Graphic Girlhoods: Visualizing Education and Violence 9781138092709, 9781315107356

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Table of contents :
Half Title
Title Page
Copright Page
List of Figures
PART I: Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood
1 Recess Queens: Mean Girls in Graphic Texts of Girlhood
2 Nice White Girls: Violence and Racial Masquerade in Nancy Drew
3 Picturing Rape Culture: Little Red Riding Hood and School Dress Codes
PART II: Resistant Schoolgirls
4 De-schooling Girlhood: Fairy Tales and Trauma in Lynda Barry’s Comics
5 Activist Schoolgirls: Documenting Segregation and Residential Schooling in Auto/biographical Picture Books
6 Reframing Schoolgirls: Social Violence and Justice in Words and Pictures
7 Final Lessons: Reading Like a Girl
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Graphic Girlhoods

Elizabeth Marshall’s Graphic Girlhoods: Visualizing Education and Violence is a highly pertinent study of the contemporary depiction of violence in graphic texts such as picture books, comics, memoirs and other visual works that demonstrate how oppression and violence are key factors in the upbringing of girls in America. In fact, given recent developments in America, Marshall’s thoughtful if not provocative book should be required reading for students, teachers, and parents of all ages and genders because she grasps how educational and other institutions in America continue to foster racism and sexism by violently imposing rules of the civilizing process that impede the autonomy of girls. It is through the resistance in the graphic texts she studies, she maintains, that young female, and perhaps male, readers will be able to learn to combat institutional abuse and narrowmindedness. In short, her book is a “dynamite” pedagogy of the violated. —Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota Graphic Girlhoods investigates “texts of girlhood” from multiple conceptual and methodological frameworks ranging from picture book t­ heory to comic studies to visual culture studies and autobiography. An assemblage of critical feminisms further complicates Marshall’s ­theoretical treatment. Each of these frameworks allows Marshall to craft a complex argument which gestures towards the danger and d ­ isturbing “extracurricular activities” of education, girlhood, and violence. This book is a must read for scholars in children’s literature, childhood, and feminist youth studies. —Lisa Weems, Miami University of Ohio

Drawing on a dynamic set of “graphic texts of girlhood,” Elizabeth ­Marshall identifies the locations, cultural practices, and representational strategies through which schoolgirls experience real and metaphorical violence. How is the schoolgirl made legible through violence in graphic texts of girlhood? What knowledge about girlhood and violence are under erasure within mainstream images and scripts about the schoolgirl? In what ways has the schoolgirl been pictured in graphic narratives to communicate feminist knowledge, represent trauma, and/or testify about social violence? Graphic Girlhoods focuses on these questions to make visible and ultimately question how sexism, racism and other forms of structural violence inform education and girlhood. From picture books about mean girls like The Recess Queen or graphic novels like Jane, The Fox and Me to Ronald Searle’s ghastly pupils in the St. Trinian’s cartoons to graphic memoirs about schooling by adult women, such as Ruby Bridges’s Through My Eyes and Lynda Barry’s One Hundred Demons texts for and about the schoolgirl stake a claim in ongoing debates about gender and education. Elizabeth Marshall is an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University, Canada.

Children’s Literature and Culture Jack Zipes, Founding Series Editor Philip Nel, Current Series Editor For a full list of titles in this series, please visit

Childhood and Pethood in Literature and Culture New Perspectives on Childhood Studies and Animal Studies Edited by Anna Feuerstein and Carmen Nolte-Odhiambo Origin Narratives The Stories We Tell Children about Immigration and Interracial Adoption Macarena Garcia Gonzales Italian Children’s Literature and National Identity Childhood, Melancholy, Modernity Maria Truglio The Beloved Does Not Bite Moral Vampires and the Humans Who Love Them Debra Dudek Affect, Emotion and Children’s Literature Representation and Socialisation in Texts for Children and Young Adults Edited by Kristine Moruzi, Michelle J. Smith, and Elizabeth Bullen The Embodied Child Readings in Children’s Literature and Culture Edited by Roxanne Harde and Lydia Kokkola Interactive Books Playful Media before Pop-ups Jacqueline Reid-Walsh Graphic Girlhoods Visualizing Education and Violence Elizabeth Marshall

Graphic Girlhoods Visualizing Education and Violence

Elizabeth Marshall

First published 2018 by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2018 Taylor & Francis The right of Elizabeth Marshall to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data CIP data has been applied for. ISBN: 978-1-138-09270-9 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-10735-6 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by codeMantra

For Maisie


List of Figures Acknowledgements

ix xiii

Introduction 1 Part I

Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood


1 Recess Queens: Mean Girls in Graphic Texts of Girlhood 17 2 Nice White Girls: Violence and Racial Masquerade in Nancy Drew 36 3 Picturing Rape Culture: Little Red Riding Hood and School Dress Codes 49 Part II

Resistant Schoolgirls


4 De-schooling Girlhood: Fairy Tales and Trauma in Lynda Barry’s Comics 65 5 Activist Schoolgirls: Documenting Segregation and Residential Schooling in Auto/biographical Picture Books 79 6 Reframing Schoolgirls: Social Violence and Justice in Words and Pictures 93 7 Final Lessons: Reading Like a Girl 106 Bibliography Index

121 139

List of Figures

I.1 C  harlotte Sophia is punished for “things she hadn’t done.” From The Hapless Child © 1961 by Edward Gorey. Used with permission of The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust 1 I.2 A young Lynda Barry asks, “Was it a book for kids or grown-ups?” From Picture This: The Near-Sighted Monkey Book. Copyright 2010 Lynda Barry, used with permission from Drawn & Quarterly 3 1.1 Mean Jean grabs Katie Sue by the collar. From The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith. Text copyright © 2002 by Alexis O’Neill, illustrations copyright © 2002 by Laura ­Huliska-Beith. Reproduced by permission of Scholastic Inc. 18 1.2 Mean girls. From Jane, the Fox and Me reproduced with permission from Groundwood Books, Toronto. Copyright © 2012 by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault. English translation copyright © 2012 by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou 25 1.3 Hélène is insulted on the bus. From Jane, the Fox and Me ­reproduced with permission from Groundwood Books, Toronto. Copyright © 2012 by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault. English translation copyright © 2012 by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou 26 1.4 Hélène is transported from her living room to a black and white forest landscape. From Jane, the Fox and Me reproduced with permission from Groundwood Books, Toronto. Copyright © 2012 by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault. English translation copyright © 2012 by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou 27 2.1 George Fayne “masquerades” as Chi Che Soong. From The Mystery of the Fire Dragon by Carolyn Keene. Copyright © 1961, 1989 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & 41 Schuster Children’s Publishing Division. All rights reserved

