A new girl in town: Exploring girlhood identities through Facebook
First Monday

A new girl in town: Exploring girlhood identities through Facebook by Marissa Dean and Karen Laidler



Abstract
Two interrelated yet seemingly contradictory discourses framing girlhood studies depict feminine identities as either restricted by the Ophelia girl in crisis or overwhelmed by the complexity of feminine norms confronting the Girl power girl. Currently missing from this polarized discussion is how online social networks provide a unique venue for creating and expressing the subjectivities of girlhood. In this paper, we study how 25 young women and girls in Hong Kong engage with Facebook and how this online social space is used to push beyond the linear crisis vs. power continuum to claim a more multidimensional understanding of feminine identity. We evaluate the reasons why Facebook is popular among these users and highlight how these young women expand the “rescue versus empowerment” debate by claiming new spaces to create, experiment and express their own unique forms of femininity.

Contents

Introduction
Background
Research design
Results and discussion
Conclusion

 


 

Introduction

Due to the considerable interest in female adolescence over the last two decades, contemporary perceptions of girls and young women are being challenged and deconstructed on many fronts. The issues surrounding girlhood have been under heavy academic scrutiny as well as unprecedented news and media attention (Harris, 2004; Mazzarella and Pecora, 2007; McRobbie, 2004, 2000, 1994; Walkerdine and Ringrose, 2006; Currie, et al., 2009). As Aapola, et al. (2005) have observed, the public is both fascinated by, and fearful of, the many and varied images of today’s girls.

The mixed reaction regarding girlhood largely stems from how the adult world perceives both the current opportunities and constraints confronting girls as they negotiate adolescent femininity. On the one hand, modern femininities represent diversity and complexity — allowing girls more flexibility in expanding traditional norms of femininity. However, going beyond normative boundaries have also heightened public anxiety, as evidenced by increased problems with self–esteem, body image, motivation, aggressiveness and promiscuity, as young women today pursue conflicting expectations for perfection, popularity, toughness and sexuality (Currie, et al., 2009). The emergent scholarly interest in girls has resulted in a dialogue and melding of a range of fields including (but not limited to) education, psychology, communications, sociology, politics and cultural studies. This has generated new ways of thinking about the complexities and ongoing process of girl identity, ranging from girlhood as compromised (Brown and Gilligan, 1993; Gilligan, 1982), girlhood as culture (McRobbie, 1994), girlhood as consumerism (Driscoll, 2002) and girlhood as problematic (Mazzarella and Pecora, 2007).

Distilled from this multidisciplinary research, two interrelated yet seemingly contradictory discourses have emerged depicting modern girlhood as either in a state of emergency or offering unprecedented promise (Gonick, 2006). Currently missing from this polarized perspective of young femininities is a critical discussion of how online social networks provide a unique venue for creating and expressing complex and competing subjectivities of girlhood. While the current crisis versus power continuum of girl studies indicates important formulations of what it means to grow up female, we offer another dimension, one that takes into account how communication technology influences the conditions and processes by which young women and girls manage female identity.

In particular, our aim is to examine how young females engage in online communities and use these virtual social spaces to access a new kind of visibility, thus providing a unique social lens on how normative forms of femininity are perceived and articulated by girls today. By exploring the content and meaning of online interactions, our analysis seeks to answer how the most popular social networking site (SNS), Facebook, works to inform and broaden the current discussion and in the process helps to create a middle ground for understanding modern girlhood.

 

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Background

Female adolescence is typically a highly controlled and managed process, with considerable social pressure being applied to ensure that girls safely transition into normative womanhood. This ongoing process occurs in a variety of interactional arenas (i.e., family, school, peer groups), and is further influenced through old and new forms of media. Since the early 1990s, gender research has intersected with youth studies, resulting in a growing body of literature seeking to understand the gendered specificities of female adolescence against the backdrop of social, economic and generational shifts. Two major discourses have emerged that characterize young women as either “vulnerable” and “at risk” or “powerful” and “capable.”

