Untaming Girlhoods : Storytelling Female Adolescence book cover
1st Edition

Untaming Girlhoods
Storytelling Female Adolescence

  • Available for pre-order on March 10, 2023. Item will ship after March 31, 2023
ISBN 9781138589551
March 31, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
256 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This is an interdisciplinary examination of depictions of girlhoods through a comparative study of foundational fairy tales revised in popular narrative, film and television adaptations.

The success of franchises such as The Hunger Games, Twilight and Divergence have re-presented the young heroine as an empowered female, and often an action figure in her own right. Through a selection of popular culture touchstones this empowerment is questioned as a manipulation of feminist ideals of equality and a continuation of the traditional vision of female awakening centering on issues of personal choice, physical violence and, purity and beauty. By investigating re-occurring storytelling frameworks and archetypes, Untaming Girlhoods examines different portrayals of girl(hood)s in the 20th- and 21st-century Anglo-American cultural imaginary that configure modern girl(hood)s beyond the fairy tale princess or the damsel in distress—into refigurations that venture away from the well-trodden path for a new breakaway path to selfhood.

This will be a useful and enlightening text for students and researchers in Girlhood Studies, Gender Studies, Film Studies and Media Studies.


Table of Contents

By Way of Introduction: Girl(hood)s in Context

Girlhood in Context

Storytelling Girlhoods

PART I Fairy Tales and Emerging Girlhoods in the 20th and 21st Centuries

1: Towards (Un)Taming Girlhood: Fairy Tales, Popular Culture, and the Cultural Imaginary

2: Forging New Pathways through the Forest: Red Riding Hood and New Becomings

The Journey through the Woods

Embracing the Wolf (Within): Red Riding Hood, Self-Knowledge, and Selfhood

The Huntsman with No Damsel in Distress to Save

3: Before They Were Evil, Before They Were Queens: Trauma, Female Rivalry and (Be)coming (into) Self

"It is not power that corrupts; it is powerlessness": How the Queen Becomes a Villain

Complicit and Compliant: Intergenerational Trauma and Female Relationships

Recovering Female Communitas: Kissing Old Stereotypes Good-bye?


PART II Unruly Girls: Warriors and Witches

4: Killer Girls: Red Riding Hood, the Wolf and Girl (Em)power(ed)

A Bloody Mess: Red Riding Hood, Werewolves, and Menstruation

Killer Girls Take (Back) Control: Red Riding Hood in Freeway and Hard Candy

5: This Princess Wears Combat Boots: The Dystopia of Girl Warrior Heroes

Girlhood on Display: The Girl Warrior Hero

Taking (Back) Control: (Personal) Performance and (Politicized) Becoming

A "New" Kind of Female Hero: The Fairy Tale Princess Gets a Makeover

6: Beyond the Fairy Tale Witch: Contemporary Girl(hood)s in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Sabrina: Rebooting Mortal and Witch Girlhoods

Sisterhood and the Rise Against the Patriarchy


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Cristina Santos is an Associate Professor of Hispanic and Latin American Studies. Her work focuses on sexuality and gender studies from an intersectional feminist perspective in the construct of "monstrous women" from an interdisciplinary and multi-cultural approach as seen in literature, film, television, popular culture and mythology. She also investigates the construct of political and social deviance and trauma in life narratives as the construction of a personal and communal sense of identity that challenges official history and patriarchy. She is the author of Unbecoming Female Monsters: Witches, Vampires, and Virgins.