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The Girl Power Movement and Feminism

The following discussion of the "girl power movement" and feminism took
place on WMST-L in October/November 2000.  For many more WMST-L files now
available on the Web, see the WMST-L File Collection.
Date: Sat, 28 Oct 2000 21:57:51 -0400
From: James Thurmond <james.thurmond @ WMICH.EDU>
Subject: girl power and feminism
I have a student this semester who wants to research the relationship between
the "girl power movement" and feminism.  I was wondering if anyone knew of
articles on this issue already out there that she might want to look at.

Thanks - Amy
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000 22:46:11 -0500
From: Vera Whisman <vwhisman @ ITHACA.EDU>
Subject: Re: girlpower
I have no academic sources to recommend on this topic.
However, if your student is interested in seeing how the
girlpower theme has been coopted, I'd suggest she take a
look at how toys are now being marketed to girls.  Especially
the ubiquitous Barbie, whose new slogan is "It's a great time
to be a girl."
If she'd like to see these ads and other similar ones, she can
watch Nickelodeon weekday mornings before 9:00am, and weekday
evenings between 5:00pm and 8:00pm (Eastern times).
Best I can tell, babydoll ads still look pretty much like they
always did.  But Barbie, Gap, and a few other projects are
clearly (and atrociously!) using some kind of "impowerment"
concept now.

Mmm, let me know if you'd like to hear my analysis of "Rugrats"!

Vera Whisman, Ph.D.
Sociology and Women's Studies
Ithaca College
vwhisman  @  ithaca.edu
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000 16:04:08 -0800
From: Jennifer Burke <one_thalia @ YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: girlpower
"Academic" sources on girlpower are small (but
growing) in number.  I'm more familiar with girl zine
culture and there are a few sources in that area:

Green, Karen and Tristan Taormino, Eds.  1997.  A
Girl's Guide to Taking Over the World: Writings from
the Girl Zine Revolution.

Sutton, Laurel A.  1999.  "All Media are Created
Equal: Do-It-Yourself Identity in Alternative
Publishing."  In The Gendered Self in Discourse.  Mary
Bucholtz, et al., Eds.

Duncombe, Stephen.  1997.  Notes From the Underground:
Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture.  (short
discussion on riot grrrl)

Duncan, Barbara.  Cyberfeminsm, Zines, n'Grrls:

Scott, Krista.  "Girls Need Modems!" Cyberculture and
Women s Ezines. http://krista.tico.com/mrp.html

Sherrie A. Inness.  She has numerous edited books
looking at girl culture.

..And I would also recommend searching the web--some
sites include:


also, sidney eve matrix at the u of minnesota has a
web syllabus for a course entitled, "badgirls,
cyberchicks, and postfeminists in US pop culture",

and there are literally thousands of personal girl
zines on-line. Simply type in 'girl zine' in your
favorite search engine and off you go...

Jennifer Burke
burkejl  @  hotmail.com
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000 20:23:44 -0500
From: Lisa Johnson <ljohnson @ westga.edu>
Subject: girl power & feminism
MANIFESTA by Jennifer Baumgardner & Amy Richards examines the girl power
movement in the context of feminist movement, distinguishing carefully
between the two, arguing, in fact, that the movement to revive Ophelia
reflects grown women's sense of having lost selfhood during adolescence
more than it accurately reflects contemporary girl interests and
experiences. They argue that feminists need to listen to what girls want
and like, even if it galls us to hear what they have to say.

Germaine Greer addresses girl power (e.g. Spice Girls and other cultural
cooptations of the girl power movement) as pathetic, in THE WHOLE WOMEN,
devoting a whole chapter to castigating both "bimbo feminism" (that's us
twenty-somethings) and girl culture as manifested in British teen mags.
Her condescending tone exemplifies the criticisms made by MANIFESTA of
second wavers' inability to listen well to girls. (Same goes for Phyllis

Other good resources on girl culture and feminism include Emily
(is that the right title?).

Lisa Johnson
Visiting Assistant Professor
Dept. of English & Philosophy
State University of West Georgia
Carrollton, GA 30118
ljohnson  @  westga.edu

"And watching Monte ride off through the long grains, I thought about
the way we invent ourselves through our stories, and in a similar way,
how the stories we tell put walls around our lives.  And I think that
may be true about cowboys.  That there really isn't much truth in my
saying cowboys are my weakness; maybe, after all this time, it's just
something I've learned to say."

*Pamela Houston, "Cowboys Are My Weakness"
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000 22:58:04 -0500
From: Krista-Scott-Dixon <kristasd @ HOME.COM>
Subject: Re: girlpower
I've actually moved this site to a different domain. This paper 
["Girls Need Modems!"] can now be found at 
http://www.stumptuous.com/mrp.html .  Unfortunately some of the
links to the zines no longer work, but you get the general idea.

mistresskrista  @  home.com
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2000 10:57:28 -0500
From: Kimberly Cordingly <Cordingly @ JAN.ICDI.WVU.EDU>
Subject: Re: girlpower
There's a section in Wendy Hesford's book _Framing Identities -
Autobiography and the Politics of Pedagogy_ that talks about
"paradoxical writing spaces" in relationship to grrrl 'zines. (It begins
on page 45.)  I think it would be useful because she's situating how
young women describe themselves (as grrls) within a discussion of
positioning within various 'identity' categories.
Kim Cordingly
kcording  @  wvu.edu
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2000 00:08:46 -0000
From: Pippa <purplestar @ UKONLINE.CO.UK>
Subject: Re: girl power & feminism
There is a wonderful article which is really relevant to this
discussion at:


The article is entitled, "A call for young women to get mad!" by
Delanie Woodlock

Hope this is useful,
pippa willitts, purplestar  @  ukonline.co.uk



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