The competing expectations surrounding the current and future state of girlhood have been linked to what some researchers see as a larger transformation of gendered identities brought on by the dramatic changes in the economic order and the dismantling of postwar social structures (Aapola, et al., 2005; Gonick, 2006). Within this neoliberal context, advocates from both sides of the girlhood debate see girls’ development linked to these complex social transformations. Girl Power advocates, for example, view these changes as instrumental in providing expansive forms of femininity (Budgeon, 1998), giving girls today increased access to unprecedented independence and power. In this context, girls have the power to create their own identity and establish who they want to be. In contrast, the Ophelia discourse presents a wholly different outlook, viewing this expansion of options for girls as overly idealized and unrealistic, further cultivating a state of anxiety for girls who are unable to measure up (Reay, 2001; Walkerdine, et al., 2001). Unlike the take charge dynamism of Girl Power, this perspective holds that the pressures of “having it all” in a society that has yet to fully dismantle endemic gender disparities, has had a reverse effect, with girls internalizing social inequalities and expressing them through depression, eating disorders, and high risk behaviors (Aapola, et al., 2005).

The Ophelia Girl

The “girls at risk” perspective is rooted in the Ophelia discourse (see Pipher, 1994) where girls’ identities are often in conflict with a number of confining social and cultural messages that dictate “correct” girl behavior. Under these restrictive views, girls have become fragile, vulnerable and voiceless. While the transition into adolescence is often challenging, it is particularly difficult for young girls today because of what some observers view as a “girl–hostile culture” that does not allow girls the space to freely express themselves (Pipher, 1994; Gillian, 1982).

According to the Ophelia argument, unrealistic and unobtainable media images leave a lasting impression on adolescent girls, often forcing them to replace their authentic selves with a false self. Overtime, this leads to confusion and depression for many females (Pipher, 1994). Given that adolescence is a time for emotional and physical change, this confusion and depression feed into the demeaning cultural stereotype of the “emotional female.” Although much of the earlier research on youth culture is predicated largely on the boy experience, with young females either absent or an afterthought in the discussion (McRobbie, 1994), later studies on youth have moved toward a more gender inclusive perspective. Ironically, in the process of this expanded interest in girls’ development, a backlash emerged as girls who did not measure up or failed to take advantage of new opportunities were seen as fragile and vulnerable.

Studies have documented the decline of self–esteem and academic performance during the time young girls enter adolescence (Brown and Gilligan, 1993; Brumberg, 2000; Sadker and Sadker, 1994) showing how girls have been historically negated, trivialized and marginalized (Brown and Gilligan, 1993; de Beauvoir, 1953; Gilligan, 1982). Growing concern over girls’ lower performance and less competitive academic goals moved to the forefront as research began linking these girlhood deficiencies to biases found in the classroom and to lower self–esteem often characterizing typical adolescence (American Association of University Women, 1992; Sadker and Sadker, 1994). Much of the literature focusing on girlhood began to reflect a treacherous terrain for girls, with female adolescence taking on “a social representation of disordered development” (Gonick, 2006).

Girl Power Girl

Simultaneous to the Ophelia discourse, the Girl Power movement emerged in the early 1990s, setting up a competing definition of girlhood. Unlike the silenced Ophelia girls who are depicted as passive, fragile and vulnerable, Girl Power girls are assertive, dynamic and unbounded from the constraints of normative femininity (Gonick, 2003). Accordingly, these girls are accessing and expressing new forms of independence and power, and in the process, establishing their own definitions of girlhood.

The term Girl Power was coined within the young radical feminist movement that situated itself within this context of modern girlhood being in a “state of emergency”. One of the first groups to organize — Riot Grrls — positioned their message in direct opposition to the traditional patriarchal structures of status and hierarchies (Hesford, 1999). Linked to the alternative music culture in the U.S. and the U.K., Riot Grrls used music as the primary tool to organize and drive the movement forward. With its DYI (Do It Yourself) message of social change, Girl Power became a catchphrase for the individualized expression of female ambition (Harris, 2004). According to Gonick (2006) and Garrison (2000), the movement was a response to the exclusionary practices of the male oriented music scenes where girls were considered less than full members. Instead of the usual typecasting girls as “ornamental” and passive consumers of social fads, Riot Grrls used the Girl Power movement to encourage girls to become active producers and creators through vocalizing their dissent, and in the process, created a movement by girls and for girls (Riordan, 2001).

Riot Grrls was instrumental in propelling the Girl Power movement into mainstream media, promoting cultural identities (i.e., Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Spice Girls) and products (i.e., self–styled “zines” and Web sites) as well as instigating a number of public debates and policy initiatives (Gonick, 2006). Some celebrated the movement for bringing feminism into the lives of young women through accessible and popular venues (Projansky and Vande Berg, 2000), while others viewed the movement as exemplifying crass Madison Avenue commercialization and undermining the core values of the feminist ideal (Taft, 2001; Goldman, 1992; Driscoll, 1999; Riordan, 2001).

