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Girls Today – Girls, Girl Culture and Girl Studies

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Abstract:

The history of modern girlhood is entwined with anxieties about cultural norms and cultural change that are foundational to "girlhood" and "girl culture." This essay sketches a history of discourses on girls, girlhood and girl culture as the necessary genealogical context for a subsequent discussion of the field of contemporary girl studies. It begins with historical perspectives on the 'girl of the period' from the nineteenth century, through the "girl of yesterday," the "it girl" to the post World War I period that coalesced the cultural conditions necessary for the teenager to take on iconic status. The second half of the article considers girlhood studies today—and in particular its interest in locating, describing and problematizing girls' voice and girls' agency. In a world increasingly perceived as "global," these are powerful starting points for thinking about what constitutes "girl studies" (or "girlhood studies" or "girl culture studies") today.

Keywords: GIRL CULTURE; GIRL STUDIES; GIRLHOOD; HISTORICIZATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ghs.2008.010103

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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  • WINNER: 2009 AAP/PSP PROSE AWARD FOR BEST NEW JOURNAL IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES & HUMANITIES

    RECIPIENT OF THE HIGHLY COMMENDED CERTIFICATE FOR THE ALPSP 2010 BEST NEW JOURNAL AWARD

    Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal is a peer-reviewed journal providing a forum for the critical discussion of girlhood from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, and for the dissemination of current research and reflections on girls' lives to a broad, cross-disciplinary audience of scholars, researchers, practitioners in the fields of education, social service and health care and policy makers. International and interdisciplinary in scope, it is committed to feminist, anti-discrimination, anti-oppression approaches and solicits manuscripts from a variety of disciplines.
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