x  List of Figures 2.2 Nancy Drew to the rescue. From The Girl Who Wasn’t There. ­Copyright © 2005. Used with permission from 45 Simon & Schuster 3.1 Gustave Doré’s “Red Riding Hood Meets Old Father Wolf” from Charles Perrault’s Histoires ou contes du temps passé (1864). Public Domain 50 3.2 Little red hood examines the wolf’s teeth in little red hood by ­Marjolaine Leray © 2010. Reprinted by kind permission of Phoenix Yard Books 56 3.3 No means no. From little red hood by Marjolaine Leray 57 © 2010. Reprinted by kind permission of Phoenix Yard Books 4.1 “We don’t create a fantasy world to escape reality, we create it to be able to stay.” From What It Is copyright 2008 Lynda Barry, used with permission from Drawn & Quarterly 67 4.2 Bullies. From One Hundred Demons copyright 2002 Lynda Barry, used with permission from Drawn & Quarterly 70 4.3 “Falling Leaves.” From The Greatest of Marlys copyright 2000 Lynda Barry, used with permission from Drawn & Quarterly 72 4.4 Informal sex ed lessons in Home Ec. From One Hundred Demons copyright 2002 Lynda Barry, used with permission from Drawn & Quarterly 75 5.1 Sylvia is denied access to school in Separate is Never Equal: ­Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan ­Tonatiuh. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2014 Duncan Tonatiuh. Used with permission of Express Permissions on behalf of Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York. All rights reserved. 82 5.2 Sylvia eats lunch at Hoover Elementary or “the Mexican school.” From Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2014 Duncan Tonatiuh. Used with permission of Express Permissions on behalf of Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York. All rights reserved. 83 5.3 Olemaun confronts the nun in When I Was Eight © 2013 Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret ­Pokiak-Fenton (text), and © 2013 ­Gabrielle Grimard (illustrations). Published by Annick Press Ltd. All rights 88 reserved. Reproduced by permission

List of Figures  xi 5.4 Olemaun locked in the basement. From When I Was Eight © 2013 Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton (text) © 2013 Gabrielle Grimard (illustrations). Published by Annick Press Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission 89 6.1 Miserable Schoolgirls as pictured on Fritz Eichenberg’s cover for the 1943 edition of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 93 6.2 Second St. Trinian’s cartoon, drawn in Changi Gaol, Singapore, 1944–5. © Ronald Searle 1946. Reprinted by kind permission of The Ronald Searle Cultural Trust and The Sayle Literary Agency 97 6.3 Searle’s “And this is Rachel—our head girl” makes visual reference to his earlier war drawing © Ronald Searle 1951. Reprinted by kind permission of The Ronald Searle Cultural Trust and The Sayle Literary Agency 98 6.4 One of Searle’s war drawings, “Street Scene in Singapore, 1942” © Ronald Searle. Reproduced in To The Kwai—and Back: War Drawings 1939–1945. Reprinted by kind permission of The Ronald Searle Cultural Trust and The Sayle Literary Agency 98 6.5 Botany lessons at St. Trinian’s © Ronald Searle 1951. Reprinted by kind permission of The Ronald Searle Cultural Trust and The Sayle Literary Agency 99 6.6 “L is for Lost” from Eerie Dearies: 26 Ways to Miss School by Rebecca Chaperon. Reprinted by kind permission of Simply Read Books, Inc. 100 6.7 Say’s illustration of six-year-old Miyuki Mochida and her younger sister ­H iroko that reproduces Dorothea Lange’s 1942 ­photograph. From Home of the Brave by Allen Say. Copyright © 2002 by Allen Say. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing 102 Company. All Rights Reserved 7.1 The dangers of the overachieving schoolgirl on the May 2000 cover of The Atlantic Monthly. Used with permission 108 7.2 Kim explains how girls learn to be quiet. Used with permission of Angry Little Girls, Inc. by Lela Lee @ 112 2016 Angry Little Girls, Inc. 7.3 A girlhood Una in pieces from Una’s Becoming Unbecoming. Reprinted with permission from Becoming Unbecoming by Una (North American 115 edition: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016) 7.4 Una is blamed and shamed for the sexual violence she experienced. Reprinted with permission from Becoming Unbecoming by Una (North American edition: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016) 117


This book represents over a decade of feminist theorizing about ­girlhood, texts, and education, and its publication would not be possible without the help of and encouragement from an amazing network of friends and colleagues. I thank Kristine Alexander, Kumari Beck, A ­ ngela ­Cummings, Brian Demuy, Pete Edmonds, Helen Fitzsimmons, Joe Granato, ­Patti Lather, Lorraine and Rob Kitsos, Marilyn Kwong, Jonarno ­Lawson, Laura Mamo, ­Kathleen Negraeff, Michelle Pidgeon, Özlem Sensoy, and Rob Tierney for their support during the writing of this manuscript. Thank you to those colleagues who commented on earlier paper drafts or presentations of this work: Kate Capshaw, Ann ­Chinnery, Anna Mae Duane, Adam Greteman, Derritt Mason, Nat H ­ urley, Libby Gruner, Nathalie op de Beeck, Lissa Paul, Jessica ­R ingrose, Lara Saguisag, and Rowan S­ hafer-Rickles. I am ­extremely grateful to the anonymous ­reviewers who provided essential feedback that greatly improved this manuscript. I appreciate the help of Lisa Weems whose critical responses early on in the writing of this project allowed me to restructure this study in a more intelligent and cohesive way. Theresa Rogers offered me humor when I most needed it as well as important editorial suggestions. Matt Jones, author of the Ronald Searle blog, read and commented on an earlier draft of Chapter 6 and added helpful context and information. Naomi Hamer provided sound advice at just the right moments. Phil Nel championed this work from the start, and discussed many of the ­chapters as they were being conceptualized and presented for the first time in conference format. Special thanks to Leigh Gilmore who read and reread the many drafts of this book, providing keen ­theoretical guidance, and steadfast support that made finishing this book a r­ eality. The team at Routledge—Jennifer Abbott, Veronica Haggar, and Assunta Petrone— guided me patiently through the process. Individual artists and presses generously allowed me to reproduce ­material gratis or for a reduced fee. I particularly thank Lela Lee and Una for permission to use their work. I am grateful to Rebecca ­Chaperon for agreeing to have her art and one of her absent schoolgirls featured on the front cover of Graphic Girlhoods. Other assistance came from Arsenal press in Vancouver; Peggy Burns at Drawn and Quarterly,

xiv Acknowledgements Matt  Williams at Groundwood press; the Edward Gorey estate and Cory Mimms at Pomegrante Press; Duncan Tonatiuh and Warren ­Drabek at Abrams Books; Papercutz Comics; Houghton Mifflin ­Harcourt publishing company; Simply Read Books; and Rachel Calder at the Searle ­literary estate who worked for weeks to secure all the permissions ­required to reproduce Ronald Searle’s cartoons. The financial support of Simon Fraser University’s rapid response publication fund made it possible to pay copyright fees to use the images included in this book. Finally, my husband Michael Meneer deserves a shout-out for sustaining me in ways too numerous to list here. This book is dedicated to our daughter Maisie whose grace, wit, and generosity inspires me each day. Some of the material in this project draws on previously published work and is used with permission: “Counter-Storytelling through Graphic Life Writing.” Language Arts, vol. 94, no. 2, 2016, pp. 79–93. Copyright 2016 by the National Council of Teachers of English. “Global Girls and Strangers: Marketing Transnational Girlhood through the Nancy Drew Series.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, vol. 37 no. 2, 2012, pp. 210–27. “Fear and Strangeness in Picture Books: F ­ ractured Fairy Tales, Graphic Knowledge, and Teachers’ Concerns.” In Challenging and Controversial Picturebooks, edited by Janet Evans, Routledge, 2015, pp. 160–177. Marshall, Elizabeth, and Leigh Gilmore. “Girlhood in the Gutter: Feminist Graphic Knowledge and the Visualization of Sexual Precarity.” Women’s Studies Quarterly, vol. 43, no. 1–2, 2015, pp. 95–114. Cover Image: “A is for Astral Projection” from Rebecca Chaperon’s Eerie Dearies: 26 Ways to Miss School. Used with permission from the artist.