The Facebook Girl

While there are ample examples illustrating how girls both resist and accommodate this “power vs. crisis” discourse, this dichotomy does not, however, fully reflect the multiple identities girls occupy in their social environments today. In particular, as social exchanges among young people today increasingly move to the realm of SNSs, current discussions regarding the state of modern girlhood need to include how online networks such as Facebook relate to the reconfiguration of feminine identities. As girls increasingly gravitate toward virtual spaces for social exchanges, and at the same time use, create and disseminate information, there is a growing challenge to understand how these public spheres offer new and expanded social worlds for girls. If, for example, the Ophelia discourse views girls as being silenced because of a lack of space for them to articulate freely, then examination into how online social communities offer new avenues for self–expression is essential. Additionally, if the Girl Power movement sees girls as reclaiming ownership over their feminine identities, then analysis is needed to better understand how the dismantling of traditional social barriers in cyberspace presents new avenues for navigating the pathway to adulthood.

For over two decades, research on the relationship between gender and technology has focused on a divide in terms of access and use — favoring boys and young men. This early research found that excelling in computers and related technology raised social risks for girls and their feminine identities (Herring, 2003; Margolis and Fisher, 2002), thus making the realm of computer technology far from gender–neutral. However, more recent research into online computer use has indicated a narrowing of this gender gap, with the Internet being increasingly viewed as a critical resource for young women to actively manipulate the borders between public and private social spaces, often acting like a clubhouse for girls (Takayoshi, 1999). Managing these spaces is often seen as fluid and open–ended, where young girls are writing (and rewriting) their self–presentations. Such flexibility speaks to young women as they increasingly dominate SNSs and use these platforms for creating self–styled social spaces. Today, females spend more time on social networking sites and outnumber their male counterparts in terms of new Web users by a small yet growing margin (Pew Research Center, 2010). Such involvement not only allows young women to actively participate in today’s digital mainstream, but also allows them bi–directional access to both consume and create information about who they are and who they want to become.

In the following discussion, we show how Facebook provides a “virtual two–way mirror”, allowing girls and young women new ways to see themselves and to be seen by others. Within this context, this research explores how Facebook provides expanded social venues for young girls to express, experiment and negotiate femininities, while confronting unprecedented challenges and opportunities in navigating the path to adulthood. Specifically we seek to explore how a group of young women in Hong Kong (aged between 16–22) uses online communities for defining and expressing youthful feminine identities and examine how virtual communities are structured and socially shaped with respect to the construction and deconstruction of normative feminine identities.

 

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Research design

A total of 25 females were interviewed regarding their online experiences, thoughts and behaviors. A snowball sampling of 25 respondents was included, with all participants living in Hong Kong. The population was accessed from various school settings and reflected a mix of Chinese, South Asian, North American and European Facebook users, with the majority of respondents being Chinese (i.e., Chinese N=19; non–Chinese/international N=6). All participants were enrolled full time in a secondary or tertiary education program, and reported using Facebook on average five days a week. The age range of participants was 16–26 years old. The necessary ethics approval was obtained in advanced and all respondents signed a consent form that briefly described the study. All participants were also given a debriefing at the conclusion of the interview.

Interview questions regarding participants’ Facebook involvement were structured along three key themes: (1) general use; (2) social and emotional benefits experienced; and, (3) expression of self and identity. In order to measure Facebook use, respondents were asked the amount of time spent using Facebook and asked to differentiate their use by activities (i.e., the amount of time used for posting information versus reading other online posts). Respondents were also asked specific questions regarding their motivations for using Facebook and how these social exchanges differed from socializing in off–line spaces. These responses were subsequently coded and placed into thematic categories. Before the study began, a pilot questionnaire was distributed to a smaller group of respondents to ensure that the questions were valid and would reliably extract data relating to the overarching themes of this research. It should also be noted that while we recognize that the sample is relatively small, our aim here is to initiate a new discussion on exploring how online spaces provide unique and flexible ways for girls to experiment and construct contemporary forms of feminine identity.

Hong Kong was selected as a field site for two primary reasons. First, as early adapters to technology, Hong Kong offers a unique arena for examining how our expanding digital culture intersects with issues of gender. Second, much of the literature to date examines how technology has been linked largely to a North American and European perspective, leaving Hong Kong and other Asian populations unexamined. With Facebook made available to a vast number of young people, Hong Kong not only provides an excellent population for exploring how technology affects youth today, but also offers new opportunities for expanding theoretical and social understanding of girlhood in the new millennium.

