Hollywood's Hegemonic Reimagining of Counterculture
The realm of horror provides a creative space in which the breakdown of social order can either expose power relations or further cement them by having them persist after the collapse. Carol Clover proposed that the 1970s slasher film genre—known for its sex and gore fanfare—provided feminist identification through its “final girl” indie invention. Over three decades later, with the genre now commercialized, this research exposes the reality of sexual and horrific imagery within the Hollywood mainstay. Using a mixed-methods approach, I develop four categories of depiction across cisgender representation in these films: violent, sexual, sexually violent, and postmortem. I explore the ways in which a white, heterosexist imagination has appropriated this once productive genre through the violent treatment of bodies. This exposes the means by which hegemonic, oppressive structures assimilate and sanitize counter-media. This article provides an important discussion on how counterculture is transformed in capital systems and then used to uphold the very structures it seeks to confront. The result of such assimilation is the violent treatment and stereotyping of marginalized identities in which creative efforts now pursue new means of brutalization and dehumanization.
Figuring the Girl Activist as Global Savior
Jessica K. Taft
There has been a notable increase in the public visibility of girl activists in the past ten years. In this article, I analyze media narratives about several individual girl activists to highlight key components of the newly desirable figure of the girl activist. After tracing the expansion of girl power discourses from an emphasis on individual empowerment to the invocation of girls as global saviors, I argue that girls are particularly desirable figures for public consumption because the encoding of girls as symbols of hope helps to resolve public anxieties about the future, while their more radical political views are managed through girlhood's association with harmlessness. Ultimately, the figure of the hopeful and harmless girl activist hero is simultaneously inspirational and demobilizing.
Does Social Capital Shape Women's Lives?
Supriya Baily, Gloria Wang, and Elisabeth Scotto-Lavino
In the call for proposals for this special issue, activist networks were defined as virtual or in person communities devoted to social change. The impact for girls active in these networks has been shown to promote identity development and de-marginalization/empowerment/reclamation of political spaces where girls are marginalized, intergenerational collaboration among women, and community building among feminists. In this study, we seek to explore how women at different generational points reflect on and remember their engagement in social activism. Understanding how these generational shifts affect the impact of social capital on the lives of these women and the changes we might see as they mature into leaders will provide a platform to better understand the influence of belonging to such networks during girlhood.
Visibility and Screen Politics after the Transgender Tipping Point
Implied Pederasty and Interpreting the Inexpressible
The topic of pederasty in “The Sisters” has attracted extensive commentary. In this discussion, the boy's confusion, growing up at the crux of two views of masculinity, has not been explored. Moreover, Father Flynn's nostalgic view of boyhood, and his dependency on the company of the boy, also warrants exploration. Furthermore, little has been made of the boy's antagonistic relationship with Father Flynn's sisters, as there is evidence in the story that the boy is considered corruptive. It is my contention that pederasty is not the larger issue, as in another context, this could be contested. Rather, the boundary between the boy and adults is constructed across two opposing ideals of masculinity, obliterating any possibility of contestation. Subsequently, sentient and reflexive aspects of the boy's characterization deviate from how children are viewed by adult characters in Dubliners.
Representations of Gender-Nonconforming Identities in Argentinian Telenovelas
In Argentina, trans people have experienced extreme marginalization exacerbated by authoritarian dictatorships. Despite this history, since the return of democracy in the 1980s Argentina has witnessed legislative changes as an outcome of extensive trans activism. Travestis became more visible as they protested police brutality. Travesti mobilization brought more visibility, specifically within the media industries. To elucidate their participation in media, this article focuses on travesti celebrity Florencia de la V in Los Roldán (2004–, Telefe). I examine the representation of travestis on telenovelas and how fictional characters have an effect on structuring a star's career through the telenovelas’ ability to blur the distinctions between character and star. Ultimately, this article questions the introduction of mainstream audiences to gender-nonconforming characters through the industry's incorporation of travesti stars in relation to themes of scandal and domesticity. I build on the work of trans scholars Blas Radi and Lohana Berkins, who theorize travesti identities as politicized non-binary bodies.
Addressing Early and Forced Marriage in South Africa
Sadiyya Haffejee, Astrid Treffry-Goatley, Lisa Wiebesiek, and Nkonzo Mkhize
Increasingly, researchers and policymakers recognize the ability of girls to effect social change in their daily lives. Scholars working across diverse settings also acknowledge the key influence of individual, family, and societal structures on such activism. Drawing on our work with girls in a participatory visual research project in a rural community in South Africa, we consider examples of partnership and collaboration between the adult research team and the young participants. We highlight their agency in mobilizing adults to partner and support community and policy change to address traditional practices of early and forced marriage in this setting. We conclude that collaborative engagement with adults as partners can support activism and advocacy led by girls in contexts of traditional leadership.
Being “Boy,” Being “Filipino,” Being “Other”
In this article I explore the nuanced performances of masculinity enacted by a 14-year-old boy named “Tom.” Tom, a boy of Filipino descent, complicated much of what was the case with other (non-Filipino) young male participants in my study when it came to masculinity. Rather than simply (re)producing hegemonic masculinity, I show in this article how Tom played with his masculinity and countered potential accusations of homosexuality through acts of self-exoticization and self-feminization (removing others’ power to do so). I explore the role that Tom's Filipino heritage and London background plays in his performance of masculinity, arguing that in the overwhelmingly white context of Norfolk (UK), it serves to anchor his hegemonic masculinity through connotations of “toughness” and “urbanness.” It is therefore in Tom's emphasis of his diasporic “Otherness” that his gender transgressions can be consolidated.
Gender Hegemony and Flows of Masculinities in Pixar Animated Films
Elizabeth Al-Jbouri and Shauna Pomerantz
Representations of boys and men in Disney films often escape notice due to presumed gender neutrality. Considering this omission, we explore masculinities in films from Disney's lucrative subsidiary Pixar to determine how masculinities are represented and have and/or have not disrupted dominant gender norms as constructed for young boys’ viewership. Using Raewyn Connell's theory of gender hegemony and related critiques, we suggest that while Pixar films strive to provide their male characters with a feminist spin, they also continue to reify hegemonic masculinities through sharp contrasts to femininities and by privileging heterosexuality. Using a feminist textual analysis that includes the Toy Story franchise, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Coco, we suggest that Pixar films, while offering audiences a “new man,” continue to reinforce hegemonic masculinities in subtle ways that require critical examination to move from presumed gender neutrality to an understanding of continued, though shifting, gender hegemony.