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Girls' Media and Popular Culture

Women, Gender, And Sexuality Studies 3221 - Spring 2020

This course will analyze girls as cultural consumers, mediated representations, cultural producers, and subjects of social anxiety. Readings will cover a range of media that have historically been associated with girlhood, including not only film, television, and digital media, but also dolls, magazines, literature, and music. We will explore what role these media texts and technologies have had on the socialization of girls, the construction of their gendered identities, and the attempts at regulation of their behavior, sexuality, and appearance. Although the course will focus on girlhood media since the 1940s, we will consider how constructions of girlhood identity have changed over time as well as interrogate how girlhood identity intersects with race, sexuality, and class. The course will examine important debates and tensions arising in relation to girls' media. We will evaluate concerns and moral panics about girls and their relationship to or perceived overinvestment in media and compare and contrast this with accounts of girls as active media consumers and producers. We will critically analyze how girls have been understood to negotiate agency in relation to commercialized culture - how they have been represented as wielders of "girl power," as passive or active consumers, as fans, and as media producers themselves. We will also analyze attempts to intervene in girls' media and popular culture and consider how these interventions have attempted to empower, inspire, or regulate girls or how they have worked to reinforce or challenge gendered understandings of childhood.

Section 01

Girls' Media and Popular Culture
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