In Edward Gorey’s 1961 picture book The Hapless Child, the heroine Charlotte Sophia is sent to a girls’ boarding school where a group of mean girls terrorize her and she is “punished by the teachers for things she hadn’t done.” In one exemplary image, the miserable Charlotte ­Sophia stands on a stool and holds a huge book on her head in a gloomy classroom decorated with nonsensical maps and charts (Figure I.1).

Figure I.1  Charlotte Sophia is punished for “things she hadn’t done.” From The Hapless Child © 1961 by Edward Gorey. Used with permission of The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust. Source: Image courtesy of Pomegranate Communications, Inc.

2  Introduction In Gorey’s pen-and-ink drawing, Charlotte Sophia looks out at the audience, appealing for help or for an affirmation of her suffering. A creature crawls up the stool as a metaphor of the ways in which violence creeps into and out of the school in a variety of forms. After many sleepless nights “weeping and weeping,” Charlotte Sophia can “bear it no longer” and escapes from the school at dawn, climbs over a wall in her nightdress, and falls unconscious onto the sidewalk, only to be ­abducted, sold to a drunken brute, abused, and finally hit by a car. Gorey’s “subversive imitation of the children’s book” (Schiff 87) makes a spectacle of how education binds together girlhood and violence in a scene of routinely egregious discipline. Extending the connection between violence and girlhood beyond the school, Charlotte Sophia literally falls into the same fate inside and outside the institution’s walls. Gorey distills a particularly bleak view of gender and education: to be a girl is to be punished; this is the inescapable lesson that connects schooling to a larger cultural pedagogy in which learning and learning to be a girl means being subjected to violence. Words and pictures frame what the schoolgirl knows, and how the reader views. Gorey emphasizes Charlotte Sophia’s schoolgirl innocence and vulnerability through color and scale, extending her misery visually. Once out of the school, she appears only in the white nightdress and objects and adult characters overwhelm her small frame. Charlotte ­S ophia often lays prone or unconscious, and is frequently carried from place to place. Gorey’s use of the picture book—­often associated with childhood—draws attention to how texts for or about the school-aged girl regularly depict fantasies about violence and education. The Hapless Child and other works that tie harm and childhood ­together in forms historically connected with a child audience, like picture books and comics, challenge the notion that knowledge about violence is only suitable for or experienced by adults. Kevin Shortsleeve, for instance, argues that scholars, critics, and everyday readers have been unsure how to ­classify the picture books Gorey authored. Faced with a canon that appears to link childhood and the macabre, many, at first glance, are challenged and may refuse to validate the connection. (28) Like Gorey’s picture books, the visual-verbal narratives under ­consideration in this book gesture toward the macabre; they are not all necessarily age-appropriate or even officially children’s literature. I examine what I call graphic texts of girlhood, a flexible archive of ­visual-verbal narratives in which the girl is the primary subject (rather

Introduction  3 than the implied audience) and in which violence is central. This is ­necessary because violence does not discriminate by age. Cartoonist Lynda Barry makes this point explicit in her 2010 autobiographical how-to workbook, Picture This: The Near-Sighted Monkey Book by telling her story through a schoolgirl who knows “too much too soon” (Barry, One 66). In one of her signature four-panel comic strips, Barry draws an image of herself as a child examining the cover of Picture This (the book written by the adult Barry that includes references to her own difficult childhood). The narration box reads: “Was it a book for kids or grown-ups? The Monkey drank beer, played cards and bought lottery tickets. Was that a good influence?” (15). In Barry’s universe, drinking beer, smoking, playing cards, and other age-defying acts are commonplace childhood experiences that a book “with a good influence” could not possibly represent or remedy (Figure I.2).

Figure I.2  A young Lynda Barry asks, “Was it a book for kids or grown-ups?” From Picture This: The Near-Sighted Monkey Book. Source: Copyright 2010 Lynda Barry, used with permission from Drawn & Quarterly.

4  Introduction Just as Gorey ironizes the picture book format and critiques a cultural fascination with the defilement of long-suffering girls, Barry employs comics, also historically associated with youth, as graphic pedagogy in which the child is a knowledgeable subject rather than a knowable one.1 Barry shows how the school-age girl educates herself and critiques the idea that “childlike” content should define what youth read or that ideas and images in a book could outweigh lessons learned through experience. Graphic texts of girlhood educate about and normalize certain forms of violence. My focus on visual-verbal narratives as an archive through which to analyze how this is pictured is indebted to Hillary Chute’s 2010 Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics. The ­feminist orientation of Chute’s project, her foregrounding of women comics artists like Lynda Barry, and the focus on graphic narrative as a site of political intervention open up an interdisciplinary use of visual culture. Like the field of graphic medicine that has emerged as a way to center the graphic self-representation of illness and experience and influence the ways in which clinicians see the body and health, Graphic ­Girlhoods stakes a claim for paying attention to what texts for and about the girl say about schooling, and for examining feminist self-­ representation about education. In the following chapters, analyses of graphic texts of girlhood are juxtaposed with an examination of how adult women negotiate broader cultural pedagogies as they “revisit their pasts, retrace events, and literally repicture them (Chute, Graphic 2). 2 These reframings of girlhood within visual-­verbal narratives foreground the structural violence of sexism and racism and point toward an alternative representational tradition in which ­picture book creators and comics artists employ the figure of schoolgirl to reckon with actual violence. Lynda Barry, Carole Boston Weatherford, Lela Lee, and other artists featured in this book provide readers with examples of graphic feminist pedagogy, an approach that uses text and image to make visible and to question the locations, cultural practices, and representational strategies through which the schoolgirl comes to know violence. The thesis of this book is that violence is a key element of the girl’s education, and that this curriculum, and resistance to it, ­circulates in familiar storylines and images across visual culture, especially in texts for or about the girl. 3

Childhood Studies, Cultural Pedagogies, and Graphic Texts of Girlhood Graphic texts of girlhood invite an analysis of how education and ­violence are negotiated, recuperated, and reframed. I focus predominately on ­representations within picture books and comics because these

