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Mediated Girlhoods

New Explorations of Girls’ Media Culture


Edited By Mary Celeste Kearney

Mediated Girlhoods: New Explorations of Girls’ Media Culture is the first anthology devoted specifically to scholarship on girls’ media culture. Taking a cultural studies approach, it includes analyses of girls’ media representations, media consumption, and media production. The book responds to criticisms of previous research in the field by including studies of girls who are not white, middle-class, heterosexual, or Western, while also including historical research. Approaching girlhood, media, and methodology broadly, Mediated Girlhoods contains studies of previously unexplored topics, such as feminist themes in teen magazines, girlmade memory books, country girlhoods, girls’ self-branding on YouTube, and the surveillance of girls via new media technologies. The volume serves as a companion to Mediated Boyhoods: Boys, Teens, and Young Men in Popular Media and Culture, edited by Annette Wannamaker.


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4 Little Butches: Tomboys in Hollywood Film Kristen Hatch 75


Four Little Butches: Tomboys in Hollywood Film Kristen Hatch In the 1976 comedy, The Bad News Bears, 11-year-old Amanda Whurlitzer (Ta-tum O’Neal) undergoes a remarkable transformation. When we are introduced to her, Amanda wears a long skirt, peasant blouse, and floppy, oversized hat. She is the epitome of precocious femininity. By the end of the film, she has trans- formed into a baseball-playing tomboy whose powerhouse pitch helps save a team of underachieving boys from ignominious defeat. Such a transformation, from feminine girl to tomboy, is virtually unheard of in the annals of tomboy narrative. Even more surprising than Amanda’s metamorphosis into a tomboy is 15-year-old Angel’s (Kristy McNichol) rejection of heterosexuality in favor of same-sex bonds in Little Darlings (1980). In the film’s opening sequence, tomboy Angel responds to the crude come-on of a neighborhood boy by kicking him hard between the legs. Over the course of the film, Angel is taunted as a lesbian, and in an effort to fit in with the other girls at summer camp she seduces Randy (Matt Dillon). However, by film’s end, Angel has rejected Randy and forged a bond with another girl, Ferris (Tatum O’Neal). The film ends on a close-up of the two girls, smiling arm in arm. Writing a decade before the release of these films, Leslie Fiedler confidently identified the transformation of the tomboy into a feminine woman as the defin- ing element of the tomboy narrative (333). Likewise, Barbara Creed has argued that the cinematic tomboy functions to...

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