In this article I focus on the narratives of girls who describe the events that shape their lives and get them into trouble. The narratives are explored against Darrell Steffensmeier and Emilie Allan’s (1996) proffered Gender Theory, to consider whether it offers an adequate explanatory framework. The article adds to the body of knowledge about girlhood, gender norms, and transgression and provides fresh insight into the relevance of physical strength to girls’ violence. I conclude that girls are defining girlhood as they live it and it is the disjuncture with normative concepts that leads them into conflict with institutions of social control.
Narratives of Girlhood
In this article, I offer a response to Todd Berliner’s splendid book Hollywood Aesthetic. Although the book is an innovative and well-crafted contribution to the study of Hollywood cinema, I argue that it underestimates the extent to which unity and coherence contribute to the aesthetic value of a film.
Frederick Luis Aldama
This article at once celebrates and puts at cautionary arm's length the tremendous advances made in the cognitive and neurosciences as research that can deepen our understanding of creating and consuming of literature, films, comic books. After providing an overview of recent insights by scholars with one foot in the humanities and the other in the cognitive and neurosciences, the article reflects on some key precepts that might be useful in our continued shaping of a humanities and cognitive based research program. For instance, the article explores the way authors, film directors, and artists generally not only construct artifacts that elicit positive emotions but also negative emotions. It also proposes a model for understanding how the “aesthetic” is a relation and not a property nor an essence of the object (a film) nor something to be found in the subject (us viewing the film).
Digital Storytelling as a Feminist Public Health Approach
Aline C. Gubrium and Gloria T. Difulvio
Strategies designed to address community health needs, and those of disadvantaged girls in particular, are more likely to be successful in supporting health and wellbeing if a humanistic perspective is taken. A humanistic health perspective should consider broader participant concerns, including those that are socially informed. A feminist perspective on knowledge production and a corresponding narrative approach—digital storytelling—has the potential for doing so in the field of community health and in social research efforts. We begin by reviewing a feminist perspective on knowledge development and present digital storytelling as an approach undergirded by this perspective. We then present examples of two digital stories produced by adolescent girls during a pilot community-based participatory project called A Girl in the World which focused on what it actually means to be girls in the world, and conclude that digital storytelling has the potential to provide a more holistic research platform for investigating girls' health.
Christopher Blake Evernden, Cynthia A. Freeland, Thomas Schatz and Frank P. Tomasulo
Rikke Schubart, Mastering Fear: Women, Emotions, and Contemporary Horror (New York: Bloomsbury, 2018), 384 pp., $117 (hardback), ISBN: 9781501336713.
Xavier Aldana Reyes, Horror Film and Affect: Towards a Corporeal Model of Viewership (New York: Routledge, 2016), xii + 206 pp., $49.95 (paperback), ISBN: 9781138599611.
David Bordwell, Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 592 pp., $30.00 (paperback), ISBN: 9780226639550.
Todd Berliner, Hollywood Aesthetic: Pleasure in American Cinema (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 320 pp., $39.95 (paperback), ISBN: 9780190658755.
In conversation with Carl Plantinga’s persuasive account of emotion and the ethics of engagement in Screen Stories, this article considers how audiences engage with film and television in an emotive, evaluative manner that is mediated by technology. Because sensory experience and immersive technologies set screen media apart from forms of storytelling such as literature and because technological developments affect the formal strategies of screen media, I argue that the distinctiveness of and differences between film and television warrant attention. I focus on the ethical implications of sustained engagement with immersive narratives and technologies in contemporary television and algorithmic culture.
Early Adolescence and/as Narrative Rupture in Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women
When we are growing up, how might the narrative practices of our family members shape our understanding of the world we are coming to know? How might narrative desires and allegiances to formal storytelling conventions affect how individuals are represented and positioned within family discourse? In this paper, I analyze the narrative practices of characters in Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women (1971); specifically, I turn to Del Jordan's first encounter with a family member's death and to her tentative understanding of the body's aberrations and complexities, which bumps up against, competes with, and is ultimately overwhelmed by, the narrative practices of the adults in her life. When considered in relation to the bourgeoning field of narrative ethics, Lives of Girls and Women provides a compelling avenue for a rich understanding of how narrative privilege can have an impact on adult-youth relations in general, and the female coming-of-age experience in particular.
In this overview and discussion of my recent book, I outline its major topics and arguments and ruminate on its purpose, its implications, and possible objections to the very idea of an ethics of screen stories. Screen stories are narratives that appear on screens, and in this book I focus on long-form screen stories. The book has three parts. Part I develops a theory of the persuasive or rhetorical power of screen stories. Part 2 argues that while one dominant response to that power in film and media studies has been what I call “estrangement theory,” it is in fact an “engagement theory” that offers more promise for the development of an ethics of screen storytelling. Part 3 examines some of the contours of engagement, or, in other words, some of the means by which screen stories engage the viewer in ethical thinking and moral persuasion. There, I focus on character engagement, narrative structure (and especially endings), and narrative paradigm scenarios.
In the call for articles for this special issue on girls’ health, we highlighted that “[g]irls’ health is an ongoing and evolving issue with ties that go beyond medical analyses to include a wide array of social, educational, political, and environmental discourses (among others!).” Th at a number of different perspectives might contribute to or strengthen the interdisciplinary focus of an issue as crucial as girls’ health was important to me as guest editor. Th is issue demonstrates that the relationship of girlhood to health—sexual health, in particular—is of critical concern to us all. It is an area full of challenges and barriers, most of them, as is evident in this issue, understood and often expressed by girls themselves. The articles presented here point to the many perspectives from which to approach this topic. Girls’ sexual health is linked to an array of intersecting issues including the pedagogical influences of popular romance literature; the ways in which girls use blogs to construct counter narratives about their sexual identity; how girls’ increased inclusion in citizenship discourses can increase their capacity to address sexual objectification; what girls do to negotiate power within their heterosexual relationships; how barriers to water access in Africa can lead to the awareness of the risks—which range from being perceived to be promiscuous to being raped—that young women face; as well as how the (mis)management of menstruation can affect girls’ education. This issue points to the global and local specifics of sexual health, and to health more generally. Th e concerns discussed here are geographically wide-ranging: Cameroon, Lesotho, Australia, the United States, and Canada provide the settings—some urban and others rural. Th e authors present a wide range of methodologies from which they explore girls’ health: literary analysis; autoethnography; and participatory methods such as digital storytelling, mediamaking, listening to what young people have to say in various research paradigms, blogging, and photovoice.
Margrethe Bruun Vaage and Gabriella Blasi
Jason Mittell, Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (New York: New York University Press, 2015), x + 390 pp., £27 (paperback). ISBN: 978-0-8147-6960-7. Reviewed by Margrethe Bruun Vaage Gaps “define the serial