To Yoshie, and anyone interested

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Fri Feb 26 13:02:47 PST 1999

Catherine wrote:
>Of course this is a reasonable criticism of Mulvey & co., which perhaps I
>take too much for granted now. But, interestingly, I think, looking at River
>Phoenix or DiCaprio woudl seem less to undermine these genderings than to
>reinforce them by making them apply to male bodies too.

I agree. I mentioned them simply because the thread has been on girls & boys.

>I think that theory
>is in fact, as many people have argued, more problematised by looking at
>male bodies outside of that explicit adolescent frame -- say Schwarzenegger
>-- because 'male adolescence' since its invention has always been feminised
>precisely in the mode of being gazed upon (as well as in its 'malleability').

Wouldn't you say that there is a problem in using the term 'feminize'? The term carries an assumption that to be coupled in a sexual engagement with a man is to be a woman, to be in a position of a woman at least, or to be 'feminized.'

Another way to look at 'male adolescence' is that to see it as an area where the residual discourse on same-sex love--age-differentiated pedagogical love between men and boys--reassert itself, beneath the dominant discourse of homo/hetero division, mixing Foucault and Raymond Williams. This is especially visible in Japan.

>Well I can't do it justice in the time I have but I'll say here that
>--- I think girl culture because of its historical centrality to discourses
>on 'global culture' is a very interesting way of looking at what it might
>mean and at its limitations as a concept

Why do you think that girl culture possesses this 'historical centrality' you speak of?

>--- girl culture is also fascinating because it can only possibly exist as
>an effect of globalised conceptions of cultural production and yet it is
>also certainly operative in effect in so many different cultural contexts.

An 'effect of globalized conception of cultural production' because of marketing (e.g. Spice Girls, Shonen Knife, Barbies, etc.)? Because of a larger & older process of dissemination of modern conceptualizations of child development (through theory, self-help books, medical practice, etc.)?

>And there's a lot else I think about the role of girl culture within Western
>and globalised culture, which I can't and wouldn't unfold here. Of course
>I'm happy to answer specific questions, or even refer you to things I've
>written (which seems a bit shameless), but it's just hard to know where to
>start on the question of what I think about girl culture...

Oh, do refer me to your published articles. I'll go read them, and then I'll be able to ask more intelligent questions.

>Do you mean _Heavenly Creatures_?

Right. (Sorry for the mix-up.)

>The last two should in all justice be
>called NZ films (though I'm less sure about _An Angel..._). International
>releases from Australia would also include _Strictly Ballroom_, _AngelBaby_,
>_Metal Skin_, _Romper Stomper_, that Diana film, and many others (for which
>my boundaries are probably looser than others' -- I think _The Piano_ is a
>girl film). Those are just a few 90s films (because I'm in a hurry).

Haven't seen _Metal Skin_ + _Angel Baby_.

What makes a film a 'girl film'? (I agree that Anna Paquin shines in _The Piano_ and it is her jealousy that moves the plot to its turning point.) Is _The Spirit of the Beehive_ a girl film?


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list