Young Adult Girls and Literature


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Young Adult Girls and Literature

  1. 1. Young Adult Girls and Literature LIB 617 Research in Young Adult Literature Fall 2008
  2. 2. Girls as teenagers <ul><li>Excerpt from A Therapist's Guide to Teenage Girls : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For girls, adolescence poses a unique set of challenges.  Sports, education, and career still reflect traditional gender lines, and girls are expected to stay on one side while boys stay on the other.  If girls fail to play by society's rules, she sufferers ridicule, mockery, and labels regarding her sexual orientation. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. What are the biggest problems for teen girls today? <ul><li>Let them tell you. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In voices that ring with hope and pain, girls describe the search for identity and the pain of exclusion. “There is a pressure to act in a certain way, dress a certain way, and look a certain way,” says a 15-year-old Asian American girl from Massachusetts. “When girls don’t meet these ‘qualifications,’ they get teased or ridiculed.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Voices of a Generation : Teenage Girls on Sex, School, and Self (1999) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. More Independent, Yet Lacking Self Esteem <ul><li>Teenage girls today are more independent and see greater opportunities available to them than their baby boomer parents did at their age, according to a survey of health educators by The Vagisil Women’s Health Center (SM). Yet, these same girls also have less self-confidence and weaker self-images than their parents’ generation </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. And then there’s Alpha Girl <ul><li>Daughters of the Revolution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Part of the first generation that is reaping the full benefits of the women's movement, today's American girl is maturing with a new sense of possibility and psychological emancipation. Dr. Kindlon provides us with an in-depth portrait of the alpha girls born leader who is ready to explode into adulthood and make her mark on the world and, by her example, serve as an inspiration for women everywhere. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. A website for teen girls <ul><ul><li> is a leading online community and content site for teenage girls. It contains stories, games and interactive content produced with an independent editorial voice. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. what is gURL about? <ul><li>gURL is a different approach to the experience of being a teenage girl. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We are committed to discussing issues that affect the lives of girls age 13 and up in a nonjudgmental, personal way. Through honest writing, visuals and liberal use of humor, we try to give girls a new way of looking at subjects that are crucial to their lives. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Please see our note to parents about that. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Choosing books for girls <ul><li>Amelia Bloomer Project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>After searching through hundreds of current titles, the Amelia Bloomer Project of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association honors 30 titles for the fifth annual Amelia Bloomer list. The criteria used by the Amelia Bloomer Committee in selecting books include: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>•  Significant feminist content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>•  Excellence in writing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>•  Appealing format </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>•  Age appropriateness for young readers </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Appropriate for Bloomer? <ul><li>Several key markers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>•  Would the story [for fiction] change if the protagonist were male instead of female? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>•  Does the material show an awareness of gender-based inequalities with action to change these? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>•  Do females blaze new trails for themselves and those who follow them? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>•  Do females use power for purposeful action and empowering others? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>•  Is the character [or subject of informational books] true to herself? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>•  Do girls and women take on nontraditional roles? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2006 Amelia Bloomer List </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>She’s just a New York City girl living with her artist mom… NEWS FLASH: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that’s why a limo meets her at the airport!) </li></ul><ul><li>DOWNER: Dad can’t have any more kids. (So there’s no heir to the throne.) </li></ul><ul><li>SHOCK OF THE CENTURY: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material. </li></ul><ul><li>THE WORST PART: Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmère, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne. </li></ul>A “typical” girl book series?
  11. 11. Best Books for Teenage Girls? <ul><li>An Listmania list by “lopurplestar11” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Princess Diaries Four-Book Set (Princess Diaries; Princess in the Spotlight; Princess In Love; Princess in Waiting)  by Meg Cabot </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gutsy Girls: Young Women Who Dare  by Tina Schwager </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>About a Boy  by Nick Hornby </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bend It Like Beckham (Bite) (Bite S.)  by Narinder Dhami </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Tree Grows in Brooklyn  by Betty Smith </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>“ The Sisterhood is ultimately about friendship. It’s about loving the people around you in an unconditional way. Sometimes that means being honest and challenging with your friends—saying the hard things rather than taking the easy way. It’s also about receiving that kind of love with grace.” </li></ul>
  13. 13. A more “girly” book?
  14. 14. A companion book <ul><li>“ . . . a terrific little bomb of a book for girls in the 8-to-11-years-old range. It’s set up in an old-school Boy Scout Manual fashion, but is filled with up-to-the-minute good advice, and plenty of pleasant distractions besides. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Whisky Prajer </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. YA Lit schizophrenic? <ul><li>Emily Nussbaum: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Young-adult literature has always had a split personality. On the front shelf are books that adults hope girls will read: dramas with spunky heroines and melodramas with a moral. But push open the secret compartment, and you find the books girls read on the sly (even girls who don’t usually read): Forever Amber and Judy Blume’s Forever (especially the “Ralph” scene). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Psst, Serena is a slut. Pass it on </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Books with bite for girls only? <ul><li>As Shakespeare knew, love burns high when thwarted by obstacles. In Twilight , an exquisite fantasy by Stephenie Meyer, readers discover a pair of lovers who are supremely star-crossed. Bella adores beautiful Edward, and he returns her love. But Edward is having a hard time controlling the blood lust she arouses in him, because—he’s a vampire. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Review from Amazon reproduced on Stephenie Meyer’s Reviews for Twilight page </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. YA Girls’ Literacies <ul><li>FINDERS, Margaret J. Just Girls: Hidden Literacies and Life in Junior High . New York: Teachers College Press, 1997. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Finders provides a rich portrait of adolescent girls in middle school--the “social queens” and the “tough cookies.” She follows the girls, focusing on what they read and write--not just school-sanctioned activities but also the important “hidden literacies”--signing yearbooks, writing notes, bathroom graffiti, and reading teen ‘zines. She interviews and interacts with the girls in and out of the classroom, on sleepovers, mall visits, and other recreational activities. Highlighting the importance of friendship, family, and social networks in girls’ sense of themselves, she suggests that literacy plays an important role in maintaining friendship groups and in the construction of self. The book questions many common assumptions about early adolescence, most importantly the “good girl” role so often assigned to and reinforced in female students. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Book reviews ,  Adolescence , 00018449, Spring 1997, Vol. 32, Issue 125 </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. The importance of a “ literate underlife ”