Introduction  5 are everyday texts that teachers, students, adults, and children read for a variety of purposes and in a range of ways.4 These texts are read for pleasure within and outside of the classroom, and are also used in the ­formal curriculum as teaching tools. Regardless of content or audience, visual-verbal narratives are part of a broader curriculum. Rather than running in parallel lines, this “societal curriculum” (Cortés) and the official one often overlap.5 They do so through cultural pedagogies, the formal and informal cultural materials and practices through which education occurs. As Gorey’s The Hapless Child suggests, both the school and societal curriculum make violence one of the central elements of girls’ education and anticipated life experience. Not limited to the classroom, education happens across locations and is distinct from schooling. The term education focuses broadly on what one knows, whereas schooling refers to mechanisms of formal learning that seek to teach conformity, the sorting of students into social ­structures through grades and other mechanisms, and instruction in learning how to defer to authority (Gatto). But it is precisely artists like Lynda Barry who visualize how education also includes what cannot be easily articulated or understood and in turn raise questions about how, when, and what the child should know.6 The child remains central to the project of North American ­schooling; however, childhood is poorly understood. As a result, developmental paradigms ill-suited to children structure their education. The child in educational discourse remains an idealized character, one who can be trained through “good influences” into something else. To counter these misunderstandings, we might follow the advice of education ­scholars Lisa Farley and Julie Garlen, who encourage educators to adopt a ­childhood studies perspective to examine the “stories of childhood that society uses to delimit concepts of futurity, personhood, otherness, belonging, normalcy, and development” (228).7 Understanding the child as a social, historical, and political category embedded in stories rather than as an essential one allows for a critique of familiar conceptualizations that continue to undergird school curriculum, policy, and practice.8 Developmental theories are yet another story that says less about the child than about the society that creates it. As Kathryn Bond Stockton argues, queer children and children of color may be excluded from such paradigms and instead “grow sideways” (52) rather than up and out of childhood. Importantly, these theorizations shatter familiar assumptions and assurances about the child as a straightforward subject who can be assimilated into “normality” through the right curriculum or teaching strategy. Exposing the flaws in such an approach, the following chapters foreground violence and examine the schoolgirl as one ­character in a larger cultural narrative of childhood.

6  Introduction

Schooling Girlhood Girlhood itself is a space that one enters into and exits, rather than an essential state.9 It is what Carolyn Steedman defines as a “landscape of feeling that might be continually reworked and reinterpreted” (128). As I have argued elsewhere, girlhood may be less about c­ hronological ­markers “than about necessary attachments and psychological and emotional ties that bind people together” (Marshall, “Daughter’s” 420). In addition, one can re-enter girlhood as a woman or get stuck there.10 Lynda Barry, for instance, recalls that her experiences and those of the children she grew up with “made some of us unable to grow up at all” (One 66). The schoolgirl, then, is a contested category through which fantasies as well as realities about education and violence are made graphic. Girlhood and schooling are closely aligned. In The New Girl, Sally Mitchell asks, “Can it be argued that schools were responsible for ­creating girlhood?” (74). Suggesting an affirmative answer to Mitchell’s question, The Oxford English Dictionary defines the schoolgirl as “a girl attending or belonging to a school. Also allusively: a person likened to a schoolgirl in youth or immaturity.” The term captures the physical act of attending school and also a type of behavior that moves across an adult-child binary. Adults can be schoolgirlish and are rewarded for acting in such a way, especially in the teaching profession. An adult woman can have a schoolgirl crush, giggle like one, or express schoolgirl naiveté. Schoolgirl is at once a descriptive and deceptively misogynistic word. As the graphic texts of girlhood analyzed in Chapters 5 and 6 demonstrate, the term “schoolgirl” is also exclusionary, and often operates in tandem with the law and with educational policies to bar, segregate, and/ or criminalize black, brown, and queer youth.11 In addition, the high circulation of images of schoolgirls from the “Global South” through campaigns like the Nike foundation’s Girl Effect suggest that when girls of color do appear it is often in the service of reasserting white, Western liberal femininities as the norm, revealing educational initiatives as part of a politics of rescue and the reassertion of colonial and imperialist power dynamics.12 These multiple meanings underscore Valerie Walkerdine’s ­contention that the schoolgirl is one of many fictions of femininity. ­Trans-­schoolgirls in picture books like Christine Baldacchino’s Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress (2014) or Marcus Ewert and Rex Ray’s 10,000 Dresses (2008), for instance, disrupt understandings of “the girl” as simply a static or biological category. Like girlhood, the schoolgirl is “an idea that depends on and contributes to a range of particular but not inevitable knowledges” (Driscoll, Girls: Feminine 4). There is nothing “natural” about this character. The schoolgirl is a polysemic sign with no one fixed meaning (Bal and Bryson 207), and understandings

Introduction  7 of her shift within different social, historical, and political contexts. While ­mainstream representations of the schoolgirl as ­predominately white, privileged, heterosexual, cisgender and able bodied, and ­understandings of the schoolgirl as mean, vulnerable, or smart are highly visible and widely circulated, they are not the whole picture. Moving away from these common interpretations, three broad questions guide this book: How is the ­schoolgirl made legible through violence in graphic texts of girlhood? What ­knowledge about girlhood and violence are under erasure within mainstream ­images and scripts about the schoolgirl? In what ways has the schoolgirl been ­pictured in graphic narratives to communicate feminist knowledge, represent trauma, and/or testify about social violence?

Visualizing Violence How visual artists represent the schoolgirl amplifies or contains certain forms of violence and, in turn, understandings of that violence. Gillian Rose argues that “a specific visuality will make certain things visible in particular ways, and other things unseeable…and subjects will be produced and act within that field of vision” (188). As Rose attests, visual ­images have a history that reference discursive precedents. To return to the illustration that opens this chapter, Gorey’s image of Charlotte ­Sophia relies on a powerful visual-verbal discourse of miserable schoolgirls. This illustration references Jane Eyre, the heroine of Charlotte Brontë’s novel of the same name. Gorey’s Charlotte Sophia standing on the stool and punished for “things she hadn’t done” is a visual nod to the scene at Lowood in which the headmaster Mr. Brocklehurst falsely charges Jane as a liar. Although the school section of Jane Eyre is only five chapters, and the time standing on the stool short, filmmakers and visual artists often choose to amplify or elongate this punishment in film versions of the novel (Dole). Artists such as Paula Rego, Santiago Caruso, and Dame Darcy similarly extend Jane’s schoolgirl misery, suggesting how we have been trained to see certain forms of violence inflicted on the girl’s body as more natural than others. Part of the humor of Gorey’s satire, then, lies in how his image depends on and subverts the audience’s knowledge of the suffering schoolgirl. This example of visual intertextuality proposes that meanings about the schoolgirl do not travel in a straight line from earlier representations of misery to contemporary illustrations of empowerment. So while the following chapters focus mainly on graphic texts of girlhood created by adults and published in North America from 2000 to 2016, I also a­ ttend to previous imaginaries and scripts that influence these works. For e­ xample, Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault’s 2012 graphic novel Jane, the Fox and Me analyzed in Chapter 1 also references Brontë’s Jane Eyre as an urtext; and, British artist ­Ronald Searle’s post World War II St. Trinian’s cartoons frame my readings in Chapter 6. Images and ideas about the schoolgirl travel across

