Formative Experiences and Identity in Peasant Childhood
In this article I explore the meaning of work for girls in rural northeastern Argentina as formative experience that forges their identity as peasants in the contemporary world. Based on ethnographic research conducted from 2008 to the present in rural areas of San Ignacio (Misiones), I examine, from the perspective of regulatory definitions regarding children’s work, the ways in which young girls gradually participate in the social reproduction of families. Girls’ participation in these activities should not be romanticized as part of a socialization process, but, rather, critically considered as formative experience in which class, age, gender, and ethnic distinctions define certain tasks as girls’ peasant skills. Using data from participant observations made on three farms, I show how girls have an active role in the appropriation of knowledge through shared activities with boys, although such learning is overshadowed by the prevailing socio-historic construct of male dominance.
Neoliberal Governance and Government Educational Resource Manuals in Canada
Lisa Smith and Stephanie Paterson
Nova Scotia’s Guide for Girls and Manitoba’s 4 Girls Only! represent recent shifts in policy that aim to include and empower young women vis-a-vis public policy. In this article, we analyze these manuals, illuminating the ways in which young women are configured as subjects in late modern capitalist societies such as Canada. We show that, as neoliberal subjects, young women are increasingly expected to be autonomous and self-governing yet appear to require guidance to follow the right path towards future ideal neoliberal citizenship. Thus, despite their notable intentions, the manuals identify and target certain forms of conduct as problematic, eschewing a broader discussion of the structural causes of a variety of social problems such as poverty, unemployment, poor health, sexual violence, and stress, thus raising important questions regarding policy by, for, and about young women.
Fatima Khan, Claudia Mitchell, and Marni Sommer
Girls Cultivating Disruption
Crystal Leigh Endsley
There are increasing demands that scholars of girlhood studies pay attention to the ways in which girls of color challenge the powerful discourses that work to constrain them. I take up this call to action through an analysis of the spoken word poetry of black, brown, and mixed-race high school girls in New Orleans, Louisiana. I discuss varying levels of consciousness about these discourses as represented in the poems of three girls aged 14, 15, and 16 that offer nuanced entry into the ambiguous process of their developing identities. I link instances of disruption highlighted through their poetry to aspects of their day-to-day experience to present a theoretical intervention that I call cultivated disruption that points to the ways in which girls of color are already practicing poetry as pleasurable and creative survival.
Teenage Girls’ Forays into Digital and School-Based Feminisms
Crystal Kim and Jessica Ringrose
In this article, we discuss a case study of a feminist society in a girls’ secondary school in England, highlighting how teenage girls use social media to combat sexism. Considering the recent growth of feminist societies in UK schools, there is still a lack of research documenting how young feminists use social media’s feminist content and connections. Addressing this gap, we draw on interviews and social media analyses to examine how girls navigate feminisms online and in school. Despite their multifaceted use of social media, the girls in our research undervalued digital feminism as valid or valued, in large part because of dismissive teacher and peer responses. We conclude by suggesting that schools need to cultivate social media as a legitimate pedagogical space by developing informed adult support for youth engagement with social justice-oriented online content.
Gender at Play
In this article, I explore how the beliefs of preschool teachers that equality is the norm in their classrooms shape play periods in ways that may work to disadvantage girls. I argue that equality discourses mask the gender power children must negotiate in their play and that this leaves girls with fewer choices when they are accessing the play environment. With research grounded in fieldwork carried out in four public schools in a Canadian metropolis, I illustrate how liberal notions of equality reinforced the traditional gender binary in children’s play. Moreover, drawing on the work of Jane Roland Martin, I show that liberal understandings of equality work to sustain a male-centered education for all students in preschool. To explore ways to attend to such gender inequalities, I turn to Nel Noddings’s concept of an ethics of care and point to the need to challenge the gender binary in early learning.
Exploring the CBBC Television Tween
In this article, I argue that while the tween is understood as having transnational relevance and mobility, this is often emphasized in ways that overlook the national and cultural specificities of tween culture. I argue that the distinctive context of British television history augments the connections between national and transnational paradigms of tween culture in important ways. While authenticity, friendships, and honesty remain foregrounded in a number of Children’s British Broadcasting Corporation (CBBC) shows, these are constructed through a national discourse that connects to transnational models of the tween girl but also mobilizes a cultural specificity that is inextricable from the broadcasting context in which it is produced.
Online Doll Videos and the Intertextuality of Tween Girl Culture
Jessica E. Johnston
Over the last 10 years, girls on YouTube have been creating stop-motion videos with their American Girl dolls. Many of these girls began producing videos when they were tweens and have continued participating in the American Girl YouTube (AGTube) community into their late adolescence and early adulthood. In this article, I explore the intertextuality of tween girl culture as it is performed and reflected on by teen (13 to 18) and young adult (19 to 24) girls in their online doll videos. Through an examination of their AGTube channels, I show how girl producers negotiate their experiences and desires as teens and young adults within the tween culture of American Girl. I argue that AGTube functions as an audience-generated paratext of American Girl, and demonstrate how teen and young adult girls interact with and challenge the marketplace boundaries of tween girl culture in digital spaces.