Girls on Paper
Following the international success of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend tetralogy (2011–2014) and the HBO series inspired by it, attention has intensified in the new media on the topic of girlhood and coming-of-age stories. At the same time, the #metoo campaign introduced aspects of feminist discourse into the mainstream, with girls becoming especially sensitised to the issues raised. This seminar series offers a fresh focus on girlhood and asks how we might understand it today.
Nicoletta Mandolini's paper departs from general observations to suggest that the medium-genre intersection of graphic narratives and female coming of age, that is to say graphic novels focussing on girls’ experiences of growth and approximation to womanhood, can open up a productive space for the critical discussion and popularisation of contested feminist categories and concepts (e.g., abjection, queerness, gender violence, victim/survivor). Michelle Smith examines how Young Adult Gothic fiction tends to reinforce conservative patriarchal norms of gender and sexuality for implied girl readers in the 21st century, and considers how the genre remains preoccupied with the patriarchal threat posed to young women through two sub-genres.
Niicoletta Mandolini (University of Minho): 'New Cover Girls, Feminism, Girlhood and the Graphic Novel'
Michelle Smith (Monash University): 'Girlhood in Contemporary Adult Gothic Fiction'
Event date: Thursday, 20 October 2022