8  Introduction genre, mode, and historical moment, repeating familiar patterns that uphold certain power relationships. In this book, then, I do not use textual ­representations to theorize what the schoolgirl means in one historical moment. Images and storylines overlap and repeat with such frequency that a number of different texts could have been chosen, and those would be variously illustrative or exemplary of the patterns I describe. Indeed, the ubiquity of such imagery requires not only selection, but reveals the dominant, hence ideological, character of this form of representation. When asked why children were so often the victims of violence in his stories, ­Edward Gorey responded: “It’s just so obvious. They’re the easiest ­targets” (Schiff 88). Gorey is not alone in his use of the child as target of abuse. Michelle Ann Abate, Kenneth Kidd, Maria Tatar, and Jack Zipes point out how violence is a conventional feature of children’s ­literature. Schoolgirl narratives are no exception to this rule. Girls suffer, witness, and participate in violence. They are haunted, kidnapped, and murdered, dislocated by choice, circumstance, or law from the school. The bodies of school-aged girls in the graphic texts of girlhood examined here are consumed, abused, threatened, and murdered. Formal schooling distills explicit and implicit values about what and who counts. In the form of curricula and the organization of ­students, teachers, administrators, and more, schools train students about ­hierarchy as surely as they teach math and reading. Violence is built into formal schooling through employment practices, patterns of ­discipline, and the culture of promotion of students. This structure reinforces ­cultural pedagogies in the family and culture more broadly. For some, like Lynda Barry, school can be a partial or temporary refuge from an education in violence, but not reliably so—sometimes school is the location of harm. This book considers all locations, including the home, the church, the forest, and the street. As Yasmin Jiwani, Monique W. Morris, Lisa Weems, and others ­remind us, violence disproportionately affects black, brown, poor, and queer youth. Opening up education to sites outside of the school reveals these specificities about the relationships between violence and girlhood. Representations in graphic texts of girlhood mediate a broader curriculum of where and how girls experience and learn to normalize certain forms of violence. Through graphic feminist pedagogies, authors expose how systemic, psychological, and physical acts of violence are regularly covered over and repackaged as self-inflicted wounds that require ­individual remediation.

Chapters When considering girlhoods in visual-verbal texts it is important to attend to “how we frame them” (Chute, Graphic 2). Thus, the first three chapters focus on how familiar associations about girls as mean,

Introduction  9 nice, and/or innocent are framed. Chapter 1, “Recess Queens: Mean Girls in Graphic Texts of Girlhood,” considers Jacqueline Woodson and E. B. Lewis’s Each Kindness (2012), Patricia Polacco’s Bully (2012), Fanny Britt and I­ sabelle Arsenault’s Jane, the Fox and Me (2013) as well as the highly ­popular Dork Diaries cartoon series by Rachel Renée Russell. I argue that the schoolgirl is not inherently more vulnerable or pathological than any other subject, but that she has been made so through a range of ­visual-verbal representational strategies that are used in the texts under consideration in this chapter. In addition, I point out how violence circulates through mean girl narratives in two ways. The first and most obvious form includes acts of “girl on girl” meanness or aggression within the texts themselves. The second is how misogynistic representations of the schoolgirl as aberrant then flow into the classroom. That is, as the picture books and comics analyzed in this chapter increasingly become used to teach about bullying, the “pathological” schoolgirl becomes the curriculum. Ultimately, the focus on the mean girl is a decoy that diverts attention away from other forms of violence, such as sexual harassment and systemic racial discrimination. Chapter 2, “Nice White Girls: Violence and Racial Masquerade in Nancy Drew,” extends the critique of how girls suffer and do harm to ­i nclude locations outside of the classroom, and to consider ­benevolence as a form of violence. Nancy Drew does not attend school, however the mystery series—and its many spin-offs—circulate as a ­powerful, popular, and highly accessible curriculum aimed at and read by many North American schoolgirls. At first blush, Nancy Drew appears to be the opposite of the mean girls discussed in Chapter 1. However, the series offers lessons in racial hierarchies and imperial and colonial violence through the fictional relationships between and among girls. One way this violence occurs is through racial masquerade. George Fayne, for instance, disguises herself as a missing Chinese schoolgirl Chi Che Soong in Carolyn Keene’s The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (1961). The visual images that accompany the textual description of George’s physical transformation recycle the racist representational practice of “yellowface.” Throughout the Nancy Drew series, acts of appropriation like this one are constructed in text and image as “racially innocent fun” (Bernstein 21). Contemporary offshoots of the series, including the Papercutz Nancy Drew Girl Detective graphic novels, the Her Interactive computer games, and Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew series continue to portray racialized and Indigenous girls as consumable tropes. The analysis in this chapter suggests that nice and mean are relational rather than oppositional terms, imbued with gendered and racialized meanings and histories that are embodied within graphic texts of girlhood. Continuing the focus on different forms of violence in familiar graphic texts of girlhood, Chapter 3, “Picturing Rape Culture: Little Red Riding

10  Introduction Hood and School Dress Codes” turns attention to fairy tales. Here, I ­examine rape culture: “a complex set of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women” (Buchwald et al. xi). Tying the fairy tale picture book to school dress code policies ­allows me to chart a ubiquitous cultural pedagogy of sexual violence that ­crisscrosses audience, genre, and location. Conventional picture book variants of “Little Red Riding Hood” analyzed in this chapter ­visualize an everyday curriculum that schoolgirls also learn at school: that the female body invites sexual violation and that it is the girl’s responsibility to protect herself from that violence. Providing a contrasting example, I consider Marjane Leray’s picture book retelling, little red hood (2010) that challenges the visual “conspiracy” (Zipes, “A Second” 84) of schoolgirls as culpable victims. The chapter concludes with a focus on recent controversies over school dress codes and on activist schoolgirls, who like Leray, counter a cultural pedagogy of sexual violence through feminist and material practices. The following chapters in the book consider other examples of resistant schoolgirls as well as graphic f­ eminist pedagogies that circulate above, below, and against normative ones to expose alternative histories, images, and scripts of girlhood. This emphasis on alternative storylines and images begins in Chapter 4, “Deschooling Girlhood: Fairy Tales and Trauma in Lynda B ­ arry’s ­Comics.” This chapter details Barry’s use of the Grimms’ fairy tales, and other texts she read as a schoolgirl to remap childhood as a place rather than a time and to consider the implications of traumatic ­knowledge. Barry returns to images of child abuse and neglect in fairy tales to unsettle understandings of girlhood as a developmental stage. In so doing, she contrasts her informal girlhood reading experiences with official school curriculum, rules, and practices. Barry offers a complex picture of school as an institution that refuses to accommodate the inappropriate knowledge that she and other students bring to school and as a temporary sanctuary from her chaotic family life. Her graphic autobiographical narratives teach readers about the ways in which children are consistently asked to cover over or “forget” the violent knowledge they have acquired in the process of becoming an adult. School is the unmistakable location of abuse in Chapter 5. “Activist Schoolgirls: Documenting Segregation and Residential Schooling in Auto/biographical Picture Books” focuses on racialized and Indigenous women’s reconstructions of their girlhood experiences of school. This intersectional graphic life writing by and/or about racialized and Indigenous women complements Barry’s autobiographical comics, expanding the location of life writing to include picture books. Each life story in this chapter documents the structural racism of schooling and the violence of assimilation. Texts include Duncan Tonatiuh’s Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (2014), Ruby Bridges’s Through My Eyes (1999), and Christy Jordan-Fenton

