Reading girlhood

Opportunities for social literacy

Authored by: Dawn H. Currie

The Routledge Companion to Media and Gender

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415527699
eBook ISBN: 9780203066911
Adobe ISBN: 9781135076955


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It has been more than 60 years since the French existentialist and feminist Simone de Beauvoir famously pronounced “One is not born, but rather becomes, woman” (2010 [1949]: 293). Following her lead, second-wave feminists asked: How does one born female become a “woman”? Establishing and distinguishing itself as a field of inquiry during the 1980s, over the decades feminist cultural studies has taken up this question. In North America, the UK, and elsewhere, researchers looked for—and found—scripts for womanhood in commercial media. Magazines produced for girls and women, in particular, have been fruitful sites for research on “femininity” as a sign through which idealized womanhood is normalized.

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