This article analyzes an emergent genre of tween and teen girl confessional videos on YouTube where girls ask their viewers to comment on whether they are pretty or not. While the very existence of this genre is frequently explained away as a symbol of young girls' dwindling self-esteem in the contemporary moment, this article locates them within a self-identificatory gendered neoliberal brand culture so as to examine the ways in which they reproduce an economic model of the successful white middle class girl.
Cormac Ó Beaglaoich, Mark Kiss, Clíodhna Ní Bheaglaoich, and Todd G. Morrison
, substance use/misuse, and suicide probability, and negatively with self-esteem. The associations between GRC and both depression and self-esteem are particularly robust, having been found with samples that are diverse in terms of their cultural, racial, and
Contemporary U.S. Girls’ Organizations and the Public Sphere
Jessica K. Taft
This article addresses the growing concern with youth civic engagement by asking how contemporary U.S. girls' organizations envision girls' civic identities. Recent years have seen the growth of girls' organizations that aim to involve girls in their communities. Based on extensive document research and two ethnographic case studies, my analysis distinguishes between this emergent transformative approach and a more widespread, normative model. Transformative organizations engage girls in a sociological analysis of the conditions of their lives, believe that girls should have public authority, and encourage girls' involvement in social change projects. Normative organizations rely upon a psychological understanding of girls' problems, imagine the public as a space of threat and as being full of barriers girls that must learn to overcome, and emphasize service over political action. By comparing these two approaches, this article suggests that scholars and practitioners should carefully consider the implications of organizations for girls' relationship to the public sphere.
Dan Podjed and Meta Gorup
Applied Anthropology Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) started its activities in 2012 and has since then grown to 120 members. The newly established network has already tackled some of the crucial issues in Europe related to applied anthropology, and has so far identified at least three key challenges: (1) how to increase employability of applied anthropologists, (2) how to deconstruct stereotypes about their activities (within and without academic settings), (3) how to boost self-esteem of younger colleagues at the beginning of their applied career.
An Experiment in the Use of the Guest Interview, Focus Group Interviews and Learning Journals in the Teaching and Learning of the Anthropology of Modern Dance
Jonathan Skinner and Kirk Simpson
This article assesses the experimental teaching and learning of an anthropology module on 'modern dance'. It reviews the teaching and learning of the modern dances (lecture, observation, embodied practice, guest interview), paying attention to the triangulation of investigation methods (learning journal, examination, self-esteem survey, focus group interview). Our findings suggest that—in keeping with contemporary participatory educational approaches—students prefer guest interviews and 'performances of understanding' for teaching and learning, and that focus groups and learning journals were the preferred research methods for illuminating the students' teaching and learning experience.
Carrie A. Rentschler and Claudia Mitchell
Girlhood Studies scholars respond to an overwhelming portrayal of girls as either bad or needing rescue in, for example, mainstream films on mean girls, popular psychology texts on primarily light-skinned middle class girls’ plummeting self-esteem, and media panics about teen girl sexting. According to Sharon Mazzarella and Norma Pecora, “In response to public anxiety and cultural fascination,” in “academic studies of girls…the emphasis has shifted slightly so that the discourse is no longer linked primarily to crisis” (2007: 105). Still, in popular and policy discourse today, girls are often unfairly and inaccurately cast as either super agents or failing subjects.
Contradicting pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance?
In his nine years as South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki was known as a leading pan-Africanist and an advocate of the African Renaissance. Pan-Africanism is an ideology aimed at uniting Africans into a strong force for total liberation. The African Renaissance is a project aimed at restoring Africans’ self-esteem damaged by colonialism and slavery. During and after his presidency Mbeki was criticised by the local and international media for putting at risk hundreds of thousands of South African lives by questioning the link between HIV and AIDS, and blocking drugs that could have saved many lives. If true, this would suggest that there is a contradiction between Mbeki’s pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance, which are supposed to be life-affirming on one hand, and exposing Africans to the perils of a fatal disease, on the other. This article examines Mbeki’s opponents’ arguments, and Mbeki’s stance in the context of pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance.
Raising achievement and aspiration by improving the transition from the BTEC to higher education
In my role as programme leader of the BA (Hons) Criminal Justice and Criminology, I observed that students who entered with A-levels were more likely to achieve a 2:1 or 1st class degree than students from other routes of entry. Analysis of five cohorts showed that less than half of entrants with Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualification achieved a 2:1 classification, compared to over 90 per cent of A-level students. In the interests of equity, this phenomenon deserved further investigation. I set out to identify issues in the transition to higher education that may cause BTEC students to struggle to adapt to academic study and any skills deficits that may ultimately lead to underachievement. As a result of the study, a toolkit was devised to smooth the transition, raise aspiration, enhance self-esteem and improve outcomes.
Amy Adele Hasinoff
Sexualization might seem like a sympathetic explanation for sexting because it positions girls as innocent victims of mass culture. However, there are problematic unintended consequences with understanding sexting, the practice of sharing personal sexual content via mobile phones or the internet, in this particular way. One troubling implication is that it provides a rationale for holding girls who sext criminally responsible for producing child pornography. A second is that when girls' acceptance of sexualization is positioned as a key social problem, the solution that emerges is that girls must raise their self-esteem and gain better media literacy skills. Despite the value of such skills, a focus on girls' deficiencies can divert attention from the perpetrators of gender- and sexuality-based violence. Finally, discourses about sexualization often erase girls' capacity for choice, relying instead on normative assumptions about healthy sexuality. Interrogating the pathologization of girls' apparent conformity to sexualization and mass culture highlights the complexity of agency.
New Directions in Doll Studies
The articles in this issue demonstrate that dolls are ubiquitous cultural forms central to girlhood and young womanhood. Yet understanding the historical and contemporary significance of dolls is a relatively recent development. Th e age-old trivialization of girls and devaluation of youth cultures led to the customary disregard of dolls as legitimate sources of documentary evidence even among scholars. It was not until the late nineteenth century that changing notions of childhood first gave rise to research on children, and a new appreciation of the meanings of play. In 1896, G. Stanley Hall, the founder of the child-study movement, a professor of psychology, and president of Clark University, co-authored with A.C. Ellis the pioneering, “A Study of Dolls,” in which he argued that doll play taught girls key lessons in femininity and maternity. Although Hall argued that “the educational value of toys was enormous” (160), dolls once again lapsed into scholarly obscurity. It was during the late 1930s that Mamie Phipps Clark, then a Master’s student in psychology, used dolls to study the self-esteem of African American children. Th e subsequent doll studies she conducted with her husband, Kenneth Clark, played a role in the 1954 landmark desegregation decision, yet failed to perpetuate doll research. It was on the (high) heels of Barbie who debuted a few years after Brown v. Board of Education, that dolls became the focus of a lively (and still on-going) discourse among parents and pundits but not among academics about their social meanings in the lives of girls.