Saturday, September 5, 2009

Young Girls + Media Outlets = Confusion

Girls Studies Issues

What is Girls Studies based on your current knowledge and the introductory readings?

Girls’ studies encompass the environmental factors that affect girls throughout their development. This time period spans from young girlhood to young adult woman. Some of the issues that are relevant to girls’ studies are mostly psychosocial and academic “crisis” faced by adolescent girls (Ward 15). These things can be relationships, friends, school, social activities, and interests. Deeper within girls’ studies, topics such as gender equity in American classrooms, media literacy, overrepresentation of “white girlhood,” and other demographics such as the experiences of “queer girls” are all relevant to this field of study (Ward).

Understanding of the Issues

Discuss your understanding of the issues involved in Girls Studies. Why Girls Studies?

As others have mentioned, there are many issues involved in Girls Studies. One of the most interesting is the definition of what it means to be a girl. The media and other social groups often portray girls with a clear-cut definition: someone who likes the color pink, is attracted to boys, non-athletic, loves to cook, clean, look pretty, and gossip with friends. This stereotype is often-times not the case, leading many young girls to grow up confused, feeling different and out of place.

This feeling of separation is for the majority, because of the mainstream media. A form of media has been in existence since the beginning of civilization and this device has developed strong skills of manipulating people and their opinions. A girl growing up without many friends or opportunities to find other role-models similar to her could have a very hard time figuring some things out. Girls’ studies are necessary in order to decipher the inconsistencies between these real and manufactured criteria.

Queer Girls Issues

Queer Girls seeks to theorize about the relationship between queer girls and popular culture—how popular culture impacts their identity and how queer girls can subvert and challenge popular representations (or lack thereof). Discuss these ideas as applicable to both queer girls and non-queer girls.

Queer Girls and Popular Culture by Susan Driver defines “queer” in “queer girls” as the following: “While queer is used to specify particular girls and their desires, it is more readily deployed to encompass an interchange between cultural signs and socially embodied subjects, mobilizing the term queer as a verb rather than securing it as a noun” (Driver 2). This definition is important because it defines “queer girls” not just by sexual desire, but by the alienation that some girls feel when they do not desire things that label them as a “girl” through the eyes of the media. This finding brings together queer girls and non-queer girls with a common problem to explore—the problem is that these girls get mixed signals from social outlets as to who they really are.

The Need For Girls Studies

How does the prevalence of popular culture in our media-driven world provoke a need for Girls Studies (or does it?)

Girls studies is necessary because of the mixed-information that is subject to young girls today. Often times it can be confusing to know you are a girl but not be attracted to the things that are “girl-like.” This is where girl studies come in, girls’ studies explain that it is okay to be a girl and not always be “girl-like.”

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