Issues related to young women, power and sex are central to feminism and remain a central source of debate. This centrality underscores the need to question what power and sex mean to young women. Research that weaves together lessons from feminism and from young women's own lived experiences can advance our understanding of young women, power and sex. This article describes how a sample of young women define, understand and conceptualize their power within their heterosexual relationships. The young women's words provide insight into how current feminist understandings of girl power may need to be reconsidered and adapted to explain young women's changing realities.
Marion Doull and Christabelle Sethna
Teen Girls Negotiating Discourses of Competitive, Heterosexualized Aggression
In this paper I explore the themes of heterosexualized competition and aggression in Avril Lavigne's music video Girlfriend (2007) as representative of the violent heterosexualized politics within which girls are incited to compete in contemporary schooling and popular culture. I argue that psycho-educational discourses attempting to explain girls' aggression and bullying fail to account for the heterosexualized, classed or racialized power dynamics of social competition that organize heteronormative femininity. Then I elaborate a psychosocial approach using psychoanalytic concepts to trace how teen girls negotiate contemporary discourses of sexual aggression and competition. Drawing on findings from a study with racially and economically marginalized girls aged thirteen to fourteen attending an innercity school in South Wales, I suggest that the girls enact regulatory, classed discourses like slut to manage performances of heterosexualized aggression. However, alongside their demonstration of the impetus toward sexual regulation of one another, I show how the girls in my study are also attempting to challenge heteronormative formations of performing sexy-aggressive. Moments of critical resistance in their narratives, when they refuse to pathologize aggressive girls as mean and/or bullies, and in their fantasies, when they reject heterosexual relationships like marriage are explored.
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.
Statutory Rape or Postfeminism in Pretty Little Liars?
of heterosexual relationships that radical feminists such as Charlotte Bunch (see Mann 2012 ) critiqued during the Second Wave of feminism. In this scenario, Aria gives up much of her freedom for Ezra's love that is culturally accepted and sanctioned
Same-Sex Attraction between Girls
Wendy L. Rouse
for the male sex: “the ecstatic girl lover is invariably bitter against man. She regards him as her natural enemy” (20). The article’s central premise was that romantic relationships distracted girls from pursuing heterosexual relationships. The
Nicholas L. Syrett
girl's or a woman's youth was part of what defined her as subordinate in her relationship with an older man, but it was trumped by the fact of her femaleness, which would remain constant even as the couple aged. In heterosexual relationships, in other
Selin Çağatay, Olesya Khromeychuk, Stanimir Panayotov, Zlatina Bogdanova, Margarita Karamihova, and Angelina Vacheva
heterosexual relationships. Her conclusions are remarkably similar to Volodymyr Hinda’s assessment of the sexual behavior of Soviet partisans. Hinda sees “the sense of impunity and permissiveness” (163) prevalent in partisan life as decisive in the way men (mis
Controlling Images and Meaning Making Through the Use of Counter-narratives
Mellie Torres, Alejandro E. Carrión, and Roberto Martínez
privilege heterosexuality and heterosexual relationships as fundamental and ‘natural’ within society” ( Cohen 1997: 440 as cited in García, 2009 ). Isaac went on to explain how being held to this double standard and to the controlling image that boys are
Swedish Feminist Comics and Cartoons from the 1970s and 1980s
Anna Nordenstam and Margareta Wallin Wictorin
kitchens or living rooms. In the journal Vi M änskor, during the 1980s, comics also feature ordinary heterosexual relationships, such as the twelve comics named ‘Coco’, produced by Christina Alvner, sometimes with Gunnar Almér. Her comics are drawn in
Gender Hegemony and Flows of Masculinities in Pixar Animated Films
Elizabeth Al-Jbouri and Shauna Pomerantz
the world of play in favor of a heterosexual romance with Bo Peep. In a franchise that values friendship and loyalty to a toy's child, the decision reflects the ultimate importance of heterosexual relationships for the realization of gender hegemony