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Girl, Interrupted and Continued

Rethinking the Influence of Elena Fortún's Celia

Ana Puchau de Lecea

In this article I consider the characterization of Celia, the protagonist in Elena Fortún’s “Celia and Her World” series (1929–1952), and the role of Fortún as a forerunner of women writers in the 1950s. I explore the ways in which Fortún presented herself as a female author offering alternative models of femininity to her readers through the character Celia and the social context of the series. In addition, I examine Fortún’s shifting representation of Celia as a subversive character, and Fortún’s ideological influence on female writers who used similar literary strategies. Using the point of view of the girl in her texts as an insurgent protagonist to reflect different sociohistorical moments in Spain suggests a continuity in Spanish narrative instead of an abrupt change after the Civil War.

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"Shaped Like an Anchor"

Trans Sailors and Cultures of Resistance

Marty Fink

Looking to queer and trans cultural texts from DIY zines to classic queer literature to contemporary experimental cinema, this article considers how sailors represent boyhood as a trangressive embodiment that reworks masculinities and processes of representation. By locating the youthful transmasculine body as a representational norm, queer/trans films like Maggots and Men (2009) create spaces through which sailors reshape meanings assigned to maleness, boys, and men. A linked analysis of Micah Bazant’s self-published Timtum (1999) and James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room (1956) raises further questions about the signs and codes of sailors and postadolescent boyhood in opening up new embodiments for gender non-conforming adults. Investigating how trans sailors become icons of youthful nostalgia and queer masculinities, this paper also questions correlations between sailors and Whiteness, boyhood, colonialism, migration and race.

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I’m No Princess

Super Hero Girls Together

Lucy I. Baker

DC Super Hero Girls (DCSHG) is a trans-media franchise that includes not just screen media texts but a wide array of themed merchandise aimed at a multi-generational market. I argue here that key components of the franchise present a queered version of girlhood that critiques femininity as a gender role while presenting femaleness as encompassing a variety of signifiers, acts, and presentations that can be read as queer (particularly by the so-called big girls in the audience). This is evident in the representation of queer relationships that exist in the sexualized zone of the canonical material, allowing the DCSHG characters to inhabit a liminal proto-queer space between homosocial/gender non-conforming and lesbian that is considered more appropriate for young girls. I examine the way in which the DC Super Hero Girls franchise rejects and reforms familiar elements of comics, super heroism, and princess culture to create that space for girls.

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Editorial

Dislodging Girlhood?

Claudia Mitchell

I am very grateful to Barbara Brickman, the guest editor of this Special Issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for her term “dislodging girlhood” in the context of heteronormativity. Repeatedly in this issue Marnina Gonick’s pivotal question, “Are queer girls, girls?” (2006: 122) is cited. In the 13 years since she posed this question, we have not seen enough attempts made to address it. To mix my metaphors I see this issue of Girlhood Studies as helping to break the silence and simultaneously to open the floodgates to a ground-breaking collection of responses to Gonick’s question. Given the rise of the right in the US and in so many other countries, queer girls— trans, lesbian, gender non-conforming, non-binary to mention just a few possibilities—are at even greater risk than before. Girlhood Studies has always been concerned with social justice, so this special issue is a particularly important one in our history. It is also worth noting that many of the articles are written or co-authored by new scholars, signaling an encouraging trend in academic work that has social justice at its core. I thank Barbara Brickman, the authors, and the reviewers for their history-making contributions to the radical act of dislodging girlhood.