Representing Girlhood in Popular Culture

deadline for submissions: 
December 17, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Carmel Cedro / Auckland University of Technology
contact email: 

Representing Girlhood in Popular Culture

Call for Chapter Abstracts for Edited Collection, to be part of the Routledge Advances in Popular Culture Studies series.

Contemporary popular culture texts increasingly showcase representations of girls and young women in a myriad of ways. There are common tropes that we as audiences have come to expect in stories of girlhood, which usually concern navigating friendships, self-discovery, familial drama, teenage discontent, etc., packaged in familiar frames about suburban school experiences, or in fantastical and bold tales in fantasy and science fiction.

Commonly, these texts often contain incongruity, marked by “an irresolvable tension between agency and conformity” (Driscoll, 2002, p. 278). Moreover, representations of girls and young women are often ambiguous, both drawing on and reproducing hegemonic ideas about femininity at the same time that they subvert them (McRobbie, 1980).

Thus, this collection aims to examine representations of girls and young women across the landscape of popular culture texts to understand how the figure of the girl is constructed and addressed. What do these texts tell us about current ideas of girlhood? Do they perpetuate stereotypes of femininity and girls or contest and subvert dominant notions? How do they negotiate the contradictions and incongruities? Ultimately, how do these texts contribute to broader cultural dialogues about what it means to be a girl in the 21st century?

Please send 300-word abstracts, including a title and short biography, to Carmel Cedro by December 17th, 2021.

Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Depictions of girls and girlhood(s) in popular culture texts (television, film, videogames, literature, comics, popular music, animation, etc.).
  • Representations of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability, stereotyping, counterculture and their intersections with issues of girls and girlhood(s), the body, and identity.
  • ‘Subverting’ cultural notions of ‘being a girl'.
  • Transnational representations of girlhood.
  • Genre and girlhood.
  • Girl-centred cross-media adaptations (e.g. from novel to film, from film to television).
  • Girl-centred media franchises.
  • Representations of girls and girlhood(s) in toys, fandom(s), trends, fads, marketing and advertising.

Works Cited:

Driscoll, C. (2002). Girls: Feminine Adolescence in Popular Culture and Cultural Theory. New York: Columbia University Press.

McRobbie, A. (1980) 2000. Feminism and Youth Culture. 2nd ed. London: Macmillan.