on September 29, 2002
From the front and back cover you'd expect something pretty different from this book. Probably a book about how girls grow up or about images of girls in pop culture. I did, though maybe the subtitle should have given it away. That's not really what this book is. There's more about the history of girls, and more on explaining different kinds of theories and how those talk about girls. This is actually a really academic book, and there's not a whole lot in this book about any of the pop culture icons listed on the back cover, you have to go about half way through before you get to the pop culture chapters. And there's nothing at all about 'what girls are really like' or 'how to deal with their problems' like you might expect from the cover.
And yet I enjoyed it: even though it was most of the time the kind of enjoyed which is about learning something you can use for courses or finally getting something complicated. If you're doing popular culture or cultural studies courses then this book has some good explanations of the theory which gets used and, strangely, what girls have to do with the big names and ideas. There's sections on marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism, subcultures, etc that kind of thing. There are some good parts about popular film and music but they're not most of the book.
I kept expecting to give up on it, but I did keep getting things out of it and I think it gets better as it goes on. It helped that I was using it for school. I did like the sections talking about Barbie, Buffy, riot girl and so on most of all, and the chapter on bodyimage was really good, but even those are just not easy reading. If you want an introduction to theory or cultural studies type of book then then this is a great book, one of the best I've (tried to) read. But I think its a book for college students though. I really don't think you want to buy this if you're looking for a book to help with your teenage daughter.
on January 7, 2003
This is the first book I've found that treats girl-culture as the complex field it really is, without being confined to text studies or to audience analysis or to feminist critique of what girls should or shouldn't be like. Lots of historical background, accessible writing on how theories used in cultural studies now can talk about girls, and some great examples. The sections on Antigone, 'age of consent', Barbie, the Spice Girls, and horror film were all really good. Would have liked more on TV, but you can't have everything.
Hard to get hold of if you're in Australia, which is weird because the author's from South Australia - you probably have to use Amazon or something like it. But definitely worth the wait if you're doing any kind of cultural studies or working on or with girls.