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|Title:||'What A Girl Wants, What A Girl Needs': Father-Daughter Intimacies in Theraputic Literature and Teen Film|
Department of Gender and Cultural Studies
|Abstract:||This dissertation tracks the operations of broken family discourse through both therapeutic literature and popular teen film. It is interested in the way that young women and girls are implicated in supporting and maintaining the authority of fathers across separated families. The girl--‐power oriented films of the 1990s and 2000s are offered as a productive source for understanding the agency and complex subjectivity of girls who negotiate families marked by separation. In comparison to this girl--‐centric discourse, it is argued the therapeutic literature creates narrow and limited subject positions for girls as either innocent saviours or vulnerable victims of ‘broken’ families. In addition, it is argued that aspects of the therapeutic literature perpetuate established gender divisions and apportion blame to mothers for the breakdown of the traditional family unit. To explore these issues the first half of this dissertation surveys the therapeutic field on marriage and divorce, looking in particular at keywords in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage and a recent review article published in this journal: Linda Nielsen’s ‘Divorced Fathers and Their Daughters: A Review of Research’ (2011). The second half of the dissertation explores the interaction between fantasy, fairy--‐tale and girl--‐power in teen films from 1995 to 2007, looking in particular at What A Girl Wants (2003) starring Amanda Bynes and Colin Firth. The discussion of these texts is framed within the field of girlhood studies, and draws on theories of ‘tween’ culture and feminist concerns about commercialisation and agency. Taking a discursive rather than aesthetic approach to the film text, I employ an interpretative strategy that takes seriously the desires and disavowals expressed in fictional narratives directed at teen or iv pre--‐teen audiences. As I hope to demonstrate, contemporary films targeted at girls have the capacity to narrativise these concerns in ways that shift the debate about divorced families away from a pathologising account of the damaged child. They direct us instead towards a more productive understanding of how changing family dynamics are actively negotiated by all parties—including those female minors otherwise understood to be outside of, and at risk from, the devolution and reformation of adult intimacies. Keywords: girlhood, gender, sexuality, fathers, daughters, teen film, family|
|Department/Unit/Centre:||Department of Gender and Cultural Studies|
|Appears in Collections:||Honours Theses - Department of Gender and Cultural Studies|
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