Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oakland University adds "Growing Up Girl" to women and gender studies curriculum

Oakland University will offer a new course in its women and gender studies program entitled, "Growing Up Girl: Studies in American Girlhood, Media, and Popular Culture." It will be taught by Professor Jennifer Martin.

"Jo Reger (director of Oakland's WGS program) asked me if I would be interested in developing a course dealing with girl culture, girlhood, things girls face today in American culture: sexuality, body image, gender identity, consumer culture, developing voice, etc. We will be examining a variety of diverse voices and perspectives in the course," said professor Martin.

Professor Martin is a past co-chair of the National Women’s Studies Association Special Interest Group: Girls’ Studies, and has been conducting research on girls in the areas of sexual harassment, feminist identity development, and empowerment for several years.

Some of her goals for the class include:

>Analyze how the mass media and popular culture contribute to differing socialization of girls and boys.

>Compare the differences in gender socialization in the family, schools, and institutions for girls and boys.

>Examine the effects and responses to toys, clothes, make-up, hygiene products, etc. that specifically target girls.

Students will also research and examine girl-produced artifacts, such as zines and blogs, as well as how girls use various forms of media to develop identities.

The class will be available for the winter, 2011 semester. For registration information, contact Oakland University's women and gender studies program at

Although she has not finalized her book list for the up-coming class, professor Martin recommends the following books on girl culture for parents, sisters, aunts, educators, and anyone with girls' interests at heart:

Driver, S. (2007). Queer girls and popular culture: Reading, resisting, and creating media. New York: Peter Lang.

Durham, M. G. (2008). The Lolita effect: The media sexualization of young girls andwhat we can do about it. New York: The Overlook Press.

Ensler. E. (2010). I am an emotional creature: The secret lives of girls a round the world. New York: Villard.

Haris, A. (Ed.) (2004). All about the girl: Culture, power, and identity. New York: Routledge

Jiwani, Y., Steenbergen, C., & Mitchell, C. (2006). Girlhood: Redefining the Limits. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 2006.

Lamb, S. L., & Brown, L. M., (2006). Packaging girlhood: Rescuing our daughters from marketers’ schemes. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Mazzarella, S. (2005). Girl wide web: Girls, the internet, and the negotiation of identity. New York: Peter Lang.

Melzer, M. (2010). Girl power: The nineties revolution in music. New York: Faber and Faber.

Sinikka A, Gonick, M, & Harris, A. (2005). Young femininity: Girlhood, power and social change. New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Van Ausdale, D. & Feagin, J. R. (2001). The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

All titles are available from Prices range from $10 - $35.

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