This book explores the circulation and reception of popular discourses of achieving girlhood, and the ways in which girls themselves participate in such circulation. It examines the figure of the achieving girl within wider discourses of neoliberal self-management and post-feminist possibility, considering the tensions involved in being both successful and successfully feminine and the strategies and negotiations girls undertake to manage these tensions.
The work is grounded in an understanding of media, educational, and peer contexts for the production of the successful girl. It traces narratives across school, television and online in texts produced for and by girls, drawing on interviews with girls in schools, online forum participation (within the purpose-built site www.smartgirls.tv), and girls’ discussions of a range of teen dramas.
1. The future girl’s problem past
2. The achieving girl as the ideal subject
3. The Archaeology: sites and stories
4. Girls reading girl texts: genres, tropes and trajectories
5. The ‘Girls Work Hard’ Narrative
6. ‘Girls Hang Back’: Choice, complementarity and collaboration