1st Edition

Geographies of Girlhood
Identities In-between

ISBN 9780805846744
Published February 1, 2005 by Routledge
624 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

Geographies of Girlhood: Identities In-Between explores how adolescent girls come to understand themselves as female in this culture, particularly during a time when they are learning what it means to be a woman and their identities are in-between that of child and adult, girl and woman. It illuminates the everyday realities of adolescent girls and the real issues that concern them, rather than what adult researchers think is important to adolescent girls. The contributing authors take seriously what girls have to say about themselves and the places and discursive spaces that they inhabit daily. Rather than focusing on girls in the classroom, the book explores adolescent female identity in a myriad of kid-defined spaces both in-between the formal design of schooling, as well as outside its purview--from bedrooms to school hallways to the Internet to discourses of cheerleading, race, sexuality, and ablebodiness. These are the geographies of girlhood, the important sites of identity construction for girls and young women.

This book is situated within the fledgling field of Girls Studies. All chapters are based on field research with adolescent girls and young women; hence, the voices of girls themselves are primary in every chapter. All of the authors in the text use the notion of liminality to theorize the in-between spaces and places of schools that are central to how adolescent girls construct a sense of self. The focus of the book on the fluidity of femininity highlights the importance of race, class, sexual orientation, and other salient features of personal identity in discussions of how girls construct gendered identities in different ways.

Geographies of Girlhood: Identities In-Between challenges scholars, professionals, and students concerned with gender issues to take seriously the everyday concerns of adolescent girls. It is recommended as a text for education, sociology, and women's studies courses that address these issues.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. P.J. Bettis, N.G. Adams, Landscapes of Girlhood. Part I: Before School. D.E. Merten, Barbies, Bases, and Beer: The Role of the Home in Junior High Girls' Identity Work. L. Jewett, Power Beads, Body Glitter, and Backseat Bad-Asses: Girls, Power, and Position on the School Bus. Part II: At School. D.M. Shinew, D.T. Jones, Girl Talk: Adolescent Girls' Perceptions of Leadership. P.J. Bettis, D. Jordan, D. Montgomery, Girls in Groups: The Preps and the Sex Mob Try Out for Womanhood. R. Lalik, K.L. Oliver, "The Beauty Walk" as a Social Space for Messages About the Female Body: Toward Transformative Collaboration. N.G. Adams, Fighters and Cheerleaders: Disrupting the Discourse of "Girl Power" in the New Millennium. L. Fingerson, "Only Four Minute Passing Periods!" Private and Public Menstrual Identities in School. S. Elsasser, In the World But Not of It: Gendered Religious Socialization at a Christian School. S.S. Prettyman, "We Ain't No Dogs": Teenage Mothers (Re)Define Themselves. Part III: After School. C.A. Banks, Black Girls/White Spaces: Managing Identity Through Memories of Schooling. J.E. Petrovic, R.M. Ballard, Unstraightening the Ideal Girl: Lesbians, High School, and Spaces to Be. D.D. Liston, R.E. Moore-Rahimi, Disputation of a Bad Reputation: Adverse Sexual Labels and the Lives of Twelve Southern Women. L.M. Brown, S.M. Grande, Border Crossing--Border Patrolling: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Sisterhood. N. Erevelles, K. Mutua, "I Am a Woman Now!": Rewriting Cartographies of Girlhood From the Critical Standpoint of Disability. P.J. Bettis, N.G. Adams, Afterword: Girlhood, Places, and Pedagogy.

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Pamela J. Bettis, Washington State University, USA

Natalie G. Adams, University of Alabama, USA


"The real-world, applied research nature of this book - from the viewpoints of girls themselves - adds a nuanced perspective not yet explored in girls' studies....the multidisciplinary nature of the anthology will appeal to sociology, psychology, anthropology, history, religion, and education scholars as well as to women's and girl's studies instructors. Bettis and Adams's edited text serves to broaden and deepen inquiries into the information of girl-to-woman gendered identities."

"...editors Bettis and Adams complied qualitative field studies that explore how adolescent girls come to figure out who they are, focusing their examinations on the places in which much of this identity formation is occurring....provides an illuminating look at the informal places and spaces in which identity formation occurs in adolescent girls."—Educational Researcher Journal, December 2006

"Geographies of Girlhood provides a foundational text for the emerging field of Girls' Studies. The myriad research projects presented in this anthology push the margins of traditional Women's Studies by taking the girl power movement seriously as a site of inquiry and scholarship. In the liminal spaces that girls inhabit these authors honor the concrete realities of girls' lives as they perform their complex and often contradictory identity work. The interdisciplinary nature of this book will make it of interest to scholars from a wide array of disciplines including Women's Studies, Anthropology, Education, Psychology and Sociology."
Petra Munro Hendry, Louisiana State University

"This compelling new anthology edited by Pam Bettis and Natalie Adams honors girls' lives by critically examining where they live, the spaces and places where they spend their time, and weaving together a range of contemporary social theory to do so. The essays take us from the back of the bus, to the hallways of predominantly white heterosexist schools, to school sponsored fashion shows, prejudicial media representations, cheerleading squads, fight scenes, and more. Some of the essays took me back to my old haunts, prompting me to think of them and my own growing up differently. Others explored spaces I will never know. I learned a lot from this book! My students will too."
Rebecca Martusewicz, Eastern Michigan University


"The collection's emphasis on the daily concerns and habits of girls provides the reader with insights into an array of topics and settings, including power and positioning on the school bus, fighting and cheerleading, passing time and menstruation, gendered religious identity, and pregnant teens' disruptions of the discourses on teen motherhood."--Jessica K. Taft, Feminist Collections