Girlhood

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jennymoore
Words 1029
Pages 5
SOCI2810
Lecture 4
September 28th, 2015

Public Anxiety AND Cultural Fascination of girls/girlhood
Last Week:

- Theorizing that says girl’s live in an externally hostile world
- Splinters their authentic selves. Attack self-esteem
- Result is girls lose their authentic voices. Can’t live up to dominant femininities
- “Ophelia” framework emerges
- See it in programs policies, popular culture and media for girls

From Vulnerable to Mean
- From the 1990s “Ophelia” vulnerable girl to the early 2000s: “mean girl” or “bad girl”
- Who are they and why the focus on “mean girls” in 2000s?
- “Mean girls” commit violence – ranging from indirect and verbal aggression to direct and physical violence
- “Discovery” of girls’ aggression led to explosion of

Girls, Relationships, Popularity
- For writers including Simmons and Wiseman, popularity is a process that includes a number of positions within girls’ cliques:
- Queen bee who controls and instills fear in other girls
- Wiseman: girls’ friendship almost cult-like orgs
- She helps girls understand privilege and stop exclusion
- “Mean Girls” (2004) loosely based on Wiseman’s books

3 of Many Explanations They Offer for “Mean Girls”
➢ Naturalization of ‘girl’ category and girlhood:
- While these scholars recognize a ‘problem’ with girls’ aggression, they argue that many girls have ‘successfully’ passed through this crisis time to become responsible adults, mothers.
- “Don’t worry. Just a phase.”
- What are the consequences of this type of explanation?

This explanation relies on understanding girlhood as a universal, biological stage rather than socio-culturally constructed in historical and material contexts that are made invisible.

➢ Mean Girls
- Cultural explanation for ‘mean girl’ behaviour
- “Nothing wrong with cliques...”
- Rather, see ‘cliques’ as a way of negotiating, a strategy…...

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