This first issue of Girlhood Studies in 2020 brings together a collection of articles and reviews that pose, as a whole, critical questions about the ways in which conventional yet imaginative textual genres such as literature, film, and comics can sometimes line up in fascinating ways with the imaginative texts of space and place in the metro underground transport network of Helsinki or the farming communities of Scotland.
We open the issue with “Queer Girlhoods in Contemporary Comics: Disrupting Normative Notions” by Mel Gibson in which she considers two contemporary comics, Ms. Marvel and Lumberjanes “that offer diverse images of young people embracing affiliations going beyond family and nation.” Then Stephanie Russo, in “Contemporary Girlhood and Anne Boleyn in Young Adult Fiction” considers several Young Adult novels about Anne Boleyn in order to “explore the relevance to contemporary teenage girls of a woman who lived and died 500 years ago.” Still on the topic of girl's literature, Dawn Sardella-Ayres and Ashley N. Reese in “Where to from Here? Emerging Conversations on Girls’ Literature and Girlhood,” in “seek[ing] to articulate a genre theory-centered definition of girls’ literature,” consider the girl's bildungsroman in English-language North American girls’ literature “within a framework of genre as social action.”
In her discussion of “girls’ and non-binary young people's experiences of unwelcome intergenerational encounters in the Helsinki metro underground transport network,” Heta Mulari, in “Emotional Encounters and Young Feminine Choreographies in the Helsinki Metro,” investigates how they “make meaning” of these encounters. In a move from Finland to Scotland, Fiona G. Menzies and Ninetta Santoro in “Farmers Don't Dance: The Construction of Gender in a Rural Scottish School” examine “the tensions [girls] experience as they negotiate a feminine identity in a rural space constructed and described as masculine.” Then, in “Multi-ethnic Girls’ Social Positional Identities in Educational Transitions,” Solveig Roth and Dagny Stuedahl “examine the case history of a young multi-ethnic Norwegian girl … to show how her self-understanding of positionings within her educational transitions illustrates how gendered expectations in a Norwegian context influence girls’ future trajectories.”
Shara Crookston, in “Hot-for-Teacher”: Statutory Rape or Postfeminism in Pretty Little Liars? argues “that in the era of #Metoo, the exploration of power in heterosexual romantic relationships on television shows aimed at adolescent girl audiences” is crucial. In the final article, “Space, Gender, and Identity in Sciamma's Girlhood and Arnold's Fish Tank” Marie Puysségur considers how “the spatial motifs related to identity that circulate throughout [these] films establish a regime of flux, ambiguity, and reversibility that contributes to a depiction of female adolescence as unfixed and unsettled.
Samantha Poulos, in “Consuming Katniss: Spectacle and Spectatorship in The Hunger Games” reviews The Hunger Games: Spectacle, Risk and the Girl Action Hero by Catherine Driscoll and Alexandra Heatwole (2018) and we close this issue with “America's Favorite Doll? Conflicting Discourses of Commodity Activism,” a review by Diana Leon-Boys of Emilie Zaslow's Playing with America's Doll: A Cultural Analysis of the American Girl Collection (2017).
Unlike typical Special Issues in which there is a clear thematic area under investigation, the articles in this unthemed collection come together in a more serendipitous way and we are excited to see the interplay between and among them. We thank the contributors and, of course, the reviewers for their interest and dedication.