Thursday, September 4, 2008

What is Girls Studies? Why Girls Studies?

Hey everyone-
This is actually my very first blog!

I came into Girls Studies with the impression that we would be focusing mostly on the socialization of girls and the development of their lives; these texts validated that thought, but expressed the subject as something even more important to throw into the academic (and especially in the Women's Studies) sphere.

All About the Girl threw me into a fit of different thoughts. I felt like the forward was written by my half-nice boss who chooses her words carefully, but only so she can intimidate other people. I'm having trouble spitting it out, but I'm pretty sure that I felt like her [Michelle Fine] making this hyper-intellectualized version of girlhood took away the purpose of the study for me. I believe that discussing these issues in an academic way is so important, but I also believe that Girls Studies is about working on these issues with young girls who are facing the issues first hand. Talking about Post-Foucaultian bathroom stalls, to me, totally disrupts the flow of positive information exchange, to a younger audience especially. I know that she is just writing about a book, and one that is awesome, but the change needs to happen with the people who know a lot about the subject and who work in fields (like writing forwards)that can make more approriate introductions to a gritty subject. Basically, I don't feel like I could hand that to a young girl and make her feel more secure about her social support system.

Allllthough-In Harris' Part 2 explanation of All About the Girl she expresses the dilemma between girls and feminism. From what I've read so far, this is the crux of the situations at hand. Even though the waves sometimes make things complicated, overall I think it's safe to say that Feminist studies address issues on race, gender, class and various other social classifications; and girls face issues with these subjects everyday. This brings up Jennifer Eisenhaur's thoughts: "She argues provocatively that the girl has traditionally been an object of feminism rather than a subject in her own right"(xxii). I think that the solution to this problem is making sure that girls as whole are absolutely the focus of discussion and then applying their lives to different subjects and ideas in order to solve the problems, feminism works to achieve that goal for young women.

All of these thoughts seem like tangents to me, but Girls Studies is a beautiful subject that is so multi-faceted and hits so close to home, it's hard to deal with the complexities and make it digestible/useful for a younger and perhaps undereducated group of young girls. The introduction of Young Femininity says it best: " That is, if we are arguing that girls negotiate their gendered identities through discourses of femininity and other categories of social difference we must also acknowledge how our own work functions in the discursive field of girlhood as fiction which creates girls as beings with specificity," (3)



۞ Lauren said...

I agree with some of the things Fine wrote, mainly that it is rare and nice to still have a space where women and girls can gather as women and girls, but I too was put off by her “hyper-intellectualized version of girlhood.” You are right in pointing out that it would be difficult to hand the book to a young girl and expect her to understand it and “feel more secure about her social support system.”

Ali said...

Yeah, I know before I was in college there's no way I would have known who Foucault was. And even now I'm not familiar enough with his work to know what a post-Focaultian confessional is!

We should write a Girls' Studies book that is accessible to girls!

niki_lc said...

I, too, think this may not be the most girl friendly reading material, but I do like the forward because I find it hysterical. Also, I feel like this book may be intended for woman to read (but ali I think we should make one for girls =] ). I took it as a jab at society’s attempt to mold girls how they want them to be, yet we go to this place just outside of societies grasp and do everything we aren’t supposed to. I loved how the author embraced it and made a joke that a bathroom is a place where women can fall into their comfortable states but still be with each other (like writing WHATEVER you want on the bathroom walls, yet peeing in a stall next to a stranger!). What made it even better was it is so true; “Rare are the spaces in which girls and women gather as girls and women.” I completely see where you are coming from but the first time I read it that’s not the impression I got, so I thought I'd share =]

p.s. i love reading everyones blogs because everyone catches different things and I feel like we learn more!

Ariel Dansky said...

Eee I love reading everyone's blogs too for the same reason!

I also loved the whole "bathroom" section of that chapter and how the author showed how something as mundane as a women's bathroom is actually the only public space that unites women and girls.

I actually didn't have a problem with the intellectualized discussion of girls in this chapter (however, I had no idea who the hell Foucault was, I just looked him up...). Of course a young girl would have no idea what to do with this book! This is an academic book focused on the study of young females, and it is geered toward women, not girls.

On the contrary, here's an example of a publication geered toward girls: