Monday, September 7, 2009

Girls' Studies because...

Girl Studies because…

Girl’s studies because today’s girls are tomorrow’s mothers. Girl’s studies because if that is not enough to validate the subject, they are the creators, business women, and activists of tomorrow. We study girls so that women today can possibly find some peace in their bad memories of oppression, disrespect, and subjugation; also to prevent this from happening more severely in the future. As a society that tends to value the future therefore makes a point to constantly be improving, the area of girl’s studies is progressing along with it, though there is always room for more attention to this essential research. Though what does not seem to be progressing is the media’s portrayal of girls. In the age of Disney, American media is full of formulaic representations of adolescent girls. They deal with issues that are supposed to exemplify typical experiences of a young girl and make a huge impact on the way girl’s approach and deal with similar concerns. The image that girls are expected to follow is not only unrealistic and unattainable but harmful, in drastic ways that we tend to devalue because of the sensitivity of the subject; such as rape, eating disorders, and psychological problems unfathomable and inescapable.
“Women, Girls, and the Unfinished Work of Connection: A Critical Review of American Girls’ Studies” explores the recent findings of critical research done in the field of girls’ studies. This is great because it illustrates how the girl power trend of recent years is more than just trend, it paved the way for progressive and insightful research regarding the impact of societal constructs, media exposure, and current practices on the mind’s and bodies of today’s young women, as well as bridging the intergenerational gap in the analysis. Today’s women are yesterday’s girl and today’s girls are the women shaping our future. It is all related, and as the text says, if we can learn from today’s women and instruct them on how they can make things better for their younger counterparts then we can finally start making some real strides towards cohesiveness and compassion.
The perspective Queer Girls appropriates is a fresh and comprehensive theoretical approach to the issue of girls’ experience and interaction with cultural productions such as books, media, and internet. Driver does not approach media as the enemy but rather as a tool girls can use and hone to explore their own identities and challenge the status quo. The book applies to all types of people, gay, straight, or unlabeled since the issues are so relevant. It is important to analyze girl and the study of them in different concentrations because of the exclusivity most research has taken thus far.
The book also examines the issue of young girls as sex symbols and the severity of this disturbing fascination.
“The sexuality of girls is approached through a class-inflected oedipal fantasy, aligning girls as object s of the desire of daddy figures. Girls are not passively situated but are seen to actively invest in such oedipal narratives with desires for transgressing the material constraints of working class life. Within this perspective, girls use popular culture to elaborate defenses, to fulfill wishes, to unfold desires, and to forge identifications in ways that reproduce and also push against the limitations of their socioeconomic worlds” (35).
Girls’ sexuality is a taboo subject in our culture and this silencing comes with a price. Since we do not want to communicate about and with girls regarding their bodies and sexuality, we are creating a disgusting and unnecessary hushed obsession with them and their budding development. By keeping their desires and choices under wraps we are not acknowledging girls’ validity as human beings, and when something is viewed more as object than an autonomous being worthy of value and respect is when we are paving the way for child molestation, abuse, and disregard. But girls are people too! They deserve to be heard, educated, and respected. Not used up and left for the dogs; this is why feminism is necessary and relevant today. Don’t let anyone tell you feminism is dead or no longer needed. Until girls, women, boys, men, and all those in between are treated equally and with the respect they deserve, it will be a necessary field of study and a vital belief system.

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