Introduction  11 and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s When I Was Eight (2013). Understanding that the school is not a neutral space, and that not all youth can be schoolgirls invites an investigation of other manifestations of this character, including violent, absent or dead school-aged girls. Chapter 6, “Reframing Schoolgirls: Social Violence and Justice in Words and ­Pictures” considers the use of the schoolgirl to represent ­torture, rape, murder, and other forms of harm. As the previous chapters demonstrate, the schoolgirl character is malleable and productive rather than static and reflective; she is used to both reify and resist mainstream cultural pedagogies of girlhood, and to represent personal and collective trauma. The chapter begins with the ghastly schoolgirls that attend ­Ronald Searle’s St. Trinian’s school. In his cartoons, Searle uses the macabre schoolgirl as a surrogate to communicate his experiences as a Japanese prisoner of war. An analysis of schoolgirls who by choice or circumstance are absent from the school follows, including Rebecca Chaperon’s Eerie Dearies: 26 Ways to Miss School (2014), ­A llen Say’s Home of the Brave (2002) and Carole Boston Weatherford’s Birmingham, 1963 (2007). This unique set of graphic texts of girlhood allows me to theorize how the miserable schoolgirl has been and continues to be used in ways that refute familiar images and scripts. The conclusion, “Final Lessons: Reading Like a Girl,” reclaims feminist scholar and activist Iris Marion Young’s 1980 essay “Throwing Like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment Motility and Spatiality” to theorize the radical practice of reading “like a girl.” The chapter attends to graphic representations of the feminist schoolgirl across a range of texts and locations, and how misogyny attaches to and circulates through this figure across children’s and YA literature, popular culture, and mainstream media. Highlighting the ways in which the figure of the schoolgirl circulates outside of formal school settings and children’s culture, I focus on Hillary Clinton’s bid for democratic presidential nominee in 2008 as well as her recent run for president in 2016 ­ linton to H ­ ermione during which journalists repeatedly compared C Granger from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise. The example of Hillary Clinton reveals how the term schoolgirl draws on representations within texts for and about the girl, and operates to discipline, infantilize, and bully adult women in power. The second half of the chapter turns to specific strategies for resisting this kind of misogynistic curriculum through a focus on Lela Lee’s Angry Little Asian Girl comics and Una’s graphic memoir and cultural history of the Yorkshire Ripper, ­Becoming Unbecoming. Each of these artists resists rhetorical and s­ exual violence through graphic feminist pedagogies to read “like a girl.” Three discrete practices link these works to a contemporary graphic feminism in which misogynistic representations are traced and resisted, normative

12  Introduction pedagogies of girlhood are named and subverted, and male violence is visualized from a feminist perspective. Graphic Girlhoods demonstrates the contested relationships amongst education, violence, and girlhood through its examination of schoolgirls, cultural pedagogies, images, narratives, and memories of school. The graphic texts of girlhood examined in the following pages serve as rich sites of creative innovation, political messaging, and cultural resistance. This book privileges visual-verbal texts and graphic feminist ­pedagogies that seek to make visible and to question the terms of ­violence that define the girl’s education.

Notes 1 For more about the connections between comics, childhood, and children’s culture see Hatfield; Saguisag. 2 See also Gilmore’s seminal theorization of women’s life writing and its ­innovative forms in Autobiographics. In addition, see Whitlock’s “­Autographics: The Seeing ‘I’ of the Comics” for more on women’s autobiographical ­visual-verbal enactments as well as Watson’s “Autographic Disclosures.” 3 Defining the texts under examination in this book as “for or about the girl” relies on Steven Bruhm who theorizes “the ways in which numerous genres—whether for children or about them—inscribe the child as both the thing we wish the child to be and the thing that actively resists or undoes that wished-for thing” (28). 4 A larger debate about the differences and similarities between picture books and comics exists. For more, see Gall and Gall as well as Hatfield and Svonkin. This book considers the commonalities between these two ­visual-verbal forms. Thus, I draw on op de Beeck’s theorization that picture books communicate “through the comics medium” (“On Comics-Style” 470), as well as Hamer’s observation that picture books and graphic novels draw on the conventions of each other to create hybrid texts. Throughout, I rely on Hillary Chute’s definition of graphic narratives as “a hybrid wordand-image form in which two narrative tracks, one verbal and one visual, register temporality spatially” (“Comics” 452). 5 Cortés defines the Societal Curriculum as “that massive, ongoing, informal curriculum of family, peer groups, neighborhoods, mass media and other socializing forces that ‘educate’ us throughout our lives” (475). I use the term ­ edagogies “cultural pedagogies” in this book. The circulation of cultural p across locations, including the school, makes this idea distinct from the definition of public pedagogy which is a “concept focusing on various forms, processes, and sites of education and learning occurring beyond or outside of formal schooling. It involves learning institutions such as museums, zoos, and libraries; in informal educational sites such as popular culture, ­media, commercial spaces, and the Internet; and through figures and sites of activism, including public intellectuals and grassroots social movements” (­Burdick et al. 2). 6 Graphic Girlhoods adds a feminist focus on graphic texts of girlhood to previous studies of the representation of education in popular culture. See Bulman; Giroux and Simon; Gruner; Shoffner;  Tillman and Trier; Fisher et al.; Weber and Mitchell for other examples.

Introduction  13 7 For recent theorizing in the field of childhood studies, see Chinn and Duane’s special issue “Child” for Women’s Studies Quarterly as well as Gill-­ Peterson et al’s “The Child Now,” a collection of essays in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. 8 For a critique of essentialist notions of the adolescent in curriculum, see Lesko’s landmark Act Your Age! 9 Duits and van Zoonen underscore that contemporary girls’ studies has its roots in the feminist scholarship and activism of the 1970s and 1980s. The feminist theorizations of the schoolgirl in this book draw on that e­ arlier work. Scholars of girlhood mark the publication of Angela McRobbie and Jenny Garber’s 1976 chapter “Girls and Subcultures” as a founding ­moment in the field. For overviews and introduction to girls’ studies and its feminist roots, see Driscoll (“Girls Today”); A. Harris; Kearney. Similarly, early ­feminist analyses of girlhood in children’s and young adult literature also influence this study. See, for example, Inness; Paul; Trites (Waking); ­Walkerdine (Daddy’s); White. 10 In The Kiss Kathryn Harrison reorganizes boundaries of girlhood to “make room for the psychological territory that the mature daughter never leaves behind” (Marshall, “The Daughter’s” 420). Harrison’s memoir and others like Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted are part of a larger subgenre of “borderline girlhood” memoirs. See, Douglas and Poletti for more. 11 See, for instance, Skiba et al.’s “The Color of Discipline” and Morris’s ­Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. 12 For more on the politics of the global schoolgirl, see Sensoy and Marshall (“Missonary”; “Save”) as well as Gilmore and Marshall (“Girls”). See also Bent; Koffman et al.; Moeller; Khoja-Mooji.

