In Learning Curves: Body Image and Female Sexuality in Young Adult Literature, Beth Younger contemplates the status of young adult fiction in contemporary literary culture and society. As a genre ‘uniquely subject to social supervision and frequent challenges’, Younger contends that YA fiction is ‘an important source of cultural information for young readers in that it portrays adolescents negotiating the social and sexual standards of the dominant culture’.1 Produced by adults yet consumed by young readers, the genre occupies a sensitive and often contentious space, and for this reason the cultural information presented by adult authors to their potentially impressionable audience has long been the target of intense critical attention. Yet Younger’s study is perhaps representative of a pattern in recent years in which girlhood studies has emerged more expansively as a pronounced site of critical interrogation. Since the mid-1990s, popular culture and academic scholarship has witnessed ‘an incredible proliferation of images, texts and discourses around girls and girlhood’,2 exploring not only the relationship between culture and gendered identities, but also the role of social institutions in the formation of femininities.
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- The Girl and the Streets: Postfeminist Identities in Junk, Doing It and Sara’s Face
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