Are Super Girls Super for Girls? Rebecca C. Hains, Ph.D. Salem State College, Massachusetts, USA
Girl Power suggests… • Girls are strong and capable • Playing with femininity can be empowering • Supports all things that are girlish
But, Girl Power therefore… • Capitulates to dominant ideas about femininity • Is progressive and regressive at the same time
Research • Fieldwork in suburbs of major east coast U.S. city • Two groups of girls: • African-American • Caucasian • Girls ages 8-11 • Individual interviews • Regular group interviews in after-care programs • Talked with girls’ family members, educators • Used feminist cultural studies perspective
Physical Appearance On Screen Kylie: “She looked ugly. Her muscles made her ugly and her voice made her sound ugly.” A girl named Alex (Totally Spies)becomes muscular in the episode “The Incredible Bulk”
Physical Appearance On Screen Zoe: “I think they looked weird because how small the wings were, and how high their socks were…” One of the characters on Disney’s W.I.T.C.H.
Physical Appearance On Screen Blossom (Powerpuff Girls) gets a REALLY bad haircut in “The Mane Event”
Physical Appearance On Screen Angela: “They shouldn’t have opened their mouth so they wouldn’t eat any cookies and they wouldn’t get fat.” Clover (left, Totally Spies) gets REALLY fat in “Passion Patties”
Are lessons just for little kids? Angela: “The cartoons I watch don’t have a point to the show. [They’re not like] The Wiggles.”
Are lessons just for little kids? KYLIE: “The lesson is never to go into somebody else’s lab, and don’t create something that’s dumb.” The story of Bunny, the fourth Powerpuff Girl, is supposed to teach a lesson: don’t judge people too quickly.
Physical Appearance in Everyday Life ANGELA: “I want to be like my dad, because he’s skinny, but he eats so much—I don’t ever see him eat any fruit—or vegetables. But he’s so skinny.” LEFT: What Angela wishes she looked like. RIGHT: What Angela thinks she looks like.
Physical Appearance in Everyday Life Kylie’s drawing
Contact Rebecca C. Hains Salem State College 352 Lafayette St. Salem, Massachusetts, USA 01970 email@example.com 978-542-7411