Part I

Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood

1 Recess Queens Mean Girls in Graphic Texts of Girlhood

If those girls knew how I loathed their company, they would not seek mine as much as they do. —Charlotte Brontë1

In Alexis O’Neill and Laura Huliska-Beith’s 2002 picture book The ­Recess Queen, Mean Jean towers over her classmates and offers a malicious, thin-lipped half-grin that hints at the torment she plans to inflict. On the opposing page, classmates look up at her and even the trees on the hillside lean away from her blustering presence. A bright yellow sky contrasts with the periwinkle of the playground that turns darker ­behind the body of Mean Jean, signaling the large physical and ­emotional shadow that the girl casts. Mean Jean’s body takes up the entire left side of a two-page spread. Next to her feet lay a basketball and baseball bat, tools of intimidation and pain. The text reads: Mean Jean was recess queen and nobody said any different. N ­ obody swung until Mean Jean swung. Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked. Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced…. If kids ever crossed her, she’d push ‘em and smoosh ‘em, lollapaloosh ‘em, ­hammer ‘em, slammer ‘em, kitz and kajammer ‘em. Mean Jean rules with physical violence: she launches a child into the air by stomping on the end of a seesaw, and bounces a boy like a ball. One of her peers hides under the slide and reads The Art of Self Defense. Mean Jean continues to bully her classmates until a new girl named ­Katie Sue, who lacks knowledge of the playground power dynamics, asks her to play. The other children stand back in awe as Katie Sue jumps rope and chants, “I like ice cream, I like tea, I want Jean to Jump with Me!” This invitation prompts Mean Jean to grab Katie Sue. Jean’s face takes up a full page, her eyebrows furrow, and steam comes out of her ears. The ponytail on the top of her head explodes up and off the page (­Figure 1.1). “‘Say WHAT?’ she growled. ‘Say WHO?’ She howled. ‘Say YOU!’ She snarled and grabbed Katie Sue by the collar.”

18  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood

Figure 1.1  M  ean Jean grabs Katie Sue by the collar. From The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith. Source: Scholastic Inc./Scholastic Press, Text copyright © 2002 by Alexis O’Neill, ­illustrations copyright © 2002 by Laura Huliska-Beith. Reproduced by permission of ­S cholastic Inc.

In a quick turnaround, Jean softens to Katie Sue’s overtures, and ­ vercomes her meanness. “Jean doesn’t push kids and smoosh kids, o ­lollapaloosh kids, hammer ‘em, slammer ‘em, kitz and kajammer ‘em— ‘cause she’s having too much fun rompity-romping with her FRIENDS.” The book ends as it began with a double-paged spread that mirrors the opening image. A smaller, smiling Jean carries a student on her ­shoulders, and reaches her other hand out in friendship. The concluding page shows Jean and Katie Sue moving into the distance, their feet high off the ground as their jump ropes break the frame of the bright and cheerful yellow ­ ublishers Weekly aptly landscape inside which they hop. A reviewer for P points out that The Recess Queen is “story about the power of kindness and friendship” (“Review of The Recess”). Indeed, Mean Jean has been disciplined through and into kindness. The Recess Queen appeared on bookshelves in 2002, the same year ­ ggression as Rachel Simmons’s Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of A in Girls and Rosalind Wiseman’s bestselling self-help book, Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence upon which Tina Fey based her screenplay for the popular 2004 film Mean Girls. In contrast to

Recess Queens   19 characters like Mean Jean who outwardly express anger through physical violence, Simmons and Wiseman claimed that a “hidden c­ ulture of aggression” dominated girls’ relationships. They focused on r­ elational aggression—“any behavior that is intended to harm someone by ­damaging or manipulating relationships with others using tactics such as rejection and social exclusion” (Crick and Grotpeter 711). 2 In the mean girl discourse boys are defined as physical and girls as ­relational aggressors. This gendered framework normalizes indirect meanness as girlish ­behavior and simultaneously pathologizes girls’ physical violence and anger, like that demonstrated by Mean Jean, as deviant femininity (Brown, Girlfighting 1). In the post-2002 mean girl moment, texts about the relational ­girl-bully continue to proliferate. To contextualize the representation of mean girls in contemporary graphic texts of girlhood, I begin with a d ­ iscussion of Eleanor Estes and Louis Slobodkin’s classic 1944 i­llustrated novel The Hundred Dresses, which was rereleased in 2004. An analysis of a set of exemplary picture books and comics published during the height of the mean girl boom follows, including Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis’s Each Kindness, Patricia Polacco’s Bully, Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault’s critically acclaimed graphic novel Jane, the Fox and Me, and Rachel Renée Russell’s best-selling cartoon series, Dork Diaries.3 Highly visible and popular, contemporary graphic texts about mean girls deflect attention away from larger systemic inequities and circulate within the school curriculum as a socially acceptable form of misogyny.

The Post-2002 Mean Girl Moment In the 1970s Norwegian scholar Dan Olweus noted the prevalence of bullying in school in his landmark scholarship. Children’s and young adult (YA) fictions support Olweus’s findings as the schoolyard bully has been and continues to be a popular antagonist.4 The post-2002 burst of mean girl texts runs parallel to larger trends in publishing for children, specifically an increased attention to bullying in North America. The April 1999 Columbine shootings, and a number of high profile cases of ­cyberbullying, as well as events such as the bullying prevention ­conference held at the White House in 2011 led to an increase in children’s and YA books about bullying. 5 In a 2013 article for The New York Times, Leslie Kaufman points out that “according to WorldCat, a catalog of library collections worldwide, the number of English-language books tagged with the key word ‘bullying’ in 2012 was 1,891, an increase of 500 in a decade” (“Publishers”). Bullying stories continue to thrive, and the ­relationally aggressive mean girl is now a stock character.6 This has not always been the case. In a content analysis of one h ­ undred picture books, Patrice A. Oppliger and Ashley Davis found that “­percentages of physical aggression were mostly identical for males (48.1%) and females

20  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood (48.6%). On the other hand, females (28.3%) were much more likely to use social exclusion than males (9.5%)” (520). Their findings suggest that although characters like Mean Jean are as likely to be as physical as their male counterparts, relational bullies that engage in tactics like gossip, social exclusion, and cyberbullying are ­overwhelmingly female.7 Contemporary mean girl narratives draw on regressive ideas about femininity, such as early twentieth-century psychologist and educator G. Stanley Hall’s contention that boys’ physically aggressive ­behavior was normal while “young women’s aggression manifested itself in i­nappropriate behaviors that were often projected onto other young women” (Beals 60). The theorization of girls as the opposite of boys and as psychologically rather than physically aggressive has deep roots. Scholars have debunked the idea that “different kinds of aggression can be understood simply in terms of gender stereotypes (the mean, covertly aggressive, and manipulative girl and the proto-male, direct, and more transparent boy)” as a myth (Artz et al. 310). Regardless, images of and narratives about the mean girl continue to circulate as fact; and, ­certainties about girls’ relational aggression play out in school discipline ­policies, legal cases, and in mainstream media accounts even when ­evidence suggests otherwise (Ryalls). Mean schoolgirls are ubiquitous characters in children’s texts, films, academic studies, curriculum, and highly circulated pop-psychology books like Wiseman’s Queen Bees and Wannabees. With few exceptions, mean girl characters and their targets tend to be privileged white girls, like Regina George in the film Mean Girls, while girls of color, such as Chastity Church in 10 Things I Hate About You or Zoe ­Franklin in the Dork Diaries series usually fill the role of one of the main ­character’s side kicks. Queer characters are also ambiguously outside of explicit whiteness and figure as outsider group support and as targets of bullying for characters like Cady Heron in Mean Girls.8

