I Could Visit Her Blog Just Because She’s so Stupid: A Study of how Gendered Norms and Discourses Surrounding Girls’ Blogging Habits are Created and how the Girls’ Negotiate Around Them

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General introduction

This publication is the end product of the Invisible Girl project, an international, Swedish­based and multi­disciplinary research project in which the interplay of power relations, gender, and age was the primary object of study. The project was global in its scope and included researchers and artists from Australia, Canada, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Estonia, India, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria,
Serbia, South Africa, Sweden and The UK.

The name of the project is inspired by Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man from 1952. Just like Ellison portrays black Americans as being socially invisible, it is possible to view girls as invisible in the sense that their actions and competences cannot be adequately described with the existing male­normative terminology. Is she made socially and linguistically invisible and not seen as a real person?

Another inspiration is the philosophy behind Magritte’s (1929) painting “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” [This is not a pipe], often interpreted as pointing out that the painting is not a pipe but an image of a pipe. The same metaphor illuminates the philosophical essence of the Invisible Girl. When we talk about blogging girls, gamer girls, helpless girls, out­of­control­on­the­internet girls, girls as foolish innocents who invite sexual predation is this girls’ reality or images of it? Are girls hidden
in the notion of the gendered “Other”, in the general idea of a girl category?

This body of work forms a counter story including the voice of marginalized groups with the explicit aim to challenge privileged discourses. From a normcritical perspective the aim is to question accepted worldviews or implicit agreements about girls, how they are mediated by i.e. images, movies and stories, which produce sexist stereotypes, at different societal levels. Stories, which contradict and present the world from different perspectives, are important for exposing stereotyping practices and how they are developed. The overarching research approach of the Invisible Girl Project is critical and derives from the tension between common notions about girlhood, girls’ own experiences and contemporary research.

We suggest that the understanding of the concepts ‘girls’ and ‘girlhood’ are socially constructed and that their associated meanings are continually shaped
and re­shaped by social actors in particular situations. Certain historical, social, political, cultural, economic, ethnic, religious and gender values may also inform these meanings. Approaching the invisible girl as a verb rather as a noun this publication may be seen as an exploration of contemporary conditions for how girls become girls and form girl identities. We do not aspire to present a generalized image of The Girl. Providing examples of how to become a girl is an individual experience but also a global phenomenon, the contributions to our publication offer important aspects of what it could mean to become a girl today. What practices are instrumental when girls become girls? And how have these questions been answered in different cultural contexts?

Excerpt for my chapter:

Web blogs and web blogging is a subject of constant debate. Do the blogs change our way of thinking about media and work as a democratic force, or are they simply a waste of time? Why do millions of Swedes want to read about the everyday life of a few spoiled teenage girls? Is the era of the printed word over? In the past few years, all these questions and many others have appeared in different forms in the Swedish mainstream media.

This study aims to create a picture of the media climate surrounding girls’ web
blogging by examining a number of Swedish news articles concerning blogs, as well as look deeper into how the discourses surrounding this phenomenon
are created and prescribed with meaning. I am also interested in how girls understand their blogging practices and relate to contemporary media discourses. Questions about how the bloggers negotiate their understanding of this practice, as well as what gendered norms become visible in their reasoning, will be answered with the help of five girls in a focused group interview. In addition to that, I explore
whether feminist standpoints or strategies of resistance can be detected among the girls. As a result of the two different research methods the dynamic power relation between bloggers and mass media becomes visible.

This study show how girls are encouraged by a contemporary societal discourse to consume and focus on their appearance, and in doing so creating their own social context, something for which the blog as a medium is well adjusted. On the other hand the girls are invalidated and reprimanded when following the rules of this discourse, as a result of girls’ interests being preconditioned as uninteresting.
Mainstream media combines an adult interpretative prerogative which “others” young people, with a focus on the femininely connoted intimacy and subjectivity, which creates a highly derogatory discourse for those who are placed in both constructed categories: young girls

Blogging has, although it exists within a framework of a commercial market, become a major social movement among Swedish girls, where important cultural codes and communities are created. The body of evidence in this study shows how the ever­growing readership and influence over old-style media that blogs retain, while at the same time being defined by the same, points toward a dynamic power relationship where no party is unaffected by the other.
Titel på värdpublikationInvisible Girl: "Ceci n'est pas une fille"
RedaktörerGun-Marie Frånberg, Camilla Hällgren, Elza Dunkels
FörlagUmeå University
ISBN (tryckt)978-91-7459-462-1
StatusPublished - 2012 nov. 2

Bibliografisk information

This publication is based on my bachelor thesis in Gender studies at Uppsala university, but was adapted for this peer-reviewed research anthology.

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Genusstudier
  • Pedagogik
  • Tvärvetenskapliga studier


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