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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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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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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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Amina Triki-Yamani, Marie McAndrew, and Sahar El Shourbagi

Perceptions of the Treatment of Islam and the Muslim World in History Textbooks by Secondary School Teachers in Quebec

This article focuses on the ways in which Francophone Quebecois secondary 1 and 2 junior high school teachers adapt and transmit the treatment of Islam and the Muslim world in textbooks used for history and citizenship education. The authors focus on the teachers' capacity to identify factual errors, stereotypes or ethnocentric biases concerning these questions. In order to do this, they analyze fourteen semi-structured interviews carried out with teachers on the island of Montreal, considering dimensions and indicators that relate to their relationship to the formal curriculum, as well as to scholarly and social knowledge of these issues. At the same time, we consider their relationship to the real curriculum or to scholarly knowledge as these are transmitted in real-life learning situations.

French Notre article porte sur la manière dont les enseignants du premier cycle du secondaire québécois francophone s'approprient et transmettent le traitement de l'islam et du monde musulman dans le matériel didactique de la discipline d'histoire et d'éducation à la citoyenneté et plus particulièrement, sur leur capacité à identi er les erreurs factuelles, les stéréotypes ou les biais ethnocentriques concernant ces questions. Pour ce faire, nous avons relevé, dans l'analyse des quatorze entretiens semi-directifs menés auprès d'enseignants de l'Ile-de-Montréal, les dimensions et indicateurs portant, d'une part, sur leur rapport au curriculum prescrit, et plus précisément sur leur rapport aux savoirs scolaires, sociaux et parfois de référence sur ces enjeux, et, d'autre part, sur leur rapport au curriculum réel ou aux savoirs scolaires tels que transmis en situation réelle d'apprentissage.

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Samira Alayan and Naseema Al-Khalidi

This article analyzes history, civics, and national education textbooks used between grades seven to twelve of the Palestinian and Jordanian school systems from a gender perspective. It focuses on the ways in which men and women are presented within the context of the prevalent culture, which portrays men as the more superior, capable, creative, productive, and therefore dominant, and women as weaker, inferior, dominated, and thus unable to play more than minor roles. As culture affects the perceptions, desires, and ambitions of both males and females, it becomes a key factor in changing the role of women in modern society, and is developed and transferred from one generation to another. This study also emphasizes the need to identify the approaches toward gender adopted by the curricula of Jordan and Palestine, as well as the nature of the language they use. The results from the sample used in this study indicate that although the stereotyping of men and women in both the public and the private sectors varies according to school grade and subject, there is an obvious bias in favor of men.

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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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Erin Ash

white privilege” (2010: 207). Further, white savior films may also reinforce negative attitudes about African Americans because the notion that the recipients of the savior’s kindness need to be saved naturalizes black stereotypes, particularly those

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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