girl power: "a self-reliant attitude among girls and young women manifested in ambition, assertiveness and individualism." Oxford English Dictionary, 2002
SSHIS 300: Girl Culture
Oakland, B Bldg 2
Dr. Melinda L. de Jesús
Course Description: What
does it mean to be a young woman today? What is "girl culture"?
This course, an overview of the emerging field called girls'
studies, employs an interdisciplinary feminist lens to explore
the construction and meaning of "girlhood" in contemporary
American culture, and emphasizes the following themes: identity
formation and development, education and equity, socialization,
sexuality, self-esteem, media representation, consumerism,
agency and activism, and cultural production.
Girl Culture 2016 Course Reader: Available at Green Copy, 5267 Broadway, Oakland
1. Class participation is comprised of these elements: regular attendance, active participation in class activities (small group discussions/presentations), and weekly response papers based on the assigned readings. 50%
2. One short (5-6pg) writing assignment. Each assignment must be typed and proofread. No late work will be accepted. Details TBA. 20%
3. Final research project: this project is designed to deepen your understanding of contemporary girl culture. Details to follow. Due May 5th at 12pm. 30%
Note: This class is an upper-division seminar
(not a lecture) and will require a significant time commitment
on your part to complete the required readings and writing
assignments, as well as to prepare critical, informed
contributions to each class's discussion. Be certain that you
are interested in engaging in intensive academic work prior to
enrolling. You must have completed a Cultural History course and
have junior standing to enroll.
NB: Plagiarism is a serious offense and will not
be tolerated. Be sure you are familiar with CCA's Academic
Integrity Code: <http://www.cca.edu/students/handbook/integritycode.php>
|Lynda Barry's "Girlness"
Betty Cornell's Glamour Guide for teens
On Maya Van Wagenen's Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek
The internet guide for being a perfect girl
Gender and Socialization
|Gender Spectrum: Understanding
Bae: Interrogating Girl Power: Girlhood, Postfeminism and Popular Media
Baumgardner and Richards: Feminism and Femininity
Read in class: I Am Jazz
Making Girls II:
Culture and Family
Fictions of Assimilation ...
Joan Ryan: A Girl on the Verge
Cristina Tzintuin: "Colonize This!"
Paula Astin: "Femme-Inism: Lessons from My Mother"
Ijeoma A. "Because You're A Girl"
Film: Kelly Loves Tony
AAUW Report: "How Schools Shortchange Girls"
AAUW Report: Where the Girls Are: The Facts about Gender Equity in Education
Girls' Inc: The Supergirl Dilemma
Kahente Horn-Miller: "Bring Us Back into the Dance" (in Reader)
STEM Major Choice and Gender Pay Gap (OCWW/ACCU)
Video: Sci Girls: High Tech Fashion
Video: Girl Rising excerpt (Suma's Story: Nepal)
The courage of Malala
What do girls' schools do best?
Campaign for Education: Education for Women and Girls
Room to Read: Girls' Education
Menstruation and the Body
Joan Jacobs Brumberg: "Sanitizing Puberty: The American Way to Menstruate"
Wendy Weiner: "Period Piece"
Morgan Jerkins: Who Gets to Take Part in the Menstruation Conversation?
What A Girl Wants: Pop Culture and the Princess Industrial Complex
Peggy Orenstein: Excerpt from Cinderella Ate My Daughter
due by 12:30pm, hard copy only!
Jennifer Baumgardner: "Would You Pledge Your Virginity To Your Father?"
Lalley: "Risk Factors"
Film: "The Purity Myth"
|3/14 Case Study:
GIRL CULTURE by Lauren Greenfield
Jacobs Brumberg: "Body Projects"
Sirena Riley: "The Black Beauty Myth"
Courtney Martin: "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters"
Jean Kilbourne: Killing Us Softly:4 excerpt
Jean Kilbourne's Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising's Image of Women
3/28 Case Study:
Rachel Simmons' Odd Girl Out
Rachel Simmons: "She's All That"
Lind and Irwin: "From Badness to Meanness..."
