Shaping Indigenous Girlhood Studies
Kirsten Lindquist, Kari-dawn Wuttunee, and Sarah Flicker
14 Young Women Speak Out
Statistical representation of young Indigenous women in Canada presents an alarming picture of adversity characterized by addiction, pregnancy, and academic underachievement. Using Photovoice as a vehicle for community dialogue and education, the goal of this project was not to further the literature that examines the limitations of young Indigenous women, but to examine their strengths and their resilience. The project intended to document the lived experiences of young Indigenous women and comment on youth-identified issues and responses to the challenges experienced by Indigenous girls residing in urban centres. The level of insight and maturity demonstrated by the photographers was astounding; these young girls were able to consider their own circumstances within the broader context of family and community. Further, they examined their circumstances critically in relation to the historical consequences of past generations. In doing this, the photographers, rather than getting trapped in a cycle of negativity reminiscing about past wrongs, created opportunity for positive change and raised hope for this generation.
American Girl is a multi-product brand that is marketed transnationally through discourses of gendered empowerment and education. While previous scholarship has commented on how American Girl encourages normative gender roles, consumerism, and limited notions of diversity, no scholars, to my knowledge, have discussed disability in relation to the brand. This article explores the representation of disability in the American Girl contemporary line through an analysis of books and doll accessories. Unlike issues of gender, race and class, which appear central to American Girl’s depiction of contemporary girlhood, disability is a literal and metaphoric accessory in the brand. I contend that this representation of disability as supplementary is a prime example of ablenationalism explicitly targeted at girls.
“I Am Not ‘Worthless’—I Am a Girl with a Lot to Share and Offer”
Emma Pearce, Kathryn Paik, and Omar J. Robles
Adolescent girls with disabilities face multiple intersecting and often mutually reinforcing forms of discrimination and oppression, which are exacerbated in situations of crisis. Gender norms that define how women and men should act are socially constructed and learned; they vary across contexts, and interact with other factors, including socioeconomic status, ethnic group, age, and disability. In crisis situations, family and community structures break down, while traditional and social norms disintegrate, all of which affect adolescent girls with disabilities in unique and devastating ways. Drawing on the Women’s Refugee Commission’s work, including personal narratives collected from girls with disabilities, in this report we review how age, gender, and disability influence identity and power in relationships, households, and communities affected by crisis. This report outlines principles for including girls with disabilities in adolescent girls’ programming, promoting safe access to humanitarian assistance, and mitigating the risk of violence, abuse, and exploitation.
Girls with Disabilities Exhibit their Work
Naydene de Lange, Nguyen Thi Lan Anh, and Nghiem Thi Thu Trang
Nirmala Erevelles and Xuan Thuy Nguyen
In this article, I analyze critically Miss You Can Do It, an HBO documentary that follows the contestants and their families in a pageant for disabled girls. I explore disabled girls’ affective labor as happy objects and trace how certain exceptional, disabled girls are, in Puar’s sense, recapacitated and enfolded into the national imaginary. Through an analysis of the storyline of Alina Hollis’s adoption as a disabled foreign child, I illustrate how her transnational adoptee status functions in the service of a new, flexible family structure—one that is benevolent, recapacitated by its valuation of disability, and unwaveringly American.
Female Adolescence in the Novels of Carson McCullers
In this article I will explore the repeated depiction of freak show performers and their relation to adolescent, tomboyish female protagonists in the novels of Carson McCullers. In a surprisingly recurrent trope across McCullers’s work, young girls believe that they will grow uncontrollably, as tall as the “nine foot tall” woman at the fair on the outskirts of town. Serving as a link between their rapidly developing bodies and their emergent sense of their own queerness, freakishness threatens to divert them from the normative futures of womanhood. I investigate this intersection of freak studies, a sub-discipline of disability studies, and queer theories of temporality, arguing for an extension of queer time through crip time, one which is necessitated by a consideration of freakishness in relation to youth and development. The figure of the freak across McCullers’s work calls for a reassessment of girlhood’s complex relationship to embodiment, place, sexuality, and temporality.