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“Your Young Lesbian Sisters”

Queer Girls’ Voices in the Liberation Era

Amanda H. Littauer

Drawing on letters and essays written by teenage girls in the 1970s and early 1980s, and building on my historical research on same-sex desiring girls and girlhoods in the postwar United States, I ask how teenage girls in the 1970s and early 1980s pursued answers to questions about their feelings, practices, and identities and expressed their subjectivities as young lesbian feminists. These young writers, I argue, recognized that they benefitted from more resources and role models than did earlier generations, but they objected to what they saw as adult lesbians’ ageism, caution, and neglect. In reaching out to sympathetic straight and lesbian public figures and publications, girls found new ways to combat the persistent isolation and oppression faced by youth whose autonomy remained severely restricted by familial, educational, and legal structures.

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Lyn Mikel Brown

Lyn Mikel Brown gives an autobiographical account of her shift in focus from studying girls and theorizing girls and girlhood to working as an activist and advocate for and with girls. Specifically she describes the Maine-based nonprofit organization called Hardy Girls Healthy Women (www.hghw.org) that she founded in 2000. She situates her current praxis historically in the light of her groundbreaking work with Carol Gilligan at the Harvard Project on Women's Psychology and Girls' Development in the 1980s and early 1990s. This work did indeed put the "girls" into Girls' Studies.

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Claudia Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh

It has been forty years since the feminist classic on women’s health and sexuality, Our Bodies, Our Selves was published. Available first in 1971 and then produced commercially in 1973 (revised, re-issued and, as of October 2011, in its ninth printing), Our Bodies, Our Selves, published by the Boston Women’s Collective, was regarded by many girls and women in the 1970s and 1980s as the book that changed their relationship to their own bodies and to their own health. And indeed, it set the stage for a revisioning of the questions: “Whose bodies?” and “Whose voices?” in health research, and could be regarded as a precursor to such works as Sandra Harding’s (1991) Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? Thinking from Women’s Lives.

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Adolescence in Action

Screening Narratives of Girl Killers

Eva Lupold

The term girl heroine is an ambiguous signifier in discourses surrounding action-adventure cinema. Film scholars occasionally refer to adult action heroines as girls, while adolescent warriors remain largely overlooked in the literature. Research on women warriors focuses primarily on “musculinity” films of the 1980s or on more recent “action babe” movies featuring adult women. However, movies like Kick-Ass, Hanna, Violet & Daisy, Hard Candy, True Grit, and The Hunger Games demonstrate that films with adolescent action heroines are increasingly popular. This article argues that contemporary depictions of girl warriors emerge as a result of recent shifts in cultural attitudes towards girlhood sexuality and girlhood aggression. It also argues that the rise of the adolescent action heroine points to anxieties about changes in nuclear family structures, and that contemporary action films imply that young girls should be responsible for maintaining moral order. Ultimately, such films thus contain regressive as well as progressive messages.

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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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From American Girls into American Women

A Discussion of American Girl Doll Nostalgia

Molly Brookfield

The American Girl brand of historical dolls and books celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2011. The girls who first played with American Girl dolls in the 1980s and 1990s are now grown women; their nostalgia for the brand is passionate and complicated, and reminiscences from nineteen such women are the focus of this study. Their nostalgic responses are thoughtful and reflective, at turns unabashedly admiring and astutely critical. The women fondly recall American Girl whilst simultaneously criticizing the company for its consumerism and its representations of American history and American girlhood. Their memories show how nostalgia can be ambivalent and contradictory, and how adults can use childhood nostalgia to reinforce and construct identity narratives.

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Girls with Disabilities

A Rights Perspective

Claudia Mitchell

represented simply as girls within the heterogeneity of different girlhoods. In some ways the normalizing effect of depiction and representation in popular culture itself might be read as the barometer, and we might look at a representation in the 1980s of a

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Queering Virginity

From Unruly Girls to Effeminate Boys

Eftihia Mihelakis

–1917), guerilla women from Argentina, and military women from Chile during the dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s who would not necessarily have been included in Western histories of virginity, mainly because of what Hanne Blank refers to as the racial bias of

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Building the Femorabilia Special Collection

Methodologies and Practicalities

Nickianne Moody

will not; he notes that this is also acknowledged as an organizing principle of the bestselling horror films of the 1980s. Moreover, the significance of the endings of these stories can be given a different interpretation. The restoration of stable

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“Hot-for-Teacher”

Statutory Rape or Postfeminism in Pretty Little Liars?

Shara Crookston

this relationship an area of inquiry. Postfeminism, asserts Angela McRobbie, is a process by which “feminist gains of the 1970s and 1980s are actively and relentlessly undermined” ( 2009:11 ), and, according to Sarah Whitney, “designates a contemporary