kenyatta University, Kenya
Meredith Cherland, University of Regina, Canada
Linda Chisholm, Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Daniel Thomas Cook, Childhood Studies and Sociology, Rutgers University, USA
Dawn Currie, University of British Columbia, Canada
Catherine Driscoll, University of Sydney, Australia
Kirsten Drotner, Centre for Child and Youth Media Studies
Michelle Fine, Graduate Center of the City University of New York, USA
Miriam Forman-Brunell, University of Missouri–Kansas City, USA
Cameron Greensmith, Kennesaw State University, USA
Aria S. Halliday, University of Kentucky, USA
Anita Harris, Monash University, Australia
Mary Jane Kehily, Centre for Childhood, Development, and Learning, Open University, UK
June Larkin, Equity Studies Program, University of Toronto, Canada
Dafna Lemish, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, USA
Loren Lerner, Concordia University, Canada
Nancy Lesko, Teacher's College, Columbia University, USA
Sharon Mazzarella, James Madison University, USA
Relebohile Moletsane, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Shree Mulay, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
Elina Oinas, University of Helsinki, Finland
Lissa Paul, Brock University, Canada
Cindy Patton, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Emma Renold, Cardiff University, Wales, UK
Kim Reynolds, University of Newcastle, UK
Ellen Seiter, University of Southern California, USA
Sonal Shukla, Vacha Women's Resource Centre, Mumbai, India
Shirley R. Steinberg, Werklund Foundation Centre for Youth Leadership Education University of Calgary, Canada
Lynne Vallone, Childhood Studies and Sociology, Rutgers University, USA
Valerie Walkerdine, Cardiff University, Wales, UK
Sandra Weber, Concordia University, Canada
Rebekah Willet, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Olga Zdravomyslova, Gorbachev Foundation, Moscow, Russia

Founding Editors: Jackie Kirk, Claudia Mitchell, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh


Manuscript Submission

Please review the submission and style guidelines carefully before submitting.

The editorial board welcomes contributions. Article submissions are accepted continually and all authors are encouraged to contribute.

Authors should submit articles electronically as attachments by e-mail, formatted as Microsoft Word files. Please note that all correspondence will be carried out via e-mail. Submissions without complete and properly formatted reference lists may be rejected; manuscripts that have been accepted for publication but do not conform to the Girlhood Studies style will be returned to the author for amendment.

View Guest Editor Guidelines here.

E-mail submissions should be sent to:
Dr. Claudia Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief |

Article Length

Articles should have a maximum of 6,500 words (including notes and references). Book reviews should be approximately 1,500 words in length. Manuscripts should follow the requirements laid down in the Submission Guidelines. This is particularly important in relation to in-text citations and reference list details. While we would prefer not to have to return manuscripts that do not comply to their authors for style revision, we may be compelled to do so before we submit them for review.

Process for Refereeing and Accepting Articles

Girlhood Studies is a refereed journal. Articles are sent to reviewers with relevant experience and expertise for comment. Referees are asked to advise the editors whether the article should be published and if so, with what recommended changes. The editors respond to the author with their decision and a list of any changes needed for the article to be accepted for publication. They also send the anonymous referees' comments to the author.



Manuscripts that have been accepted for publication but do not conform to the style guide may be returned to the author for amendment. The editors also reserve the right to alter usage to conform to the style guide issued by the publishers. Authors may not supply new materials or request major alterations following the copyediting stage, so please ensure that all text is final upon acceptance.

Style Guide

The Girlhood Studies style guide is based on The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), with some deviations for house preferences. The American Heritage Dictionary (3rd edition) and Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (10th edition), supplemented by Webster's New International Dictionary, are our arbiters for US spelling, especially for hyphenated words, words in italic, and so forth. Please refer to the style guide for a summary of key stylistic requirements.

Your submission must be free of citation software formatting.

Girlhood Studies does not accept unsolicited books for review.

Ethics Statement

Authors published in Girlhood Studies (GHS) certify that their works are original and their own. The editors certify that all materials, with the possible exception of editorial introductions, book reviews, and some types of commentary, have been subjected to double-blind peer review by qualified scholars in the field. While every effort is made by the publishers and the editorial board to see that no inaccurate or misleading data, opinions, or statements appear in this journal, they wish to make it clear that the data and opinions appearing in the articles herein are the sole responsibility of the contributor concerned. For a more detailed explanation concerning these qualifications and responsibilities, please see the complete GHS Ethics Statement.

Girlhood Studies is committed to inclusive citation and scholarly practice. We encourage our contributors to ensure they reference and engage with the works of female, black, and minority ethnic writers, and work by other under-represented groups wherever possible.

Annual Subscriptions

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Transnational Girlhoods

Series Editors:

Claudia Mitchell (McGill University, Canada)
Bodil Formark (Umea University, Sweden)
Ann Smith (McGill University, Canada)
Heather Switzer (Arizona State University, US)

International Advisory Panel:

Sandrina deFinney (University of Victoria, Canada)
Olga Zdravomyslova (Gorbachev Foundation, Russia)
Relebohile Moletsane (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)
Fiona Vera-Gray (Durham University, UK)

Girlhood Studies has emerged over the last decade as a strong area of interdisciplinary research and activism, encompassing studies of feminism, women and gender, and childhood and youth and extending into such areas as sociology, anthropology, development studies, children’s literature, and cultural studies. As the first book series to focus specifically on this exciting field, Transnational Girlhoods will help to advance the research and activism agenda by publishing full-length monographs and edited collections that reflect a robust interdisciplinary and global perspective. International in scope, the series will draw on a vibrant network of girlhood scholars already active across North America, Europe, Russia, Oceania, and Africa, while forging connections with new activist and scholarly communities.

