Sunday, September 6, 2009

You go Girl !!!

In my opinion and mostly what I gained from reading “Women girls and the Unfinished Work of Connection: A Critical Review of American Girl’s Studies” I think that Girl’s Studies is based on the idea of feminist women sharing their commonality with girls, finding ways to help them grow into independent free-thinking women, who in turn will help change societal and media beliefs and conceptions of women as submissive, two dimensional characteristic creatures.

The most important issues relating to Girl’s Studies are societal biases in media and schools, racism, classism, and homosexuality, fostering a connection between women and girls to learn from each other and grow, fighting adolescent depression and low self-esteem, and providing girls with strong, independent women as positive influences for young girls. Harris gives three examples in her conclusion on how to combat some of these issues beginning with a new research agenda that incorporates the multicultural nation of the United States and the conversion of that knowledge into an academic setting. Second she wants women and girls share the experiences of living within a culture that perpetuates bias and prejudices that harm us “women/girls” and shape our identities and opportunities. Lastly, Harris explains that the common cultural experience has the potential to unite women and girls as partners in the same struggle(Women girls and the Unfinished Work of Connection: A Critical Review of American Girl’s Studies p.25).

Feminism needs girl’s studies in order to learn how to implement learning in young girls so that young girls will not be forgotten in the struggle against the masculine favored patriarchal society. Girl’s studies also allow women the opportunity to understand the new struggles girls face in schools and with the media. Girl’s studies also offer a gate-way to keeping the struggles of women and girls alive allowing for societal changes and a better tomorrow.

In the reading of Queer Girls and Popular Culture, the common theme was how queer girls relate and don’t relate to the idea of lesbianism displayed in popular culture. Many of the concepts addressed in reference to popular culture can also relate to non-queer girls. For instance, on pg 9 Driver brings a discussion about how there are two dominant lesbian images within popular culture-the closet lipstick lesbian and the dykes-on-bikes type lesbian. This is much similar to the heterosexual characters in media of the good girl or bad girl. These types of images in popular culture allow girls to feel like they must pick one representation over the other. When in reality girls and women are dynamic human beings that should not be strapped to choosing polar opposites. Ultimately these two dimensional characters actually isolate the majority of girls who don’t fit--leaving girls feeling isolated and depressed. Besides characteristics sexuality is a very important issue for adolescent girls. Queer Girls focuses on specifically girls that desire girls, however sexuality is an important issue for all girls in adolescence. For instance, on p. 34-35 Driver cites Liz Frost who writes, “Schooled by almost all available sources that it is their prime duty to be as visually attractive as possible—the currently fashionable ideas of “girl power” being one more inducement to girls to package their bodies to maximize sexual allure—girls are apportioned to responsibility for controlling a male sexual “drive” which they have been warned is threatening, if not actively dangerous. “Look Sexy”, “act sexy”…”but don’t be sexy.” So all girls alike have a contradictory sexual attitude that they adopt, which is look as sexy as possible to attract as much attention, but do not act on those sexual desires. These notions of girl sexuality are not naturally how girls should be, but rather the interpretations and fantasies of others (35).

My interpretation of queer girls and popular culture is, whether girls want to admit it or not, I think they are very much influenced by popular culture as a means of creating their identities. I think it is obvious with their contradictory explanations of their self, and identification. Just as Liz Frost explained, the media’s interpretations of girl sexuality is contradictory, and so too are the girls definitions of self.

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