"Every time she bends over she pulls up her thong" Teen Girls Negotiating Discourses of Competitive, Heterosexualized Aggression
Abstract:In this paper I explore the themes of heterosexualized competition and aggression in Avril Lavigne's music video Girlfriend (2007) as representative of the violent heterosexualized politics within which girls are incited to compete in contemporary schooling and popular culture. I argue that psycho-educational discourses attempting to explain girls' aggression and bullying fail to account for the heterosexualized, classed or racialized power dynamics of social competition that organize heteronormative femininity. Then I elaborate a psychosocial approach using psychoanalytic concepts to trace how teen girls negotiate contemporary discourses of sexual aggression and competition. Drawing on findings from a study with racially and economically marginalized girls aged thirteen to fourteen attending an innercity school in South Wales, I suggest that the girls enact regulatory, classed discourses like slut to manage performances of heterosexualized aggression. However, alongside their demonstration of the impetus toward sexual regulation of one another, I show how the girls in my study are also attempting to challenge heteronormative formations of performing sexy-aggressive. Moments of critical resistance in their narratives, when they refuse to pathologize aggressive girls as mean and/or bullies, and in their fantasies, when they reject heterosexual relationships like marriage are explored.
Document Type: Research Article
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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