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Young feminists use social media in order to respond to rape culture and to hold accountable the purveyors of its practices and ways of thinking when mainstream news media, police and school authorities do not. This article analyzes how social networks identified with young feminists take shape via social media responses to sexual violence, and how those networks are organized around the conceptual framework of rape culture. Drawing on the concept of response-ability, the article analyzes how recent social media responses to rape culture evidence the affective and technocultural nature of current feminist network building and the ways this online criticism re-imagines the position of feminist witnesses to rape culture.

Rethinking Agency and Resistance

What Comes After Girl Power?

With the current proliferation of images and narratives of girls and girlhood in popular culture, many ‘truths’ about girls circulate with certainty. Amongst the aims of this Special Issue is to examine critically these ‘confi dent characterizations’ (Trinh 1989), to trace the social conditions which produce these ‘truths’ along with the public fascination with girls and to analyze critically the eff ects of these ‘truths’ in the lives of young girls. Th e concepts of resistance and agency have been critical to the field of youth studies, sociology of education and school ethnographies (Hall and Jeff erson 1976; McRobbie 1978; Willis 1978) for conceptualizing the relationships between young people and their social worlds. Ground breaking scholarship by McRobbie (2000) challenges the gendered assumptions of political agency articulated in previous theories of subcultures developed in the 1970s and 80s. While feminist poststructuralist work in the 1990s has re-conceptualized agency in ways that are markedly diff erent to humanist notions of rational actors with free-will (Butler 2006; Davies 2000), feminist researchers have also shown the importance of a classed, raced and sexed analysis of agency. For example, scholarship by feminists of color have shown how girls of color challenge and defy dominant stereotypes of girlhood in culturally specifi c ways such as participating in spokenword contests, rap and hip hop, and ‘beauty contests’ (Hernandez and Rehman 2002; Gaunt 2006). In the changing social, economic, political and globalizing context of the new millennium, where ‘girl power’ has become a marketing tool and a branding (Klein 2000) of girlhood, it is important to look anew at the relations between girlhood, power, agency and resistance.

"Every time she bends over she pulls up her thong"

Teen Girls Negotiating Discourses of Competitive, Heterosexualized Aggression

In this paper I explore the themes of heterosexualized competition and aggression in Avril Lavigne's music video Girlfriend (2007) as representative of the violent heterosexualized politics within which girls are incited to compete in contemporary schooling and popular culture. I argue that psycho-educational discourses attempting to explain girls' aggression and bullying fail to account for the heterosexualized, classed or racialized power dynamics of social competition that organize heteronormative femininity. Then I elaborate a psychosocial approach using psychoanalytic concepts to trace how teen girls negotiate contemporary discourses of sexual aggression and competition. Drawing on findings from a study with racially and economically marginalized girls aged thirteen to fourteen attending an innercity school in South Wales, I suggest that the girls enact regulatory, classed discourses like slut to manage performances of heterosexualized aggression. However, alongside their demonstration of the impetus toward sexual regulation of one another, I show how the girls in my study are also attempting to challenge heteronormative formations of performing sexy-aggressive. Moments of critical resistance in their narratives, when they refuse to pathologize aggressive girls as mean and/or bullies, and in their fantasies, when they reject heterosexual relationships like marriage are explored.

Queering masculinity

Re-Theorising Contemporary Tomboyism in the Schizoid Space of Innocent/Heterosexualized Young Femininities


This article critically explores the seduction of contemporary tomboyism for young tweenage girls within neo-liberal postfeminist times and an increasingly commodified (hetero)sexualised girlhood culture. A central aim of the article is to contextualize the persistence of the tomboy discourse and girls' appropriation of tomboyism within competing schizoid discourses of presumed innocence and compulsory normative (hetero)sexuality. Drawing on past and current predominantly UK based ethnographic research mapping girls' relationship to tomboyism, the first half of the article considers how to theorise girls' fluid appropriation of 'being a bit tomboy' within a discursive terrain of multiple femininities and fashion feminism. The second half of the article revisits a case study of one eleven-year-old self-identified tomboy, Eric/a, to re-think conceptualisations of girls' sustained appropriation of 'tomboy' as more than some licensed mimicry of masculinity when it is taken-up as a performative politics of subverting emphasized (hetero)sexualized femininities. The article concludes with a call for future theorizations of girlhood (for example, tomboyism) that foreground the intersection of gender, sex, sexuality, age and time and their socio-cultural and contextual contingency.

Sexualization might seem like a sympathetic explanation for sexting because it positions girls as innocent victims of mass culture. However, there are problematic unintended consequences with understanding sexting, the practice of sharing personal sexual content via mobile phones or the internet, in this particular way. One troubling implication is that it provides a rationale for holding girls who sext criminally responsible for producing child pornography. A second is that when girls' acceptance of sexualization is positioned as a key social problem, the solution that emerges is that girls must raise their self-esteem and gain better media literacy skills. Despite the value of such skills, a focus on girls' deficiencies can divert attention from the perpetrators of gender- and sexuality-based violence. Finally, discourses about sexualization often erase girls' capacity for choice, relying instead on normative assumptions about healthy sexuality. Interrogating the pathologization of girls' apparent conformity to sexualization and mass culture highlights the complexity of agency.