Gabrielle Moss: "Teen Mean Fighting Machine"
Film: "Mean Girls"
||Library research workshop
Annotated bibliography samples
Assessing research source quality
||Class canceled--research day
Talking Back: Girls on Girlhood
Anita Harris: "Jamming Girl Culture"
Ann Farmer: "Girls Make Noise at Rock n' Roll Summer Camps"
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank: "They've Got the Beat"
Aino Tormulainen: Finnish Girl Power
"I am an emotional creature" excerpt (4:16)
||Joan Jacobs Brumberg: "Girl Advocacy
Girls Count: A Global Investment and Action Agenda: Executive Summary
Article on Radical Monarchs
The Global Malala
Girls Discovered: Maps and Data
|5/2||Final class potluck!
||Final projects due by 12pm|
Prof. de Jesús
Girl Culture Final Project Guidelines
Due May 4, 2015
The project is designed to allow you to explore a topic related to girls/girlhood that you feel very passionate about. Your project may be submitted in any format--a scholarly research paper, a creative/visual project, or combination of the two, but to obtain full credit it must relate specifically to issues/concepts/articles discussed in class. All creative/visual projects must be accompanied by a 4-5 page essay describing the goals of the project, its research methodology, works consulted, etc. This essay must be formatted in MLA Style.
Successful projects will include the following:
1) Submission of a detailed project proposal on April 27th. The proposal should be about one page, typed, and should include a brief description (thesis, methods, sources) outlining the goals of your project. It must include a working bibliography of works consulted. Be sure to include full citations.
2) Submission of the project on May 4, 2015.
Activist projects: You may choose to structure your final paper/project around some kind of social or political activism having to do with girls. For example, you could research and/or participate in an existing local or national organization. Or, you could also draft a proposal for your own organization or activist activity. If you choose to do the latter, your project might take the form of a grant proposal, a political referendum, or a call for action. This project may be done collaboratively. Please see me ASAP to discuss this option if you’re interested.
Time Magazine: The Truth about Teen Pregnancy (9/08)
Scarletteen: Sex Education for the Real World
All Girl Army
Alternative Menstrual Products
Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health: http://www.mum.org/
the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls
In-class web-based assignment on menstruation
Directions: please work in groups answering the following questions. Assign one group member the role of notetaker for this assignment. She will represent your work to the class.
1) View one of the
following movies and discuss how the tone/themes represented
relate to Brumberg's article:
a) Molly Grows Up (1953) 14:20
b) Naturally A Girl (1974) 13:18
2) Read the following links
on alternative menstrual products. Note your group's
reactions, questions, etc.
a) Alternative Menstrual Products
b Lunapads' "Why switch to natural menstrual products?" This commercial site includes cost comparisons of natural vs. conventional menstrual products
c)Menstrual cups comparison charts (very informative site with good images and information)
d) Discuss: why are there no tampon/pad dispensers in the women's bathrooms on the Oakland campus? Care to comment on the Freedom Hygiene disposal service? (be sure to read the "Environmental" link!).
3) View 2-3 different
artists linked here. Note your group's reactions to this
Art of Menstruation from Museum of Menstruation
If your group has extra
Story of Menstruation [Disney film for Kotex] (1946) 10:16
a Girl's First Period
Midterm (assignment #1) due March 3/12 by 12pm in hard copy.
Absolutely no late essays will be accepted.
Select one of the following topics:
1) Reread the Peggy
Orenstein article in the Course Reader. Next, go to
Target, Walmart or another large retailer and explore the toys marketed
to girls (this should take about an hour). What do you find on the
shelves? What kind of play is encouraged? Do the offerings differ from
what's offered to boys? How is race/ethnicity addressed? What kinds of
toys are being selected by consumers during your study? Discuss your
observations in relation to Orenstein's work.
2) Does Brumberg's article
accurately describe the contemporary
experience of menstruation? To find out, interview a few of your
girlfriends about their memories of menarche/first menstruation, their
attitudes towards menstruation then and today, their mothers'
atttitudes, and what their culture's attitudes might be. Describe your
findings in relation to Brumberg's work.