 

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Results and discussion

Our aim in this research is to explore the two contrasting portrayals of girlhood as depicted in the Ophelia and Girl Power debate. In doing so, we seek to show that, with the introduction and integration of Facebook, girls and young women are neither passive recipients of cultural messages nor are they rejecting normative femininity. Instead, we suggest that Facebook allows girls and young women on both sides of the dichotomy to create identities of choice.

Facebook and Ophelia

The Ophelia discourse underscores the important roles media play in conveying unrealistic messages of the “feminine ideal” and how striving for these unattainable gendered standards ultimately causes girls to become anxious and unhappy with their real selves. While the girls and young women in this study articulate how Facebook can facilitate this normative and idealized image, they also recognize how it can be used to move beyond these boundaries to create a flexible and ever changing presentation of self. Cheryl, a 22 year–old Hong Kong Chinese female explains how Facebook provides the latitude to experiment with alternative self–images:

You can control what kind of image you want everyone to see. People always pick the best photos to post — I do it too. I will change my profile picture whenever I have a better picture of myself. Sometimes I even pick a picture that looks really ugly and different. Just to mix things up. I think that everyone knows what everyone looks like in real life so when you go to Facebook and see how someone looks you know that this is just a photo. Maybe even enhanced by Photoshop. Everyone is guilty of this. It’s ok. No one minds too much. You just know that is the nature of technology and you don’t feel less about how you look.

I like to change my profile picture a lot. I have so many profile pictures. They are all different but they are also all me. Some of them are of me when I was little, or when I was wearing something I made or bought something new.

According to the Ophelia discourse, the media goes beyond constructing unrealistic images of youthful femininity to problematizing the “making” of girls. That is, girlhood is the social problem with the need to “fix girls” becoming a prevailing theme. Thus, the dialogue framing girlhood has been relegated from fixing the endemic social structures that create gender inequalities to fixing the girl herself. Yet our respondents did not perceive themselves as weak and in need of specialized attention. In fact, most young women reported feeling “more in control” when communicating online, saying how they were their own “personal mechanics.” Dianne and Ella, both 19 years of age describes it this way:

Dianne (Chinese): I can fix how I feel when I am on Facebook. I don’t have to worry about people over–judging me. I can just be myself. It’s like being a car mechanic but you adjust yourself to run better.

Ella (North American): I can do my own adjustments — I know that if I behaved in a way that I overstepped the boundary with a friend say like in a face–to–face conversation I can go to Facebook and explain myself in a way that clears things up. The person I am writing to knows I am addressing her directly — even if I post it on my wall and everyone reads it. I would not feel as easy about doing this face–to–face. It just makes me feel more in charge of my life.

Drawn from these young women’s accounts as well as other respondents in this study, Facebook provides an avenue for liberating oneself from the confines of normative femininity by allowing a platform for conveying alternative, flexible, and more direct expressions of self.

While various forms of media play a large role in undermining girls’ self–esteem, Pipher (1994) also argues that the authentic self of young girls becomes further diminished as girls negotiate the many self–doubting messages transmitted through various genderizing social systems like school, sports, social clubs and health services. Gilligan (1982) has also found that this crisis in self–esteem may never be fully resolved in adulthood. We found in our study, however, that girls and young women often use Facebook as a tool to help them transition from the uncertainties of adolescence. As Christine, a 23 year–old Chinese student recalls:

I remember a few years ago when I was just beginning secondary school I was so trusting and naïve. I could not even talk to a boy. I was so insecure because I was always told by my parents how to be a good girl and how to dress and behave. My school was all–female Catholic and the nuns really would shame us if we did not behave properly. My friends and I discovered Xanga and Friendster then Facebook. It was so freeing! We would try all kinds of things and flirt and do things that were so not what the nuns wanted from us or our parents neither. I think this experience was so good because I am able to have so much more confidence. Part of it is just growing up, for sure, but also we had so much fun being other people on Xanga and Facebook. It was like I could act like another person and no one could judge. It has helped me go through some tough times when I was younger.

Early studies on gender and computer–mediated communication found that the shift from face–to–face to text exchanges helps reduce social exclusion and bias (see Herring, 2003). While exchanges on Facebook do not completely eliminate social exclusion, our respondents indicate how Facebook offers a more encompassing space for constructing feminine identities which transcend the more fixed forms found in “real life”. For example, the majority of young women in this study reported feeling less restricted on Facebook, thus allowing them more freedom to test out alternative “selves.” This was captured in an interview with Anna, a 19 year–old North American female:

You just don’t worry so much about being criticized when you are on Facebook. You can be more direct and people are not going to judge you. You ask questions and answer questions in a way you could never do face–to–face. You can just test out a way of expressing yourself. If you are in a mood it’s ok. You can change the next day. No one thinks you’re psycho.

