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Beholding Ourselves

Black Girls as Creators, Subjects, and Witnesses

Erin M. Stephens and Jamaica Gilmer

The bus was full of excited chatter as it pulled up in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (known universally as The Met) on Fifth Avenue on a cold morning in January. Thirteen girls, along with invited loved ones, had traveled for nine-and-a-half hours from Durham, NC, to view their art displayed in the exhibit, “Pens, Lens, and Soul: The Story of The Beautiful Project” (hereafter, “Pens, Lens, and Soul”). First, the girls filed off the bus to take a photograph on the steps of The Met. As their family and friends waited to disembark, they laughed and shivered while posing for numerous photographs and videos on the cold steps. As they stood at the bottom of the steps of the grand prestigious museum, the impressiveness of their accomplishment was just beginning to dawn on many of them. As she walked around the exhibit one of the artists would comment, “I feel surprised because I didn’t realize it was this big of a thing and I was here and it’s a thing, it’s a big thing … we are capable of doing anything.”

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Beyond Representation

Technofeminisms and the Promise of Computing for Girls

Amélie Lemieux

Kristine Blair. 2019. Technofeminist Storiographies: Women, Information Technology, and Cultural Representation.

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Breaching Flowery Borders

Early Twentieth Century Girls Scrapbooking Their Lives

Leslie Midkiff DeBauche

The American high school seniors I discuss in this article graduated between 1915 and 1922, tumultuous years that included World War I, the influenza pandemic of 1918 to 1919, and the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. During such extraordinary times, these girls did a most ordinary thing; they made scrapbooks to commemorate their high school years.

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The Discourse of Drama

Regulating Girls in an Icelandic School

Bergljót Thrastardóttir, Steinunn Helga Lárusdóttir, and Ingólfur Ásgeir Jóhannesson

In this article, we consider how girls are positioned in school by what we have chosen to call the discourse of drama. The widely held notion that Nordic girls have it all along with this drama discourse are seen to be the key narratives that reinforce a hegemonic form of girlhood. This ethnographic study focuses on the relations of students between the ages of 13 and 15 in the light of uninformed school staff-member practices. Our findings suggest that girls, despite living in what is seen to be a country that upholds gender equality, are silenced through this discourse of drama. We suggest that teacher education should lead to the facilitation of a gender-inclusive school environment free of stereotypical ideas of gender as a fixed binary.

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The End of the Tunnel

Girls’ Marked Bodies in the Canadian Transcarceral Pipeline

Sandrina de Finney and Mandeep Kaur Mucina

In settler states, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) girls and young women are targeted for specific kinds of social service interventions embedded in the gendered genocidal logics of colonial ideologies. Interlocking forms of violent carceral capture operate across settler institutions such as child welfare, immigration, and justice systems that are tasked with policing and criminalizing nonwhite girls. Conceptualizing these interconnected systems as a transcarceral pipeline, we examine their inner workings and impacts on Indigenous girls and BIPOC refugee girls in Canada through two sites of inquiry: child welfare systems targeting Indigenous girls and young mothers; and the immigration-child-welfare pipeline for refugee girls of color. Our analysis stresses the urgency of anticolonial systems of care grounded in sovereignty-making collective relations.

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Shailendra Kumar Singh

In this article, I examine the discursive portrayals of gendered experience and subject positions through Sarjita Jain’s “Girliyapa,” an online entertainment channel (on YouTube) for female-oriented content in India. I demonstrate how the question of female pleasure that the channel repeatedly foregrounds by way of introducing relatively censored topics of discussion (such as girls buying condoms or articulating their orientation toward same-sex love) is inextricably intertwined with a gender politics that never turns a blind eye to the existing conventions, stereotypes, or structural inequalities that precipitate gender-based violence and discrimination throughout the country. The widespread prevalence of marital rape, color prejudice, and workplace sexism which, in turn, does not allow for a straightforward valorization of girl power is thus satirically interrogated by “Girliyapa.”

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Shara Crookston and Monica Klonowski

In this article, we argue that Teen Vogue has evolved to encompass aspects of intersectional, feminist activism that is particularly evident in the 2017 “Voices” section of the magazine. This evolution challenges previous research that has found that, historically, teen magazines focus heavily on heteronormativity, ideals of beauty, and consumerism. Our analysis of the content of this section of Teen Vogue in 2017 demonstrates that teen magazines can be reimagined as legitimate sources of intersectional activist feminist information for readers. Despite these positive changes, however, Teen Vogue continues to advertise clothing brands that many adolescent girl readers are likely unable to afford, thereby reinforcing superficial postfeminist notions of empowerment.

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Method-ological Mapping of Girlhood Studies

The Academic Landscapes of Girlhood

Halle Singh

In this article, I report on a mapping project of the methods used in articles in Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal since its inception. By reviewing all articles published in this journal from June 2008 to December 2020, I investigate and visually map the methodological tools used in the production of knowledge with, for, and about girls and girlhood. Alongside visual representations of this data, I also seek to reinvigorate conversations about the importance of epistemological and methodological rigor in studies of girls and girlhood.

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Heather Fitzsimmons Frey and Jenna Kerekes

By embodying movement vocabulary and physical culture drills drawn from a 1911 textbook of physical exercises, in this girl-centred research project we examined how Alberta girls (aged 7 to 22) during the COVID-19 pandemic challenged ideas about Alberta settler girls who lived 100 years ago. Using performance-based historiography as a methodology, participants explored what embodying physical culture movement vocabulary could reveal about archives, past girls, and themselves. Debriefing led to insights concerning relevant social issues, such as gender equity, and current experiences like a growing appreciation for pre-pandemic community-oriented life. In asking provocative questions about the past, these girls demonstrated their potential to shift perceptions of how historically located and contemporary girls are imagined.

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Claudia Mitchell

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.