Power Essay

However, girl power discourse does not attempt to reclaim or raise awareness of such strength.

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She found that the male perspective is more focused on justice, or respecting individuals’ rights, while the female perspective emphasises responsibility, or caring for others.

Gilligan’s attention to girls’ lives informed Mary Pipher’s Reviving Ophelia and Peggy Orenstein’s Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap, published in association with the American Association of University Women, which identified a crisis that occurs when girls reach adolescence at approximately 11 years old: Their self-esteem plummets, academic achievement drops, and concerns with appearance increase.

Girls can make their voices heard in speech and print, and they can make mainstream femininity work for them, instead of against them.

However, the Spice Girls’ form of girl power complexly intertwines with the active consumption of commodities so necessary to achieve a feminine appearance — the slender, curvaceous, yet toned physique adorned with stylish clothing and accessories, perfect hair, and trendy makeup.[7]Women have always been strong, enduring childbirth and a variety of burdens and hardships.

However, the girl power icons presented in the media seemingly have their cake and eat it, too, for they enact without embodying the new female strength.

Their bodies look thin, not tough.[8] Girls in the viewing audience can never live up to this demanding new super-strong and super-slim standard: Paradoxically, if they match the strength of the televised characters, they won’t look feminine enough, and if they look feminine enough, they won’t be able to conquer strong opponents. Girls can more feasibly mimic their television role models’ celebration of girls’ identities, interests, and femininity. Cultural perceptions of boys as stronger, more powerful, and more active than girls have long translated into the perception that being a girl is shameful—hence, insults directed at boys charge, ' You throw like a girl' and ' You’re such a sissy.' Recent studies have shown that despite the women's movement's gains, many boys and girls alike still view boyhood as preferable to girlhood.Girl power, a playful form of third wave feminism,[1] seeks to reclaim the feminine and mark it as culturally valued.It is most often represented as the idea that girls can do anything they choose - especially on a personal level.Millions of fans embraced the Spice Girls’ combination of girl-positive lyrics and the range of playful, feminine, yet strong personas embodied by the five Spices.[6]The term 'girl power' as popularised by the Spice Girls denotes an ideological shift in femininity’s conceptualisation and its portrayal in mainstream culture.Rather than being passive, girls can actively speak out in verbal and non-verbal modes, as do girl power role models on television’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Powerpuff Girls.From infancy, girls 'are taught to project a physical presence that speaks of latent vulnerability', which historically has permitted men 'to disempower and subordinate women, use their labour, influence their thoughts, and secure their cooperation mainly because of the power they have held over women’s bodies'.By denaturalising girls’ weakness, girl power discourse frees girls and women from this pattern of disempowerment and subordination.Girl power offers support for girls by suggesting that they are boys' equals, not their inferiors — or, if the sparkly pink t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan ' Girls Rule, Boys Drool' hold truth, even better than them.[9]Girl power may reflect a cultural response to the crisis of female adolescence.Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice suggested that developmental psychologists had previously ignored adolescent girls’ experience and moral development, writing only about boys.In general terms, third wave feminism encompasses the forms of feminism which arose in the context of the societal changes effected by the second wave of feminism.Although the term 'third wave' is not a generational marker, it is most often claimed by members of Generations X and Y, who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, enjoying the fruits of the second wave’s activism, and were immersed in the resultant rhetoric of equality of the sexes.


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