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Girl Trouble


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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. White slavery and the seduction of innocents
  • 2. Unwomanly types: New Women, revolting daughters and rebel girls
  • 3. Brazen flappers, bright young things and 'Miss Modern'
  • 4. Good-time girls, baby dolls and teenage brides
  • 5. Coming of age in the 1960s: beat girls and dolly birds
  • 6. Taking liberties: panic over permissiveness and women's liberation
  • 7. Body anxieties, depressives, ladettes and living dolls: what happened to girl power?
  • 8. Looking back

About the Author

Carol Dyhouse is a social historian and currently a research professor of history at the University of Sussex. Her most recent book, Glamour: Women, History, Feminism was published by Zed Books in 2010. Longer term, her research has focussed on gender, education and the pattern of women's lives in nineteenth and twentieth century Britain. Her books include Girls Growing Up in late Victorian and Edwardian England; Feminism and the Family in England, 1890-1939; No Distinction of Sex? Women in British Universities, 1870-1939; and Students: A Gendered History.


'There's a certain twisted pleasure to be had from revisiting some of the wild and wonderful things that men (and women, too) have believed in the past about women's incapacity for education and employment.' Guardian 'Fascinating' Mail on Sunday 'Dyhouse's analysis of the sexual revolution of the 1960s is deliciously smart. The book is a loud, disturbing, eloquent, and crucial rallying cry against the concept of a 'post-feminist' world, a narrative deeply relevant today.' Publishers Weekly 'Carol Dyhouse's Girl Trouble is a brilliant, magisterial and moving account of the changes and continuities in the history of young women from the Victorian period to the present day. Ranging with great assurance across a dazzling array of sources, from court cases to film, popular music and political commentary, Dyhouse shows how the lives of young women and debates over youthful femininity lie at the very heart of modern British history and society. Girl Trouble is intellectually provocative, laced through with wit and acuity, and a model of historical writing. It deserves the widest possible readership.' Stephen Brooke, Professor of History, York University, Toronto 'Girl Trouble offers readers an accessible and beautifully written history of adolescent girls and young women from the late Victorian era to Cameron's twenty-first-century Britain. Balancing animated accounts of girls' adventures on the cultural scene with sober analyses of the "moral panics" they caused, Carol Dyhouse has written a thought-provoking book so brimming with stories and insights that it is practically impossible to put down.' Birgitte Soland, Professor of History, Ohio State University 'Girl Trouble will appeal to an academic and general audience as Dyhouse turns her historian's eye to an investigation of stereotypes of bad girls from suffragettes to flappers and Beatlemania to girlpower. Meticulous and detailed research unearths familiar and not so familiar narratives of girls gone wrong. Lively, engaging and scholarly, this is a book to be read from cover to cover or to dip into. Richly illustrated, it will evoke memories and perhaps cause a few blushes as Dyhouse's incisive analysis puts young women and their detractors under the spotlight.' Stephanie Spencer, author of Gender, Work and Education in Britain in the 1950s 'Written by a leading researcher in the field, this lucid and lively book traces what it means to be a girl in Britain from the 1880s to the present. Marshalling an array of sources, Dyhouse presents a critical and insightful history that places girls and young women centre stage, whilst avoiding casting them simply as either the beneficiaries or victims of social and cultural change. For those interested in girls today or historically, this book is an essential, engaging and rewarding read.' Penny Tinkler, University of Manchester 'This richly illustrated narrative history, accessibly written by a pioneer in the field of girls' studies, adroitly traces cultural anxieties about social disorder generated by changing constructions of girlhood as well as generations of girls who sought personal pleasures and political freedoms in Britain from the late nineteenth century to the present. To document shifting representations of girls' cultures and discursive debates among feminists, reformers, professionals, officials, and others troubled by "modern" girls' brains, bodies and behaviour, Dyhouse draws upon a treasure trove of critical and colorful sources - photographs, pamphlets, medical texts, government reports, newspapers, novels, feminist scholarship, movies, music, plays, consumer goods, fads, etc. Crossing lines of class, race, region, sexual identity, age, genders and generations, this lively, girl-focused narrative will provide much-needed content and context for instructors, students and scholars in girls' studies, women's studies, children's and youth studies, and in British history.' Miriam Forman-Brunell, Professor of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City

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