Show Less
Restricted access

Maiden USA

Girl Icons Come of Age


Kathleen M. Sweeney

Maiden USA: Girl Icons Come of Age explores images of powerful, contradictory pop culture icons of the past decade, which run the gamut from Mean Girls and their Endangered Victims to Superheroines and Ingenue Goddesses. Are girls of the Title IX generation in need of Internet protection, or are they Supergirls evolving beyond gender stereotypes to rescue us all? Maiden USA provides an overview of girl trends since the ‘90s including the emergence of girls’ digital media-making and self-representation venues on MySpace, Facebook and YouTube as the newest wave of Girl Power.

«An expansive survey of girlhood in contemporary American media culture, ‘Maiden USA’ is a welcome sequel to Susan Douglas’ ‘Where the Girls Are’. Written in a fresh, accessible voice, Sweeney’s insightful explorations of today’s teen girl iconography and impassioned discussions of girls’ media literacy and digital media-making are must-reads for anyone interested in girl culture.» (Mary Celeste Kearney, The University of Texas at Austin; Author of ‘Girls Make Media’)
«This timely and important book illuminates the significance of the powerful but often puzzling pop culture female icons that have arrived on the American scene (and screen) in the past decade. The spirited discussion of the positive alternatives already out there offers real hope and inspiration.» (Jean Kilbourne, Visiting Research Scholar, Wellesley Centers for Women)
«Kathleen Sweeney knows girl culture. Her experience as a filmmaker working directly with teenage girls informs this book with keen insight and authentic observation. She gives us an insider’s peek into the rich landscape of girl media culture from someone who intimately knows the terrain. For anyone wanting to explore this world, this is your road map.» (Malory Graham, Founder and Director of Reel Grrls)
«At a time when girl icons have agency, driving industries the world over, ‘Maiden USA’ invites those of us invested in ‘ordinary girls’ living and breathing outside the media’s gaze to take action. It reminds us that the tools needed to rebel against the media machines are within girls’ reach. It is our simple job to show them the route and get out of the way. What results is pure magic.» (Purva Panday, Girls’ Programming Consultant)
«‘Maiden USA’ is an insightful book with constructive, practical approaches to media literacy to help girls re-image their true strengths and voices. Parents, educators, and media professionals will benefit from the ideas presented, whether they have teenage daughters, were teenage girls or are interested in current media icons and influences. ‘Maiden USA’ focuses on the majority of girls, who are neither celebrities nor troubled youth. It offers adults ways to encourage girls to believe in themselves in a thoughtful, grounded style. [This is a] book for anyone who cares about girls’ well-being.» (Mara Alper, Media Artist; Associate Professor, Roy H. Park School of Communications, Ithaca College)
«Kathleen Sweeney’s in-depth analysis leads us effortlessly through an exposé of the fabrication of contemporary ‘teen’ and ‘tween’ girl icons. Drawing examples from film, TV, print, the Internet, and ancillary markets, her evocative prose examines the impact the commoditization of the ‘maiden’ image has had on real girls and the collective psyche. Well aware of the mythological power of these cultural signifiers, Sweeney gifts the reader with an unparalleled degree of media literacy.» (Mark Greene, Department of Counseling and Psychology, Hong Kong Shue Yan University)
«In ‘Maiden USA’, Kathleen Sweeney provides an engaging and thoughtful testament to proactive programming for girls that addresses the lack of gender representation behind the camera and in decision-making leadership positions in media.» (Deborah Aubert Thomas, Institute for Women’s Leadership, Rutgers University; Former Associate Director of National Programs, Girls Inc.)