A new girl in town: Exploring girlhood identities through Facebook

  • Marissa Dean
  • Karen Laidler
Keywords: Girlhood, Femininities, Identity, Social Networking, Facebook, Girl power


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.
How to Cite
Dean, M., & Laidler, K. (2013). A new girl in town: Exploring girlhood identities through Facebook. First Monday, 18(2). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v18i2.4230