‘Boys don’t like girls for funniness’: Raunch Culture and the British Tween Film

  • Louise Wilks University of Liverpool

Abstract

This paper discusses representations of teenage girls in three contemporary British film productions or co-productions, aimed at the “tween” market (defined as nine to fourteen year old females). Such texts are examined in the context of a British equivalent of ‘raunch culture’ (Levy, 2006), a strand of postfeminism that I propose characterises the decade in which they were released. The films engage with contemporary debates regarding the media’s alleged sexualising impact on tweens and the body ideals it impresses upon them. Drawing on McRobbie’s notion of ‘double entanglement’ (2009), I consider their negotiations of a conflict between sexuality and a perception of childhood innocence, which produces contradictory interpellations of their teenage female characters. While the films to some extent critique the perception that investment in raunch culture “empowers” teenage girls, elements of the texts also simultaneously celebrate the commodified young woman’s body, inciting cultural anxieties about the ways tweens are represented. All three films depict girls’ attempts at embodying a ‘postfeminist masquerade’ (McRobbie, 2009) of excessive femininity as a means to (faux) empowerment. I argue that this apparent “empowerment” is particularly hollow for tweens, their actions simply reinforcing patriarchal norms that envisage females as nothing but objects.
Published
February 23, 2012
How to Cite
WILKS, Louise. ‘Boys don’t like girls for funniness’: Raunch Culture and the British Tween Film. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 1, feb. 2012. ISSN 1755-9944. Available at: <http://ojs.meccsa.org.uk/index.php/netknow/article/view/249>. Date accessed: 25 sep. 2017.