Similarly 20 year–old Beth, another North American, offers:

You can test to see what works. It’s just like changing your wardrobe, except you change a deeper part of yourself.

With girlhood being perceived as a time of vulnerability, parental concern over the well–being of daughters often results in close monitoring to ensure they are “safe” (Boneva, et al., 2006). While many of the activities of adolescent girls are regulated by parents, online activities and conversations are not generally supervised. In this way, Facebook provides an ideal venue for young women to escape the well–intended but often overpowering control and expectations of adults. Alice, a 19 year–old Chinese student captures the sentiment of many other respondents, when she describes how Facebook allows her more freedom from parental oversight:

My mom tried to join my Facebook but she doesn’t know too much about how it works. I usually communicate in English and she only knows Chinese so this helps me to avoid her stalking me. I know she cares but Facebook is my time with my friends where I can really be free from expectations. I am just me.

Similarly Facebook offers young women in this study a means for reflecting and contemplating how they want to present themselves to others. The time to reflect on what they want to convey is often viewed as an opportunity to extend their self–expression. Bonnie, a 23 year–old Chinese university student states:

When you are in a face–to–face conversation, you cannot hesitate ... you need to carry on the conversation and sometimes you might agree with something you don’t really want or if you blush or something ... the other person can see you. It interrupts what you really want to say. Online you can take more time. You can think about what you want to say and this can have more real meaning.

Likewise sending messages through Facebook also allows for a “quick and easy” means to extend face–to–face conversations — again, providing a way to experiment in defining one’s “true self”. Cathy, a 24 year–old North American, comments on how communicating through Facebook helps maintain and deepen social friendships:

When you are on Facebook you can just be with friends and say what you want and this lets you keep a friendship alive. You might see the person everyday and still go on Facebook but it is a way of keeping the connection emotionally. It gives friendships more meaning. Your really understand who you are when it comes to your friends. Facebook lets you keep really connected to important friendships. You can look back at different conversations and remember different parts of yourself.

Facebook and Girl Power

The Girl Power movement has been celebrated for expanding forms of feminine identity, allowing girls and young women access to more powerful images of what it means to be female in the modern world. According to Gonick (2006), underlying the neoliberalism ideology reflected in modern girlhood is the notion that “anyone who works hard can get ahead” and this is often represented in the process of individualization that stretches over a young woman’s multiple social, work and personal selves. The articulation of identity becomes in contemporary times one of choice and self–determination (Giddens, 1991). This was also reflected in the findings from this research with the majority of respondents reporting that Facebook allows them to choose and change who they want to be. Jena, a 22 year–old Chinese, describes how Facebook provides a flexible space for testing out behaviors:

I do not have to be too concerned with expectations placed on me. I sometime change my mood on Facebook because I want to see what reaction I can get and if it is a good one.

Budgeon (1998) also found young woman seek out ways to evaluate the many cultural representations of ultimate femininity. Likewise, our respondents found Facebook to be the ideal space for accepting and/or rejecting the social structures defining the “ideal” girl. Stella, a 16 year–old European living in Hong Kong, states:

I feel that I can be a little more real on Facebook. I mean I still have to be careful not to offend some one because the whole world is watching. But if I am IMing someone on Facebook then I can a lot more direct. I do not have to worry about swearing or doing something un–feminine. I also can use Facebook and not have to worry about how I look. I can have terrible hair and no makeup and still be myself. I could never do that face–to–face. What I get judged on in the real world is not the same for Facebook. It is so less restrictive! That’s why I think it is so popular among my girl friends.

However, as many Girl Power researchers have articulated, maximizing the new found benefits of modern life (Aapola, et al., 2005) does not come without a “catch”. Reay (2001) found that the notion of Girl Power is often contradictory. On the one hand, it gives young girls increased power to escape gender subordination while at the same time, limits behaviors by administering harsh social reprimands for any deviations from the norm. On Facebook, however, these two extremes are not so sharply delineated. Dianne, a young Chinese women aged 20 summaries a major pattern emerging from the data:

Dianne: On Facebook, you just have to remember to be yourself. Not what others think you are and what is expected. You can really just express how you’re feeling at that time. You have many moods and so does your Facebook. It’s all you and it’s okay. No one thinks you’re schizophrenic. You can be sexy, tough and kind as long as you are real.

