Power Essay

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These findings received widespread attention, and the female crisis of adolescence has become part of the contemporary conception of girlhood.

Viewed from this context, the logic of the late-nineties pro-girl rhetoric is that 'if we start to value girls more and celebrate their culture, girls in turn will feel positive about themselves and will achieve higher self-esteem.' However, the relationship between girl power’s pro-girl rhetoric and its emphasis on the construction of a circumscribed feminine appearance must not be underestimated.

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

Girl power instead claims the mental toughness and physical strength into which males have been socialised.

This complicated, alternately positive and regressive version of girl power has successfully permeated collective consciousness and the activities and artefacts of popular culture.

This may be in part because girl power promotes the active consumption of commodities already targeting girls and women — rendering it far less subversive than the Riot Grrrls’ girl power.

However, Brabazon and Evans submit that '[t]he affirmation of girlness, rather than womanhood, is contradictory to many of the contemporary goals of feminism' and Taylor considers it 'an act of defiance against both feminism (which rejects [femininity]) and patriarchy (which trivializes it)'.

Thus, reclaiming the girlish may create as much harm as good.


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