Friday, September 4, 2009

Do You Know What It Feels Like For a Girl???? No, because the world has become male-phobic

Defining Girls’ Studies

Girls’ studies is the examination of girls’ lives. While there are universal similarities in girls, their lives “vary by geography, economics, and sexual orientation, among other distinctions” (Harris 21). The study of girls focuses heavily on the “gender bias in institutions and… popular culture” (Harris 21). They are the foundation for which girls’ studies exists. From here, we can analyze girls’ discourse and get to the heart of what makes them tick.
Pop culture is the heart and soul of girls’ studies, if you think about it. From how they act to what they think, girls succumb to pop culture’s infiltration of their minds – subconsciously even. They become members of this unique club where impressions of life become deep seeded into their impressionable, young brains.

Agency over Queer versus Girl

While reading Chapter 2 in “Queer Girls” I found myself annoyed at the generic acceptance of the term “queer.” Driver makes it seem as if having a hollow “queer” enables gays versus a defined term which would – I’m assuming she would think this – disable them. She writes that “using the term ‘queer’ does not reflect any preexisting identity but rather enables her to generate a ‘hodge-podge’ of styles and relations that elude normative behavior” (Drive 40). Using hollowed terms that allow for independent definitions may be an exceptional way to meld the homo and hetero world together.
Queer girls may have a harder time relating to our homocentric way of life. I understand that. And in the absence of relatability, queer girls begin to define themselves independently; they take the term “queer” and fill it with themselves. On the other hand, the term “girl” is already filled, defined. Maybe self-definition of “queer” helps give them agency over “girl,” a pre-determined identity. I’d be interested in your interpretation of this theory.

Girls’ Studies is Needed

Girls can get lost in the sea of technology, pop culture, and the media. Someone needs to educate these girls on how those “waves” will affect them. But those are not the only things that impact a girl’s life; they has to worry about their environment, race, economics, family, etc.. These other factors equally determine the lives of girls. And while pop culture, media, and technology have a huge impact on girls, we must not lump them into a singular category; they are as varied as snowflakes. There are similarities – maybe even common themes – within the collective group, but each girl has a unique story.
The shift from psychological to a more social interest in girls’ studies has reinvigorated the topic. Like Harris’ book mentions, “the crisis” is different than it was in the early 90’s. Now, we are faced with a world where girls are quickly becoming women, losing much of their youth to the pressures society places on them. I’d be interested in your thought regarding what I just mentioned.


Lindsey said...

I like your idea, that identifying as "queer" gives girls a whole identity to shape as they see fit.
However, I think arriving at that point could be quite a struggle for many girls, mostly for the reasons mentioned in the reading (lack of access to media, disbelief from parents, dealing with other students, etc etc etc).

Michael said...

I think we don't give girls enough credit for being able to think for themselves.

Lindsey said...

No, we don't a lot of girls are brilliant and active thinkers. However, at 12-13, I don't think most girls know who they really are yet. They might have a general idea, but still struggle with family/friends/media/self in an attempt to find themselves and their values.