Similarly, Francis, an 18 year–old European girl and recent graduate of secondary school, explains:

I know that when I say something totally outrageous on Facebook people are going to laugh. If I were to the same thing face–to–face it would be social suicide. It’s nice I can be free on Facebook.

As a number of researchers have noted, the study of girlhood has been placed in the context of the modern reflexive individual (Harris, 2004; Walkerdine, et al., 2001). Due to the lessening of social structures that have historically regulated the gendering of identities, personal biographies are increasingly under individual control (see Giddens, 1991), with the newly modernized identity being characterized as individualized, flexible and self–made (Harris, 2004). While some have argued that this particularly speaks to privileged white males who have access to the resources to construct their identity more easily than females and other marginalized populations (Currie, et al., 2009), this limiting of resources does not seem to be the case in the virtual world of Facebook. Kate, a 15 year–old Chinese student explains a recurring sentiment among respondents:

It is easy to have your own personality on Facebook. You change your profile picture anytime you want. I sometimes post a picture that says how I am feeling. It lets me express a part of myself that I could not do so easily when I am off–line. You can be a real individual when on Facebook. You can also be a little fake too but isn’t that just being human? It is so flexible in letting you express how you want others to know you.

Some observers criticize the Girl Power movement for transforming its feminist ideals into “crass consumerism” with its bombardment of messages to young women to remake themselves through purchasing products infused with Girl Power ideology — resulting in “consuming oneself into being” (Walkerdine, 2003). Girl Power girls are often equated with a heighten interest in “getting the look” and in doing so, undermine the fundamental messages of female empowerment espoused by the Girl Power movement. Respondents in this study found Facebook communication circumvents some of the disadvantages of binding feminine identity with consumerism, often citing how online exchanges allow them to dress, look and feel more naturally. Ivana, another Chinese teen aged 16, states:

No one knows what you are wearing when you post something on your (Facebook) wall. You can be in pajamas and have no makeup. It makes you feel more relaxed because you don’t have to worry about mascara or what style of clothes you have. You could never talk face–to–face looking the same way and not be judged in a negative way. In real life you are always looking in a way that takes a lot of time and costs money and sometimes it’s not as real as when you are on your computer.

This authenticity of self–identity is poignantly summarized by Patty, a 16 year–old South Asian girl, living in Hong Kong:

On Facebook, you look more real. When you look more like you, you are more you.

 

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Conclusion

The Ophelia and Girl Power discussions offer opposing and important qualifiers of femininity. By focusing on the structural and social inequalities confronting young women today, these two contrasting positions offer a rich context for exploring how young females navigate the shifting terrain of modern girlhood. As a way of maintaining the focus on girlhood — and not on the current “either–or” proposition presented by these two discourses — this research examines the role Facebook plays in bridging those who celebrate girls and those who issue grim predictions. More specifically, as shown in this research, girls and young women are carving out their own spaces to self–express femininity and in the process, provide an expanded view on how girls and young women shape and take command of their own unique identities. Thus, as social scientists, technologists and feminists argue for and against the future of girlhood, young girls in Hong Kong are flying below the radar of this rescue versus empowerment debate by constructing wholly new spaces to create, experiment and express unique forms of femininity. In this way, Facebook use among young women not only expands the discussions framing current literature on girlhood by offering a window into what is possible but also offers a way for leveraging change in the new millennium. End of article

 

About the authors

Dr. Marissa Dean is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Hong Kong. Her area of research focuses on examining key debates surrounding globalization against the backdrop of today’s digital society. Particular emphasis is placed on newly emerging cybersocieties and their impact on today’s Generation Y. Marissa also explores ways in which technology can be used to spur social integration among marginalized populations.
E–mail: mtdean [at] hku [dot] hk

Professor Karen Joe Laidler received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Davis. Currently, she is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong. Karen’s research in the U.S. and Hong Kong focuses on gender and marginalization among young people.

 

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Editorial history

Received 3 September 2012; accepted 15 January 2013.


Copyright © 2013, First Monday.
Copyright © 2013, Marissa Dean and Karen Laidler.

A new girl in town: Exploring girlhood identities through Facebook
by Marissa Dean and Karen Laidler
First Monday, Volume 18, Number 2 - 4 February 2013
http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4230/3412
doi:10.5210/fm.v18i2.4230





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