University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Childhood & Youth Studies: Holley Wlodarczyk and Kysa Hubbard, Apr. 17, 2014

Download as: audio, podcast video, or original.


Download as: audio, podcast video, or original.

Women and/or Children First: Girlhood, Sexuality and Safety in Suburban Visual Media

Holley Wlodarczyk, Ph.D., CSCL

wlodarczykIn the 2011 network trailer for ABC’s hit sitcom, Suburgatory, a teenager complains about how her single father uprooted her from city life following “condomgate,” seeking a more wholesome suburban haven. Despite this popular consensus that suburbia is the best place to raise children, certain trends in visual culture contest longstanding myths of suburban safety and security. Looking at a range of media texts that explore issues of danger to the family unit in which women and children are positioned as the most vulnerable potential casualties, this paper addresses the figure of (pre)adolescent girlhood as situated in this cultural landscape, and how both physical and moral threats to girls in this liminal state between childhood and adulthood pose a fundamental challenge to the notion of suburbia as “safe space.” The place of girl children and teenage girls in this context is itself not culturally fixed, fluctuating between the status of dependent child evoking innocence and naiveté, and an emergent feminine sexuality that is yet to be domesticated by marriage and motherhood. While suburbia is widely understood to be the ideal environment in which this transition might be safely navigated, a variety of televisual, filmic, and photographic texts illustrate hazards specific to suburban girls that lurk within the familiarity of their homes and neighborhoods, further complicating common assumptions about both girlhood and suburbia.

In the Name of Whose Protection? Class, Race, and the (Unconscious?) Eroticization of Girls

Kysa Hubbard, Ph.D., CSCL

Childhood and Youth HubbardThis talk explores the intersection of class and race in the cultural eroticization of girl children, considering, among other things, how deeply rooted – mostly unconscious – historical associations between gender, class, race, and sexuality permeate contemporary cultural images, narratives, and debates surrounding and constituting the Eroticized Child.

This talk was organized by the IAS Childhood and Youth Studies Collaborative, and occurred on April 17, 2014, 1:30-3:30pm, in
235 Nolte Center.

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  1. NebelApril 13, 2014 at 11:47 amReply

    Is there a possibility that this might be recorded for those of us who have class during this time?

    • Ann WaltnerApril 13, 2014 at 2:43 pmReply

      Yes, we record most presentations, if the presenters agree (and most of them do). Video will be on this page within a couple of days of the presentation.

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