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Girls, Power and Style

Social and Emotional Experiences of the Clothed Body

Emilie Zaslow

Drawing on ethnographic research with a diverse group of teen girls, this article asks how play with style is understood and enacted. By positioning girls' everyday transactions with style beside their engagement with style in media, this article demonstrates that girls live with a cultural discordance between the girl power media discourse of style as choice, power, and resistance, and the reality of their own, often disempowered, experiences with style. Bound by the promise of upward social mobility, the fear of losing status, and the risk of remaining in the low income and middle class communities in which they were raised, the girls in this study feel regulated and, at times, hurt by the required performance of the clothed body.

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Beyond the Discourse of Sexualization

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

Bernice Loh

In order to explore the adultification of tween girls in Singapore through the way they dress, I begin this article by taking stock of the arguments in the discourse of sexualization. In further elucidating the cultural specificities of girlhood, I point out how tween girls’ fashioning of themselves after adults in Singapore presents some challenges to the ways that the adultification of tween girls’ dressing has been commonly theorized. I show that although the adultification of tween girls’ dressing forms a large part of the debate in the discourse of sexualization, tween girls’ fashioning of themselves after adults should not be assumed to be an exclusive outcome and process of improper and premature sexualization in culturally-specific contexts like Singapore. This article, therefore, explores a different way of thinking about tween girls who are dressing up in more adult-like ways, and suggests the need to be careful about extrapolating from arguments made in the (Western) discourse of sexualisation about this phenomenon.

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Roger Deacon

Empire, by Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0674251210.

Empire’s New Clothes: Reading Hardt and Negri, edited by Paul A. Passavant & Jodi Dean. New York: Routledge, 2004. ISBN: 0415935555.

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Water Defences

The Arts of Swimming in Nineteenth-Century Culture

Vybarr Cregan-Reid

In Charles Dickens’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870), the Minor canon of Cloisterham Cathedral is introduced to the reader as a thoroughly muscular Christian. Crisparkle’s moral fibre is designated by a prolonged succession of adjectives; indeed, the only point at which this adjectival rhythm is ruptured is when the text pauses to describe the Reverend’s sophisticated and frequent swimming rituals. So proficient a swimmer is he, that when the crews that drag the river searching for Drood’s body fail to find any clues, it is Crisparkle we are told, who ‘threw off his clothes, […] plunged into the icy water, and swam for the spot. Climbing the timbers, he took from them […] a gold watch, bearing engraved upon its back E. D.’ (198).

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Annamari Vänskä

Debates about little girls' loss of innocence, and the sexualization of girls have become an integral part of media in contemporary culture. Fashion advertising representing young girls and certain types of clothes are specifically prone to generate debates about sexualization. This article looks at the sexualization argument through two sets of fashion editorials, one in a December–January 2011 issue of French Vogue, and another in the December–January 1978 issue of the same magazine. The article exposes the problem of sexualization discourse that relates images to lived experiences of girls even though fashion advertising rarely, if ever, is interested in depicting reality. Sexualization is revealed to be a value statement—the Other of innocence which is set up as the norm. Furthermore, fashion photography is shown to be intertextual; images refer to other fashion photographs. In looking at these issues this article opens up space for discussing the visual and sartorial history of the sexual girl.

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Arpad Szakolczai

Since its birth, but especially since its academic institutionalization, sociology has been plagued by a series of dualisms and dichotomies that seriously diminish the relevance of much of sociological work. To start with, there is the opposition of theoretical and empirical soci- ology; an opposition that should have been stillborn, as it is com- monplace that theoretical work without empirical evidence is arid, while empirical research without theory is spiritless and boring, but continues to survive and even thrive. There is also the division between substantive and methodological issues, creating the impres- sion of two separate realms and the illusion of a ‘free choice’ of method. One can continue with the contrast between methodological individualism and collectivism that in our days culminates in the var- ious debates around rational choice theory, but which is just the old debate between (neo-classical) economics and classical (Durk- heimian) social theory, in new clothes. Still further, there is the dilemma of dynamic versus static approaches, which could be for- mulated in the language of historical versus structural, or of genetic versus genetic. There is furthermore the dichotomy dominating so much of contemporary sociology, between agency and structure, which is just another way of posing the contrast between action and system, dominating the structural-functionalism of the 1950s and 1960s, or the even older opposition between object and subject and their dialectic, central for German idealist philosophy. At an even more general level, there is the question of the link between reality and thought, the extent to which thought and discourses can properly reproduce reality, or, on the contrary, the claims about the autonomy of discourse, or the independence of the text, a theme particular cher- ished by various postmodern approaches.

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Assessing Ritual Experience in Contemporary Spiritualities

The Practice of’sharing’ in a New Age Variant of Umbanda

Viola Teisenhoffer

Spirituality: Rethinking Religion , ed. Steven J. Sutcliffe and Ingvild S. Gilhus , 227 – 241 . London : Routledge . Espírito Santo , Diana . 2016 . “ Clothes for Spirits: Opening and Closing the Cosmos in Brazilian Umbanda .” HAU: Journal of