Sometimes the evolution of an open call issue of Girlhood Studies results in something of a girls studies reader unto itself. Since this issue is packed full of criss-crossing themes based on work in several countries—Canada, Iceland, India and the US—there is just no room for editorial commentary. In its inclusion of works on intersectional feminisms and feminist and Indigenous-led critique to school-based and intergenerational interventions and the power of the visual, this issue is something of such a reader.
The Pleasures and Pressures of the Girls’ Night Out
Thalia Thereza Assan
Nicholls, Emily. 2019. Negotiating Femininities in the Neoliberal Night-Time Economy: Too Much of a Girl? London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Critical Literacy, Damsel, and Confronting Rape Culture in English Classrooms
Shelby Boehm, Kathleen Colantonio-Yurko, Kathleen Olmstead, and Henry “Cody” Miller
In this article we offer curricular suggestions for teaching Elana K. Arnold's young adult title Damsel, a subverted fairytale rewrite, using a critical literacy framework. In doing so, we outline how English curriculum has often upheld oppressive systems that harm women, and how our teaching can challenge such systems. We situate this work through the retelling of a fairytale trope given the ubiquity of such stories in secondary students’ lives. Our writings have teaching implications for both secondary English language arts classrooms and higher education fields such as English, folklore, mythology, and gender studies. We end by noting the limitations of such teaching.
The Black Girlhood Studies Collection
Desirée de Jesus
Aria S. Halliday (ed.). 2019. The Black Girlhood Studies Collection. Toronto: Women's Press.
Race, Gender, and Embodied Aquatic Histories
During the early part of the twentieth century, Black girls in the United States attended Young Women's Christian Associations (YWCAs) where they received instruction in sports and physical activity. Using archival research, in this article I examine the role of swimming in Black girls’ sports and physical activity practices in Northern YWCAs. With a focus on the construction of Black girlhood, health, and embodiment, I trace how girls navigated spatial segregation, beauty ideals, and athleticism. I highlight the experiences of Black girl swimmers—subjects who have often been rendered invisible in the historical and contemporary sporting landscape.
Looking Outward from/with IGSA@ND
Angeletta KM Gourdine, Mary Celeste Kearney, and Shauna Pomerantz
We are proud to introduce this special issue that was inspired by the 2019 International Girlhood Studies Association (IGSA) conference at the University of Notre Dame (IGSA@ND). At that time, we were not yet acquainted with each other beyond exchanging pleasantries and knowing of each other's academic profiles. Yet we came together as three co-editors and scholars committed not only to the diversification of girlhood studies but also to the larger project of social justice for all. We want to promote such work through this special issue and, in the process, expand perspectives and practices within the field of girlhood studies, as many before us have done.
Southside Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration
Marcia Chatelain. 2015. Southside Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
A Praxis-in-Process of Black Girlhood
This is a performative engagement with the theory and practice of Black girlhood. I begin with an excerpt from my play-in-process, crushed little stars, which is itself a meditation on the sad Black girl. I share this process of play not only to present play making as a powerful epistemological tool, but also to blur the boundaries between what constitutes theory as opposed to practice. I (re)imagine Black girl sociality as a site of restoration and healing against the racist, sexist, and ageist world with which Black girls are forced to contend. Accordingly, this project contributes to the diversification of girlhood studies, challenging the disciplinarity of the field by extending ethnographic and sociological perspectives to include the vantage point of performance and creative practice.
A Discursive Analysis of Elena of Avalor
Bringing together discourses of Latina girlhood and ambiguity, in this article I interrogate Disney Junior's specific and ambiguous Latinidad in three key episodes from the first season of Elena of Avalor. This type of intersectional analysis is seldom found in Disney scholarship, despite the relative abundance of existing work on Disney-generated cultural production. By analyzing the ambiguity () and unambivalent structure of ambivalence () present in Disney's deployment of animated Latina can-do girlhood (), in this article, I provide an intersectional approach to the study of Disney Junior animated content and Latina girlhood in contemporary popular culture. I argue that Elena of Avalor is the result of Disney's avowed and disavowed dedication to the construction of Latinidad and can-do girlhood. The result of this is a fluctuation and flexible navigation between specificity and ambiguity within one narrative franchise.
The Impact of Class on Girls in Swedish Secure Care
Maria A. Vogel
Historically, the regulation of girls through institutionalization has been guided by bourgeois norms of femininity, including virtue, domesticity, and motherhood. Using a Foucauldian perspective on the production of subjects in Swedish secure care, I investigate whether or not middle-class norms of femininity, centered today around self-regulation, still guide the regulation of working-class girls. By analyzing data from an ethnographic study, I show that even though secure care is repressive, it is also permeated with the aim of producing self-regulating subjects corresponding with discourses on ideal girlhood. However, since working-class girls are rarely made intelligible within such discourses, thereby making the position of self-regulatory subject inaccessible, the care system leaves them to shoulder the responsibility for resolving a situation that is shaped by structures beyond their control.