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Girlhood and the Plastic Image

Heather Warren-Crow

Publication Year: 2014

You are girlish, our images tell us. You are plastic. Girlhood and the Plastic Image explains how, revealing the increasing girlishness of contemporary media. The figure of the girl has long been prized for its mutability, for the assumed instability and flexibility of the not-yet-woman. The plasticity of girlish identity has met its match in the plastic world of digital art and cinema. A richly satisfying interdisciplinary study showing girlish transformation to be a widespread condition of mediation, Girlhood and the Plastic Image explores how and why our images promise us the adaptability of youth.

This original and engaging study will appeal to a broad interdisciplinary audience including scholars of media studies, film studies, art history, and women’s studies.

Published by: Dartmouth College Press

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. xiii-xvi

Lev Manovich’s now canonical book The Language of New Media begins with a surprising revelation: “The avant-garde masterpiece Man with a Movie Camera, completed by Russian director Dziga Vertov in 1929, will serve as our guide to the language of new media.”1 Manovich’s argument is...

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One: (Un)Doing Girlishness

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pp. 1-48

Plastic images preoccupy contemporary media culture. Our mediascapes are populated by elastic cartoon bodies, alterable avatars in online virtual worlds, and morphing “before” and “after” pictures on makeover shows. Magazines feature Photoshopped models, their thighs hollowed and bony edges digitally...

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Two: Sharing Girlishness

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pp. 49-86

In 1999, French artists Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno bought the rights to a character created by K Works, a Japanese company that produced figures used in comic books, cartoons, video games, and advertising. The image was of a girl with purple hair and a mournful expression, one of those...

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Three: Networking Girlishness

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pp. 87-122

The homepage of Mouchette.org gives me a close-up of a flower. Its stamens, drooping, are dusted in velvety chartreuse pollen. Its petals have goopy orange streaks, shiny and salacious. A tiny picture of a girl sits in the upper left-hand corner of the page. Her eyes may be closed, or perhaps she...

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Four: Exporting Girlishness

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pp. 123-158

Despite — or, rather, because of — the proliferation of animation on the Internet (GIFs, flash animations, etc.) and at art galleries (animated video art), the movie house and the home theater remain remarkably generative sites for the consumption of plastic images: the expansion of animation outside its traditional...

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pp. 159-168

“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I — I hardly know, Sir, just at present — at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” “What do you mean by that?” said the Caterpillar...


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pp. 169-192


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pp. 193-204


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pp. 205-214

E-ISBN-13: 9781611685756
E-ISBN-10: 1611685753
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611685732

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2014