American Sweethearts

American Sweethearts : Teenage Girls in Twentieth-Century Popular Culture

3.84 (25 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Teenage girls seem to have been discovered by American pop culture in the 1930s. From that time until the present day, they have appeared in books and films, comics and television, as the embodied fantasies and nightmares of youth, women, and sexual maturation.

Looking at such figures as Nancy Drew, Judy Graves, Corliss Archer, Gidget, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Britney Spears, American Sweethearts shows how popular culture has shaped our view of the adolescent girl as an individual who is simultaneously sexualized and infantilized. While young women have received some positive lessons from these cultural icons, the overwhelming message conveyed by the characters and stories they inhabit stresses the dominance of the father and the teenage girl's otherness, subordination, and ineptitude.

As sweet as a cherry lollipop and as tangy as a Sweetart, this book is an entertaining yet thoughtful exploration of the image of the American girl.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 280 pages
  • 154.9 x 233.7 x 20.3mm | 453.6g
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 7 b&w photos
  • 0253218020
  • 9780253218025
  • 1,791,268

Table of contents

1. Radical Notions: Nancy Drew and Her Readers, 19301949
2. "Pretty Baby": Nancy Drew Goes to Hollywood
3. "Delightfully Dangerous" Girls in the 1940s
4. The Postwar Fall and Rise of Teen Girls
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Review quote

Nash's book is a fascinating and insightful look at the figure of the teenage American girl through the guise of popular culture. . . .Compelling and and persuasive, American Sweethearts goes a long way in showing where our mid-century views of teenage women came from, and, sadly, how those stereotypes still pervade our popular culture to this day. * Bloomsbury Review * . . . Nash . . . adds to growing body of work in 'girls' studies.' . . . Overall, this book makes a valuable contribution to this emergent field. . . . Recommended. * Choice *
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About Ilana Nash

Ilana Nash is Assistant Professor of English at Western Michigan University. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
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Rating details

25 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 24% (6)
4 44% (11)
3 24% (6)
2 8% (2)
1 0% (0)
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