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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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Reframing Disability through Graphic Novels for Girls

Alternative Bodies in Cece Bell’s El Deafo

Wendy Smith-D’Arezzo and Janine Holc

format, but also as an expression of a new approach to the portrayal of disability in literature for young readers. Bell uses graphic novel techniques to create a representation of girlhood in which gender, disability, race, age, and class intersect in a

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Contemporary Girls Studies

Reflections on the Inaugural International Girls Studies Association Conference

Victoria Cann, Sarah Godfrey, and Helen Warner

issues of Brexit and austerity continue to have an impact on girls, and it is poor, working class, inner city girls of color who are disproportionally affected as Maya Goodfellow (2016) has pointed out. Indeed, the leading NGO for girls’ rights, Plan UK

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Smart Girl Identity

Possibilities and Implications

Bernice Loh

t girls. They recognize that not all girls who do w ell at school do so in the terms outlined in media stories of post-feminist girlhoods because of intersecting personal and social factors such as socio-economic class, race, age, and nationality

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Sharing Images, Spoiling Meanings?

Class, Gender, and Ethics in Visual Research with Girls

Janet Fink and Helen Lomax

of working-class girlhood and knowing in their engagement with the photographer, albeit unalike in terms of the gendered identities they are performing at that moment as they play, literally and metaphorically, to the camera. What we have described

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Working Hard, Hanging Back

Constructing the Achieving Girl

Colette Slagle

and adolescence studies and shows how scholarship in the field has typically elided differences of gender, class, and ethnicity. She suggests that research on the relationship between girls and popular culture has fallen into two main categories

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Dayna Prest

Byers calls “careful writing” (211–212). Byers describes her graduate class’s journey of learning about and doing collective biography in a feminist methodologies course. She presents the students’ stories and then analyzes their reflections on each

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Beyond the Discourse of Sexualization

An Inquiry into the Adultification of Tween Girls’ Dressing in Singapore

Bernice Loh

young people’s fashion choices. Hedonic Consumption and Social Class in Singapore The acquisition and adornment of adult-like clothing for tween girls is made more complex by Singaporeans having been characterized also as hedonic consumers highly

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Hanna Retallack

the lack of specifics about the questions asked and how the answers are analyzed. As I will explore further, the book’s major problem is with Orenstein’s use of easy protectionist narratives of white middle-class girls’ sexuality. However, combine the

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Heather Fitzsimmons Frey

to tease out the potential for at-home theatricals to have encouraged nineteenth-century middle-class English girls 2 to explore alternative identities and possible futures, I consulted many girls’ diaries, letters, scripts, juvenile newspapers, and