Growing Up Girls: Popular Culture and the Construction of Identity

Growing Up Girls: Popular Culture and the Construction of Identity

Growing Up Girls: Popular Culture and the Construction of Identity

Growing Up Girls: Popular Culture and the Construction of Identity

Synopsis

"The intent of this book is to help us better understand the complex relationship between girls and their culture. Informed by a broad range of theoretical perspectives and employing a variety of methodologies, the essays in this collection address the ways that mainstream culture "instructs" girls on how to become a woman - the ways in which the culture approves of "growing up girls." Specifically, these essays examine the messages mainstream culture gives girls about romance, sexuality, life experiences, body image, gender and culture identity, and the way girls themselves negotiate these messages." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

In the late 1970s, feminist cultural studies scholar Angela McRobbie first observed how little of the scholarship on youth culture in Britain focused on teenage girls. In particular, she singled out seminal works on youth subcultures, Paul Willis's Learning to Labour and Dick Hebdige's Subculture, both of which virtually ignored teenage girls in the subcultures they studied. McRobbie's work, which brings together feminist and cultural theories, attempts to transcend this omission, and has paved the way for a growing cadre of feminist cultural studies scholars focusing on the culture of girls.

Cultural studies scholars are not the only ones who originally ignored adolescent females. The history of child and adolescent development research and theory in the United States is also a history of the development of boys. In her ground-breaking work, In a Different Voice, Carol Gilligan begins by acknowledging that influential theories of child and adolescent development -- those advanced by Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg, for example -- are based on male scholars studying male youth. It is problematic, she argues, to apply such theories to both male and female youth, since they often develop and mature in different ways.

With the publication of In a Different Voice in 1982, scholars in psychology and education began to focus on the distinctive development of adolescent girls. The work of Gilligan and her colleagues has been instrumental in shifting the focus away from adolescent development in general (as defined by boys) and onto the unique experience of adolescent girl development. Thanks to the work of both Gilligan and McRobbie, scholarly analysis of girls and girl culture has increased dramatically in the past two decades. This book seeks to contribute to the dialogue.

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