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Spaces of Possibility

Mapping the Molecular in the Lives of Girls

Shauna Pomerantz

Jessica Ringrose. 2013. Postfeminist Education? Girls and the Sexual Politics of Schooling. London: Routledge

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Mean, Wild, and Alienated

Girls and the State of Feminism in Popular Culture

Deirdre M. Kelly and Shauna Pomerantz

The article explores representations of "realistic" teen girlhood in popular culture in order to examine the current constructions of power made available to girls. Specifically, it focuses on three recent popular and critically acclaimed films: Mean Girls, Thirteen and Ghost World. The dominant discourses put forward in these films—girls as mean, as wild, and as alienated—naturalize negative behavior as a normal part of girlhood. In the terrain where these distinct, yet overlapping and reinforcing discourses on girlhood operate, postfeminism is taken for granted. Girls are portrayed as facing only individual concerns rather than any group-based injustices and, therefore, as not needing collective deliberation, evaluation, or action to solve their problems. The resulting discursive formation works to limit access to feminist and other oppositional discourses that name girls' experiences and link their feelings to the ongoing quest for gender justice.

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A New Kind of Monster, Cowboy, and Crusader?

Gender Hegemony and Flows of Masculinities in Pixar Animated Films

Elizabeth Al-Jbouri and Shauna Pomerantz

Abstract

Representations of boys and men in Disney films often escape notice due to presumed gender neutrality. Considering this omission, we explore masculinities in films from Disney's lucrative subsidiary Pixar to determine how masculinities are represented and have and/or have not disrupted dominant gender norms as constructed for young boys’ viewership. Using Raewyn Connell's theory of gender hegemony and related critiques, we suggest that while Pixar films strive to provide their male characters with a feminist spin, they also continue to reify hegemonic masculinities through sharp contrasts to femininities and by privileging heterosexuality. Using a feminist textual analysis that includes the Toy Story franchise, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Coco, we suggest that Pixar films, while offering audiences a “new man,” continue to reinforce hegemonic masculinities in subtle ways that require critical examination to move from presumed gender neutrality to an understanding of continued, though shifting, gender hegemony.