Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
feminist, fiction, postfeminist, adolescent development, popular culture
This thesis discusses “chick-lit” series in relation to popular culture, adolescent development, and feminist theory. The role of the female in the United States is currently dominated by both neo-liberal and conservative postfeminist ideology. Postfeminism advocates female empowerment via consumption, sexual attractiveness and physical beauty, while at the same time valorizing passive femininity and the roles of wife and mother. Chick-lit fiction provides a means by which postfeminist messages can be examined as they are presented to adolescent girl audiences, and reveals that the influence of this discourse over female subjectivity is inherently patriarchal. As a genre, chick lit is often dismissed as having little literary value; however, its overwhelming popularity with adolescent readers, including the adaptation of the Gossip Girl and Twilight novels into a primetime television show and blockbuster film series, warrants a more extensive critical analysis. The facilitation of a postfeminist economic, physical and sexual role for adolescent girls is evident in the five series I examine: The A-List, The Clique, Gossip Girl, The It Girl, and Twilight. Theories of adolescent development and interviews with adolescent girls reveal the way in which the chick-lit genre also reflects girls’ experiences—and resilience—within contemporary US culture.
O'Connor, Sarah T., "The Girl in the Postfeminist World: Rethinking the Impact of Chick-Lit Fiction" (2011). Honors Theses. 1038.