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Theorizing “The Plunge”

(Queer) Girls’ Adolescence, Risk, and Subjectivity in Blue is the Warmest Color

Michelle Miller

ABSTRACT

This article explores the graphic representation of queer adolescent sexuality on offer in the coming-of-age graphic novel Blue is the Warmest Color. This representation, read alongside object relations psychoanalysis and in terms of feminist sexuality education theorizing, invites adult readers to reconsider the ways in which we think of the relationship between girls, risk, and sexuality. I propose that in order to honor girls’ sexual subjectivity, we must treat romantic risk-taking as an ordinary, healthy and essential aspect of growing up.

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The Different Faces of a Celebration

The Greek Course of International Women's Day, 1924–2010

Angelika Psarra

This article examines the history of International Women's Day (IWD) in Greece from its first celebration in 1924 until 2010. IWD was introduced in Greece by the KKE (Communist Party of Greece) and remained a communist ritual for fifty years. After the fall of the military dictatorship in 1974, the anniversary gradually acquired a wide acceptance and has since been adopted by feminist groups and organizations, trade unions, and parties from the entire political spectrum. The article follows the transformations of the celebration, explores its nebulous genealogy and the myths about its origins, and discusses its impressive ability to survive in diverse socio-political contexts.

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Carroll L. Estes

In the United States, social policy debate concerning the elderly has, for almost two decades, been permeated by the rhetoric of crisis and attacks on the entitlement programmes that provide the backbone of support for older persons. Based on demographics alone, with older women outliving and outnumbering older men, ageing is appropriately defined as a gender issue and, in important respects, a women’s issue. Corroborating this view, Dr Robert Butler, former director of the National Institute on Aging, recently described the U.S. health programmes for the elderly, Medicare and Medicaid, as ‘women’s programs’ for the very old (Butler, 1996).

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Amy Singer

In this article I propose a different way of reading children's novels by identifying types of stories that implicate social structures in their representation of inequality. My analysis focuses on children's novels in order to develop two distinct categories of stories, differentiating between narratives that reinforce the status quo and narratives that challenge it. I illustrate my contention that a subversive story makes visible connections between social power and inequality. To that end, I examine two case studies—Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie and Carol Ryrie Brink's Caddie Woodlawn—to demonstrate how these analytical categories bring to light key differences between two texts which have been subjected to other kinds of comparative analysis, appear to share so much, and are regularly discussed as being good books for girls.

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"i HATE HATE HATE being single" and "why is getting a bf so hard for me?"

Reproducing heteronormative femininity on gURL.com

Jacqueline Ryan Vickery

This article examines the prominent romantic and sexual scripts—the most common being that of a "prince charming" waiting for a girl—found on the "being single" message board of gURL.com. A discourse and textual analysis of the message board is conducted in order to analyze how girls are performing their (hetero)sexual identities. This provides insight into current notions of contemporary girlhood and romantic/sexual expectations. Findings suggest that girls believe that being single is "caused" by something—most often that a girl is not pretty enough or not outgoing enough—so singledom is "blamed" on a lack of (appropriate) femininity. Also, if a girl fails at femininity then it is assumed that she might also be failing at heterosexuality. Girls seem to believe that by becoming more conventionally feminine (outgoing and attractive), singledom can be "fixed" and thus heteronormativity and femininity are reaffirmed.

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Staying and Critiquing

Israeli Orthodox Women Filmmakers

Valeria Seigelsheifer and Tova Hartman

Over the past two decades, Israeli Orthodox Jewish women filmmakers have used film to speak in a public voice about various subjects that were previously taboo. Although there are aspects of Orthodoxy to which these filmmakers object, they do so as ‘devoted resisters’. Rather than expressing heretical opposition, the women stay committed to Orthodoxy precisely because they are able to use filmmaking to resist. In their negotiations of voice used to ‘justify’ their decision to become filmmakers, the women position themselves as ‘accidental’ filmmakers, thereby remaining within Orthodoxy while critiquing it through their films. Cultural resistance in this case is not carried out as defiance to Orthodox Judaism but rather out of a relationship with it, featuring a form of resistance that insists upon devotion to multiple commitments.

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Lara Kriegel

Considerations of E. P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class have situated its 1963 publication within political, social, and intellectual contexts. A study of its cultural, emotional, and affective contexts remains lacking. This article locates The Making in the context of an important genre developed, on stage and on screen, at the moment of its publication: the “kitchen sink” dramas written by the so-called Angry Young Men, including Look Back in Anger (1956/1959), A Kind of Loving (1960/1962), and A Taste of Honey (1958/1961). It understands these texts as a collective commentary on loss—the loss experienced by Thompson's working class subject and by his learned readership, too—and assesses the affective dimensions of class beyond Thompson's rendition of class formation. In so doing, it follows on the work of feminist critics and cultural historians who have sought, at once, to augment and challenge the view of class formation that E. P. Thompson was able to provide. Through this engagement, it seeks to extend Thompson's interest in the contours of class formation into a domestic sphere concerned, among other things, with emotional relations, consumer practice, and reproductive politics.

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Transnational Public Spheres from 'Above' and from 'Below'

Feminist Networks across the Middle East and Europe

Ruba Salih

This article examines the emergence of transnational public spheres brought about by women activists in diasporas and countries of origin across Europe and the Middle East. Such activism can take various forms - networks, partnerships, transnational mobilisations against war or for advocacy - which, in turn, have an impact on the ability to provide women with new paths to emancipation. Although globalising states and societies are becoming more interconnected, demarcating inequalities and forms of governance still exist. Parameters based on territoriality and national citizenship reinforce the unequal access to resources that women experience around the globe and thus have a hand in shaping women's agendas. The article concludes that although women may be able to acquire empowering tools through feminist transnational networks, these tools are not always capable of dismantling boundaries or weakening old hierarchies.

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Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

Two of the earliest women's suffrage victories were achieved in the Russian Empire, in Finland and Russia, as a result of wars and revolutions. Their significance has been largely ignored, yet study of these achievements challenges the standard paradigms about the conditions (struggle within a democracy, geographic location on the 'periphery'), which favoured early suffrage breakthroughs. This article analyses the particular circumstances in Finland and Russia, which, in a relatively short amount of time, broke down resistance to giving women the vote. An examination of the events surrounding the February 1917 Russian Revolution, which toppled the Tsar, demonstrates the significant role of women in initiating and furthering the revolutionary momentum as well as fighting for their own rights. Both the Finns and the Russians pioneered in extending the legacies of the French and American Revolutions to include women.

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Jennifer Anne Boittin, Christina Firpo, and Emily Musil Church

This article looks at French Indochina, metropolitan France, and French West Africa from 1914 through 1946 to illustrate specific ways in which French colonial authority operated across the French empire. We look at how colonized people challenged the complex formal and informal hierarchies of race, class, and gender that French administrators and colonizers sought to impose upon them. We argue that both the French imperial prerogatives and colonized peoples' responses to them are revealed through directly comparing and contrasting various locales across the empire. Our case studies explore interracial families and single white women seeking compensation from the French in Indochina, black men de ning their masculinity, and Africans debating women's suffrage rights.