Tag Archives: girls’ studies

Brave: Young Women’s Global Revolution Book Review

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International Journal for Intersectional Feminist Studies, Volume 4, Issue 1 & 2, September 2018, ISSN
2463-2945
Gayle Kimball. Brave: Young Women’s Global Revolution (in two volumes, Vol. 1: Global Themes & Vol. 2: Regional Activism). [Equality Press], 2017. With introduction, b/w photographs and notes. x, 373 pp & xiv, 643 pp.
Morgan Brynnan
Finally, we hear the authentic voices of girls and young women from around the globe, from the traditional to the radical. Encompassing interviews and fieldwork from 88 countries, sociologist Gayle Kimball brings together over a decade of original research on female youth. Such research is sorely lacking, as most other works of this kind are regional and/or discuss youth without including their voices. Kimball goes beyond standardized internet surveys of middle-class youth, with in-depth video interviews available on the companion blog, https://globalyouthbook.wordpress.com, of young women from the favelas of Brazil to the upper-class in Saudi Arabia. Some of the interviews and contacts went on for over a decade as the young women moved into adulthood, and Kimball traveled for much of the research.
A monumental piece of research and analysis from Feminist Standpoint Theory, Kimball includes and compares other notable surveys of youth and women’s issues in the two volumes. Don’t expect to hear only feminist voices—traditional young women speak clearly in these pages as well. A good history of feminism and what it means today to young women is part of the essential reading in Brave. Both volumes discuss the impact of neo-liberal policies, war, non-violent resistance, and upheavals.
Consumerism and media are addressed in depth, as well as organizing in the Internet Age. Discussion questions are included following each chapter and the endnotes are a rich source of further information.
While there is heavy coverage of the Arab Spring uprisings, the two works go far beyond the Middle East to report on women making change in other countries (Volume 2, Regional Activism, covers The West, Latin America, Africa, MENA, Russia, China, and India).
This work includes many references to important figures in various movements, related source materials, and films. It could be improved with the addition of an index, bibliography, and filmography for easier access and further research. A link to the core survey questions and most frequent answers is included.
23
International Journal for Intersectional Feminist Studies, Volume 4, Issue 1 & 2, September 2018, ISSN
2463-2945
Great reading for anyone interested in what girls and young women really think politically. Especially useful for courses in Women’s Studies, Youth Studies, Girl Studies, Political Science, and Global Studies, this is a record of the otherwise unnamed young women who have changed our century.
NOTE: This work is part of a series of books based on the longitudinal international survey work of Dr. Kimball. Other books in the series include Ageism in Youth Studies: Generation Maligned (Cambridge Scholars, 2017); How Global Youth Values Will Transform Our Future (Cambridge Scholars, 2018); Resist! Goals and Tactics for Changemakers (forthcoming, 2018); and Democracy Uprisings Led by Global Youth (forthcoming).
Dr. Kimball welcomes you to critique upcoming drafts. Contact the author at GKimball@csuchico.edu
Morgan Brynnan is a mother, librarian, and unabashed feminist living in the United States. With activist roots going back to the Women’s Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice at The Seneca Army Depot and ACT-UP, she writes from a life lived fully. Currently, she reads and writes on women and youth issues while raising her eleven year old daughter in a small Northern California farming town. She holds degrees in Librarianship, Spanish, and in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. You can reach her via email at mbrynnan@gmail.com.
Morgan Brynnan, 2018
2018, by Morgan Brynnan. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

Theoretical Approaches to Studying Girls in the West

The main theoretical approaches to studying girls and young women are feminism, of course, and youth subcultures like punks or hip-hop; both involve resistance to dominant authorities.[1] Youth subcultures were first studied at the University of Chicago starting in the 1920s with a focus on street gangs as a way to cope with poverty. Youth subcultures were made famous at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies starting in 1964. Their early studies were criticized by feminist scholars for focusing on class conflict by working class “lads” and their public spaces, ignoring what girls did in more private spaces. With the development of global marketing aimed at youth and neoliberal individualization, class and political resistance became less relevant. Instead, scholars discussed nonactivist neotribes such as club scenes, lifestyles, networks, communities, etc. Anita Harris stated in 2008, “There is no longer any such thing as the truly ‘resistant’ youth subcultures, because youth style and cultures have been appropriated by the consumer industries, depoliticized and packaged back to youth.”

Globalization and the Internet changed girls’ way of doing politics starting in the late 1980s with girrrl power media, including zines, music including punk and rap, the Internet and its blogs and webcams, culture jamming of commercial media, and graffiti, thereby creating a “new form of citizenship” in postmodern subcultures. The editors of Riot Grrl zine wrote in 1992, “We’re tired of being written out–out of history, out of the ‘scene’, out of our bodies … for this reason we have created our zine and scene … be proud of being a grrrl.” Feminist girls around the world created a Third Wave in reaction to the Second Wave, discussed in Chapter 11, based on a more fluid and hybrid notion of gender and resistance to multinational corporations’ power, surpassing national governments as the target to resistance.

[1]Anita Harris, ed. Next Wave Cultures: Feminism, Subcultures, Activism. Routledge, 2008, Introduction.