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Girlhood in America: An Encyclopedia

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In this comprehensive, readable, two volume encyclopedia, experts from a variety of disciplines contribute pieces to the puzzle of what it means—and what it has meant over the last 400 years—to be a girl in America. The portrait that emerges reveals deep differences in girls' experiences depending on socioeconomic context, religious and ethnic traditions, family life, schools, institutions, and the messages of consumer and popular culture.

Girls have been commodified, idealized,...

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Overview

In this comprehensive, readable, two volume encyclopedia, experts from a variety of disciplines contribute pieces to the puzzle of what it means—and what it has meant over the last 400 years—to be a girl in America. The portrait that emerges reveals deep differences in girls' experiences depending on socioeconomic context, religious and ethnic traditions, family life, schools, institutions, and the messages of consumer and popular culture.

Girls have been commodified, idealized, trivialized, eroticized, and shaped by the powerful forces of popular culture, from Little Women to Barbie. Yet girls are also powerful co-creators of the culture that shapes them, often cleverly subverting it to their own purposes. From Pocahantas to punk rockers, girls have been an integral, if overlooked and undervalued, part of American culture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This volume pulls together information related to this emerging area of study while providing data on many topics not covered throughly elsewhere. Recommended for larger public or academic libraries that serve populations with an interest in gender studies or the social sciences."

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Library Journal

"Recommended for public and high school libraries. Academic and research libraries with gender studies or women's studies programs will also find it useful."

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Booklist

"The publication of Girlhood in America is perfectly timed. Extensive scholarly scrutiny of female adolescents and a burst of writings by girls themselves both arrived in the last decade, yet no reference work captured the essence of either. Girlhood in America does so, through over one hundred signed articles written by academics at institutions throughout the United States."

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Feminist Collections

"A groundbreaking work. . . . Because the articles are always lucid, cogent, and informative, they will interest anyone curious about girls' studies. This encyclopedia belongs in all libraries."

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Choice

"Each signed essay is followed by cross-references and a comprehensive bibliography, and most are accompanied by at least one well-selected, black and white photograph. While there are a number of other titles on the subject, none offers similar breadth and scope. As such, larger collections and those supporting women's studies courses should consider this worthy acquisition."

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School Library Journal

VOYA
This well-researched set covers a neglected area of study: the cultural impact of girls in North America. Its more than one hundred entries range from babysitting and diaries to substance abuse and technology. Each entry, most of which are multiple pages, concludes with related articles, references, and further reading. The contributors display impressive credentials, and the entries reflect a broad historical perspective as well as scholarly observations. In addition, excerpts, black-and-white photos, the bibliography, and detailed index contribute to the quality presentation. Professionalism aside, however, the usability and need for this encyclopedia is questionable. Its cover and table of contents seem to appeal to a young audience, but the content and writing style make this set clearly intended for adult researchers. Adults, however, generally would seek out primary sources or more in-depth information than this text provides. Moreover, although the contributors have succeeded in providing historical, unbiased perspectives, the topics swing from being overly broad to strangely specific—from Emotions to Pocahontas. Clearly a real effort has been made to cover girlhood from many North American perspectives and historical contexts, including contemporary issues; however, the set would be a luxury for most libraries due to its limited appeal. Index. Photos. Biblio. Further Reading. 2001, ABC-CLIO, 773p. in 2 vols, $175/set. Ages 15 to Adult. Reviewer: Cynthia Gueswell SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
Library Journal
In the 1990s, the study of girls' culture emerged as an area of scholarly inquiry. This encyclopedia, edited by Formanek-Brunell (history and former director of gender studies, Univ. of Missouri, Kansas City) is the first to deal specifically with the topic. Opening with a historiographical essay, it includes over 120 alphabetically arranged essays that vary in length from a few paragraphs to several pages and are written by authoritative scholars. The topics covered range widely, from family relations to eating disorders, babysitting to millwork, and Barbie to radical feminists. Racial, class, and cultural diversity is evident throughout, and the entries span the period from the earliest settlements to the present day. While some of this material may also be found in more general reference works on women's history, social history, or education, such as Encyclopedia of American Social History (Gale, 1993), this volume pulls together information related to this emerging area of study while providing data on many topics not covered thoroughly elsewhere. Recommended for larger public or academic libraries that serve populations with an interests in gender studies or the social sciences.--Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
This reference in two volumes explores what it means to be a girl in America. Over 100 contributions from Forman-Brunell (U. of Missouri, Kansas City) and other academics discuss such topics as spending money, birth control, cosmetics, diaries, prom, eating disorders, Girl Scouts, menstruation, lesbians, substance abuse, and "riot grrrls." Coverage includes topics relating to the experiences of girls of different ages, races, classes, sexual orientations, religions, ethnicities, and abilities. The text is accompanied throughout by black and white photographs and illustrations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576072066
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/8/2001
  • Series: American Family Series
  • Pages: 818
  • Product dimensions: 7.32 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 2.16 (d)

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