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"The Dangerous Book Four Boys"

James Franco's Psychosexual Artistic Explorations of Boyhood

Dinah Holtzman

In 2010, James Franco debuted his exhibition “The Dangerous Book Four Boys” at the Clocktower Gallery. He appropriated his title from the Igguldens’ guidebook The Dangerous Book for Boys (2006). This paper explores Franco’s representation of boyhood, focusing on his anxiety over traditional gender roles. Dangerous depicts boyhood as a homosocial and homoerotic realm in which women are both envied and elided. Franco’s vision of boyhood is premised upon a longing for both domestic structures and practices. The exhibit is organized around several small rough-hewn wooden structures resembling small houses. Inside the constructions, the films Destroy House and Castle depict young men destroying identical domiciles with axes, shotguns and blowtorches. Ironically, these violent depictions are safely contained within intact replicas of the very structures being destroyed in the films. These constructions are emblematic of Franco’s fraught relationship to masculinity, stereotypical gender roles and domesticity.

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Judith Inggs

This article explores the development of girl characters in works for children and young adults during Perestroika. First, it examines established heroines from the Soviet era, such as Elli in Volkov's Volshebnik izumrudnogo goroda [The wizard of the emerald city], and then goes on to examine the depiction of female protagonists and characters in works written during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The conclusion is that although there was a clear demand for new heroines and a new role model for girls, writers did not succeed in providing strong, independent female characters with a sense of agency. Instead, the Soviet preference for male protagonists continued, with females often being portrayed stereotypically as weak and ineffectual.

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Becoming Healthy, Free and Physically Active

Medical Discourse on Girls in Sweden c. 1880-1930

Anna-Karin Frih

The sick girl was a popular stereotype in Swedish medical discourse around 1900. It was established by medical authorities at the time that a substantial number of Swedish girls suffered from various diseases and ailments. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, at a time when the welfare state was gradually evolving in the Nordic countries, the scientific opinion of girls changed. The new girl was represented as healthy and active. This article examines the medical discourse on girls, and their activity and health in Sweden during circa 1880 to 1930. It reveals patterns of the medicalization of girls as well as categorizations and constructions of girlhood that corresponded with contemporaneous notions of gender. It reveals a recurring, if inconstant, problematization of girls' illness and lack of adequate physical activity. In this article I will show how the discussions about girls around 1900 share several similarities with current ones.

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Putting the Grail Back into Girl Power

How a Girl Saved Camelot, and why it Matters

Katherine Allocco

The Warner Brothers animated film Quest for Camelot (1998), which is set in the age of King Arthur, tells the story of Kayley, a brave, resolute, intelligent and peaceful teenage girl who rescues Camelot and is rewarded for her heroism by being made a Knight of the Round Table. The film presents viewers with a feminist hero, but does so without apology or self-congratulation. Kayley carves out a new space for girl heroes in mainstream film production in which a girl can become a hero without being weighed down by expectations of stereotyped gendered behavior and without virilizing herself by narrowly defining a hero as an aggressive warrior. She escapes the sexual pressures that complicate Buffy the Vampire Slayer's life and the submissive acceptance of the violent warrior ethic that defines Mulan. Kayley is an unusual girl hero who celebrates Girl Power as an uncommonly innocent and positive character.

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Comics as Public Pedagogy

Reading Muslim Masculinities through Muslim Femininities in Ms. Marvel

Shenila S. Khoja-Moolji and Alyssa D. Niccolini

In this article we examine the production and operation of the character, Kamala Khan, a Muslim American-Pakistani superheroine of the Ms. Marvel comic series, to glean what this reveals about Islam and Muslims, with particular attention to representations of Muslim masculinities. We argue that Ms. Marvel's invitation to visualize Muslim girls as superheroes is framed by a desire to interrupt rampant Islamophobia and xenophobia, yet, in order to produce such a disruption it relies on, and (re)produces, stereotypical conceptualizations of Muslim masculinities as mirrored in men who are conservative, prone to irrational rage, pre-modern, anachronistic, and even bestial. However, as the series progresses we notice the emergence of representations of complex and complicated Muslim masculinities that cast doubt on these tired, hackneyed ones, thus making way for a comic to undertake the pedagogical work of resistance. We see this graphic novel, like the shape-shifting Kamala herself, as wielding potentially dynamic and transformative power in social imaginaries.

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Rethinking Agency and Resistance

What Comes After Girl Power?

Marnina Gonick, Emma Renold, Jessica Ringrose, and Lisa Weems

With the current proliferation of images and narratives of girls and girlhood in popular culture, many ‘truths’ about girls circulate with certainty. Amongst the aims of this Special Issue is to examine critically these ‘confi dent characterizations’ (Trinh 1989), to trace the social conditions which produce these ‘truths’ along with the public fascination with girls and to analyze critically the eff ects of these ‘truths’ in the lives of young girls. Th e concepts of resistance and agency have been critical to the field of youth studies, sociology of education and school ethnographies (Hall and Jeff erson 1976; McRobbie 1978; Willis 1978) for conceptualizing the relationships between young people and their social worlds. Ground breaking scholarship by McRobbie (2000) challenges the gendered assumptions of political agency articulated in previous theories of subcultures developed in the 1970s and 80s. While feminist poststructuralist work in the 1990s has re-conceptualized agency in ways that are markedly diff erent to humanist notions of rational actors with free-will (Butler 2006; Davies 2000), feminist researchers have also shown the importance of a classed, raced and sexed analysis of agency. For example, scholarship by feminists of color have shown how girls of color challenge and defy dominant stereotypes of girlhood in culturally specifi c ways such as participating in spokenword contests, rap and hip hop, and ‘beauty contests’ (Hernandez and Rehman 2002; Gaunt 2006). In the changing social, economic, political and globalizing context of the new millennium, where ‘girl power’ has become a marketing tool and a branding (Klein 2000) of girlhood, it is important to look anew at the relations between girlhood, power, agency and resistance.

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Brigette Krieg

community concerns stereotypically attached to young Indigenous women. In fact, they felt that many of the personal issues they experienced were the direct consequence of specific systemic community issues. They readily acknowledged that historic systemic

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Constructing Pathways to Responsible Manhood

Controlling Images and Meaning Making Through the Use of Counter-narratives

Mellie Torres, Alejandro E. Carrión, and Roberto Martínez

claim positive male masculinity roles that challenge stereotypes. Students share how they (re)conceptualize manhood by incorporating narratives and discourse from their schools, role models, and family. Their counter-narratives critique but also push

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Paula MacDowell

through their media production processes. I believe that if we want to learn more about girls we need to listen to their stories. Additionally, if we want girls to transform gender stereotypes in popular media we need to educate and empower them to create

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I’m Not Loud, I’m Outspoken

Narratives of Four Jamaican Girls’ Identity and Academic Success

Rowena Linton and Lorna McLean

schooling for black students. While attempts have been made to eliminate these problems institutionally, some black female students, as we shall see, have taken matters into their own hands so as to defy stereotypes, and have, instead, excelled academically