Fwd: Re: To Yoshie, and anyone interested

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Sat Feb 27 15:38:51 PST 1999

[This was addressed to the listowner, not the list.]

X-Sender: cdriscol at arts.adelaide.edu.au Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 09:40:26 +1000 To: owner-lbo-talk at lists.panix.com From: Catherine Driscoll <cdriscol at arts.adelaide.edu.au> Subject: Re: To Yoshie, and anyone interested Mime-Version: 1.0

Yoshie writes:

>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

being 'feminised' is never anything else, that all that feminisation consists in, it doesn't have to describe a woman

>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.

*beneath* that discourse? in what way? and might this be seen as part of 'female' adolescence as well (if differently) i'm actually not convinced that there is 'male' adolescence and 'female' adolescence in the same sense that there is 'male' and 'female' puberty. i think adolescence is always to some degree (and to differing degrees of course) a feminised process. not that gender doesn't matter, but part of the mesh of anxiety surrounding 'male adolescence' is a set of questions about gender.

>>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?

the conjunction of new marketing processes, and newly globvalised conceptions of production and of culture with figures of the girl consumer and the universality of 'human' developmental processes predominantly exemplified by and through girls and young women. i could give examples -- both primary and 'secondary' - if this isn't clear

>>--- 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,

yes. and the two fields you specify here are not at all separate, although it's also important to note that childhood and adolescence have very different relations to these processes of globalisation, and indeed to conceptualisations of 'modern' development.

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

that makes me sound far more arrogant than i would want. and, in fact, the two most relevant to this discussion (on the global girl market and on orientalism in girl culture studies) won't be out till later this year. girl culture is what i'm working on now, for a book, so i'm pleased to have this added discussion and shouldn't be so ungracious, it's just that it's a subject on which i hate to type anything casually.

if you can get it the next best would be 'Riot grrls, cyber-gurls, Spice Girls: Girl Culture, Revenge, and Global Capitalism' in _Australian Feminist Studies_ (I don't know the number off by heart, but it's out this month [Feb.] from Carfax) -- and actually this one makes some use of Butler's Psychic Life. following that, as it might take some time to get, two older ones about particular forms of girl culture rather than girl culture in general would be -- '"Who Needs a Boyfriend": The homoerotic virgin in adolescent women's magazines', Van Toorn & English (eds.), _Speaking Positions: Gender and Ethnicity in Australian Cultural Studies_, 1995; and ëBecoming Brideí. _UTS Review_, 4.2, 1998.

>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?

I haven't seen this. A girl film is, I think, a film playing out women in transition through 'girl' or 'feminine adolescent' roles and norms. So not just Flora in _The Piano_ but also Ada -- moving between daughter and lover and almost but not quite wife. Being a mother doesn't stop her being a girl.


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