NB: Be sure your essay is
typed, proofread and demonstrates critical
engagement with the assigned readings. It should be about 4-5 pages in length.
Web-based assignment for April 4, 2016
Select three websites from the list below and discuss what's appealing/not appealing about them, what's missing, what you'd like to see more of, etc. Be sure to note who created/manages the site. Next, rate your chosen sites according to quality of information given, ease of use and navigation, and pertinence to girls' interests and needs.
Coalition for Positive Sexuality
New Moon Girlsgirleffect.org
for girls (Girl Scouts of America)
All Girl Army111
American Girl site
In-class web assignment for March 14, 2016
This assignment requires you to complete collaborative work online in groups of three.
I suggest you bookmark this page for easy reference during this exercise.
1) Open your email program and create an email to me <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Copy the questions below into this email (you will be summarizing your findings and sending them to me upon completion of this assignment).
2) First, read/view the GIRL CULTURE photo essay.
3) Next: Open another browser window and go to the "Body Identity Issues" section in the Faculty Guide for Lauren Greenfield's GIRL CULTURE (on the left).
4) As a group, read the sections titled "Body Projects" and "Girls of Color" in addition to *one other section* that your group wants to explore (for example, "Media Messages," "Social Tyranny," "Beauty as Power," "Exhibitionism," "Sports," "Unhealthy Bodies and Minds"). Be sure to watch your time here!
After viewing and reading each Body Identity Issue page, scroll up to "Discussion Questions" and respond to the questions posed (one group of discussion questions is listed for each theme).
5) Summarize your findings and send me an email about your groups' discussions and conclusions: email@example.com.
This exercise should take an hour.
Group members (list here):
Group-selected Body identity issue:
Discussion questions for "Body Projects" and "Girls of Color"
Image and Text
What do the images and narratives reveal about girls' “body projects?” What details support your opinions?
The Ideal Female
What is the contemporary feminine ideal? What influences are informing your responses? How would your parents answer this same question?
Lillian, 19 years old states, “I look at my brother. He's sixteen, and he does not have half the shit floating around in his mind that I did when I was his age. Guys get up, roll out of bed. The farthest my brother ever has to go to get ready is maybe put in some hair gel and wash his face. That's it. Being a guy, there's so much less expectation for your looks and for what you wear.” Discuss Lillian's assertion that there are greater appearance expectations for girls than there are for boys.
What advantage exists for suppliers of “body products” such as makeup, clothing, diet aids, and plastic surgery procedures when girls’ are unhappy about their bodies?
Image and Text
What do the images and narratives reveal about girls of color and body identity issues? What details support your opinions?
Nkechi's narrative discusses cultural differences between Nigerian and American girls. Discuss her opinion that good looks are more important to American girls. Discuss her opinion that “In African American society, there is a lot of leeway as far as body type.”
The Lure of Hollywood
How has growing up in Los Angeles affected Nkechi's plans for a professional career? Her parents, who were born in Nigeria, were upset with her decision to stay in Los Angeles for college rather than attend Stanford. Discuss this issue from her perspective and from her parents' perspectives.
Bridging the Gap
Ruby's narrative discusses cultural differences between Latina and American girls and how body image is becoming increasingly more important for Latinas. Discuss the causes for this phenomenon and its implications.
Resources: **under construction**
Girls Inc. (formerly Girls Clubs of America)
Girl Power Site (US Dept of Health and Human Services)
CULTURE by Lauren Greenfield
Faculty Guide to Lauren Greenfield's Girl Culture
Joan Jacob Brumberg's "Introduction to Lauren Greenfield's Girl Culture"http://www.laurengreenfield.com/index.php?p=NTA3CQP9
Time Magazine Photo Essay for Girl Culture
Girl Power (wikipedia)
Girl Power (in OED)
Angry Little Asian Girls
Molly Grows Up: http://ia300138.us.archive.org/2/items/MollyGro1953/MollyGro1953_256kb.mp4
Growing up and liking it:
Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health: http://www.mum.org/
2007-2013 MLJ/melinda luisa de jesúsh