Monday, September 8, 2008

What is Girls Studies?

So, what is Girls Studies? After reading the texts, I have realized that I don't quite, as of yet, know exactly what Girls Studies entails. I know that it is the study of girls. (Clearly.) I know that it is a new and emerging field that delves into the topics of girls' development and experiences. I also know that, despite its recent development, it already contains a complex analysis of race, class, neoliberalism, globalization and other identities and factors. Beyond that, I don't know much yet.

Before enrolling in the course, I skimmed my roommate's textbooks and saw frequent mentions of the Spice Girls. (Okay, so I might have only been looking at 2 essays or something. I was flipping through.) "Okay," I thought, "so, we're going to explore a lot of pop culture stuff from the '90s." I couldn't decide at the time how I felt about this. "So is Girls Studies all pop culture stuff?" "Is it feminist?" "Is it about 'girlyness'?" "Wait, there's another Spice Girls reference!" I realized, after enrolling in the course and actually reading the texts that there is way more to the field than that and that, also, there happens to be critical analysis of the relationship between corporate pop culture and girlyness. (For the record, I was a Spice Girls fan and also really enjoy certain aspects of "girly pop culture." No bashing here! How many times can I mention the Spice Girls in one paragraph? Hmm!) I also realized that while Girls Studies is a field coming from a strong feminist perspective, not all of girl culture and experience is feminist, so not all that I read or learn about will be feminist -- and to set that aside and take it for what it is. Some of the issues that I saw that we will be exploring are stereotypes of girls, girls' sexuality, eating disorders and the media.

I am eager to learn more about the field and be challenged. I realized while reading that my image of girlhood matched with the privileged one -- the experience of growing up white, upper-middle class, able-bodied, heterosexual, and cisgendered. Of course, this is not the experience of millions of girls whose voices and experiences have been silenced even when those previously mentioned are given a space. I look forward to learning more about the experiences of girlhood as tied to a multitude of identities. I also look forward to the fun of this class. I am excited about the books and films that we are using and the discussions to come!


Anonymous said...

I too was a little frightened that we would be having a Spice Girls 101 session at some point (I too was a major Spice Girls fan). But I think I am also most excited to learn about different perspectives of growing up, because my experience is fairly similair to yours. I am looking most forward to looking more indepth into the identities of grrrlz today and learning more about their relationships. Especially the relationships of the priveleged grrrlz and the less priveleged grrrlz.

Sarah Wissig said...

I think seeing the phrase "Girl Power" everywhere added to that perception/concern. Although, the concept of Girl Power is definitely worth exploring and I must say "Grrrl Power" is a nice spin.

Can we have a Ramona book reading session? haha