Professor Janice Radway, Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication at Northwestern University, discusses the pervasiive influence of girl "zines" of the 1990s on girls of today. During the 1990s, a vigorous public debate developed about the meaning of girlhood and the character, challenges, and opportunities facing girls in the aftermath of the women''s movement. Girls themselves appeared in these debates largely through the representations of others.
However, a distinct cohort of girls who were critical of all sorts of ideas about girlhood began to self-publish their own "zines" and actively talked back to widely held ideas about them, and about what their futures might look like. In the process, they produced an astonishing archive of real girl thoughts, emotions, and hopes for the future, and made themselves into a cohort of intelligent,opinionated, highly successful adults. This lecture will look back at the self-publishing efforts of girls in the 1990s, consider how this activity changed them, and discuss the implications of all of this for contemporary girls. Part of the Evanston Northwestern Humanities Lecture series.