Recycling Mean Girls Post-2002 narratives draw on and make reference to earlier visual-verbal constructions of the mean schoolgirl. To trace this history, I begin with Eleanor Estes and Louis Slobodkin’s Newbery award-winning i­llustrated novel The Hundred Dresses, which focuses on Polish immigrant Wanda Petronski and the bullying she experiences by a group of middle class white girls.9 The novel has never been out of print since its ­publication in 1944, and continues to be “used in classrooms from elementary through high school” (Silvey). Most importantly, for the purposes of this analysis, it was reissued in 2004 during the mean girl boom in children’s and young adult literature. The Hundred Dresses prefigures key elements of contemporary mean girl scripts and also offers a distinct comparison to later works. Maddie, a bystander, narrates the novel. Estes represents queen bee, Peggy as wealthy, white, and “pretty” (5). Each day best

Recess Queens   21 friends Maddie and Peggy wait for Wanda to “have fun with her” (9) and to play the dress game. “Wanda,” Peggy would say in a most courteous manner, as though she were talking to Miss Mason or to the principal perhaps. “Wanda,” she’d say, giving one of her friends a nudge, “tell us. How many dresses did you say you had hanging in your closet?” (12) Wanda would reply that she had a hundred dresses and then describe the fabrics and colors of her imaginary dresses. The girls laugh at her, knowing that Wanda only owns the one blue dress. Maddie describes Peggy, and rationalizes the teasing as Wanda’s fault: Peggy was not really cruel. She protected small children from ­ ullies. And she cried for hours if she saw an animal mistreated. b If anybody had said to her, “Don’t you think that is a cruel way to treat Wanda?” she would have been very surprised. Cruel? What did the girl want to go and say she had a hundred dresses for? Anybody could tell that was a lie. (16) Of course, the bullying is less about the fibs that Wanda tells and more about her ethnic and socio-economic status that marks her as an ­outsider and sparks the girls’ teasing. Throughout the text, Estes deals with the power dynamics between and among girls. For instance, Maddie decides that she’d like to stop picking on Wanda, and begins to compose a note, but reconsiders ­because she doesn’t want to become a target. Peggy might ask her where she got the dress she had on, and Maddie would have to say that it was one of Peggy’s old ones that Maddie’s mother had tried to disguise with new trimmings so that no one in Room 13 would recognize it. (35) Estes highlights how Maddie’s motivations don’t stem from an inherent mean girl gene, but rather from the threat of exposure, and shame about her own poverty. Class 13 holds a drawing and color contest, and when students arrive to class the day of the competition they find that Wanda has drawn one hundred pictures of one hundred dresses. In Slobodkin’s ­illustration, dresses in different colors and styles cover the entire classroom, the wall behind the teacher’s desk as well as the windowsill. Wanda wins the prize, but cannot claim it because she has transferred schools. The

22  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood teacher, Miss Mason, reads a note from Wanda’s father to the class: “Now we move away to big city. No more holler Polack. No more ask why funny name. Plenty of funny names in the big city” (47). The rest of the novel focuses on Maddie’s reckoning with her decision to stand silently by rather than stop the teasing. Peggy and Maddie attempt to apologize to Wanda, they go to her house in Boggins Heights, and write a letter. On the final page of the book, Maddie “blinked away the tears that came every time she thought of Wanda standing alone in that sunny spot in the school yard close to the wall, looking ­stolidly over at the group of laughing girls” (80). Slobodkin illustrates the girls in the abstract, allowing the viewer to project themselves onto the blurred i­mage of the perpetrator, the bystanders, or the victim. Anita Silvey notes that, “Slobodkin draws a mere suggestion of the ­characters ­allowing readers to imagine other faces on them.” This visual tactic ­suggests the ubiquity of the situation, and how the bully or bystander might change roles depending on context and relationships. Estes a­ ttends to the i­ntersecting oppressions of class and ethnicity that mark the new girl as an outsider. Additionally, The Hundred Dresses foreshadows representations of the schoolgirl as either a vulnerable, morally superior victim or a potentially redeemable mean girl. For instance, in the end, Wanda serves as the embodiment of goodness. She sends a letter to Miss Mason and in it she writes: “I’d like that girl Peggy to have the drawing of the green dress with the red trimming and her friend Maddie to have the blue one” (72). Like The Recess Queen, the novel operates as a pedagogy of kindness. It also serves as a template for later works. Published in 2012, Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis’s picture book Each Kindness echoes the plot and emotional tone of The ­Hundred Dresses. Woodson’s free verse complements Lewis’s illustrations that combine “realism with shimmering impressionistic washes of color” to turn “readers into witnesses as kindness hangs in the balance” (“­Review of Each Kindness”). The book opens with a long shot, double page ­illustration of the school. The text reads: “That winter, snow fell on ­everything, turning the world a brilliant white.” This first image presents the schoolhouse as a neutral location, unsullied by children’s play or girls’ meanness. The snow evokes images of fresh starts and innocence, and the classroom as a place devoid of gender, racial, or class discrimination. Chloe, a young African American schoolgirl, narrates the book. Woodson and Lewis disrupt familiar bullying narratives in two ways. First, they dislodge the white girl, so prevalent in popular culture, from the role of mean girl, and second make the reader privy to the perpetrator’s perspective, a break from the majority of contemporary bullying stories, which are told from the perspective of the victim (Oppliger and Davis). The picture book centers around the arrival of a new girl named Maya. Chloe tells the reader that Maya’s “coat was open and the clothes ­beneath it looked old and ragged. Her shoes were spring shoes, not meant for the snow. A strap on one of them had broken.” Like Wanda in The Hundred Dresses, Maya’s poverty singles her out for exclusion. Chloe

Recess Queens   23 tells the reader: “My best friends that year were Kendra and ­Sophie. At lunchtime, we walked around the schoolyard, our fingers laced ­together, ­whispering secrets into each other’s ears.” Whispering together as a group visually codes the girls as mean or relationally aggressive. Lewis captures Maya’s isolation in a double-spread aerial shot in which Maya lingers in the center of the two-page spread as Chloe, ­Kendra, and Sophie stand around her on the playground. On the next page, Maya skips rope alone in the sunshine with the trees behind her, a variation on ­Slobodkin’s ­illustration of Wanda standing in the sun against a brick wall in The Hundred Dresses. As Maya plays by herself, Kendra invents a new name for her: “Never New. Everything she has comes from a secondhand store.” One day, Maya does not return to school. Woodson and Lewis’s picture book concludes with the teacher, Ms. Albert offering her students a lesson about kindness: The next day, Maya’s seat was empty. In class that morning, we were talking about kindness. Ms. Albert had brought a big bowl into class and filled it with water. We all gathered around her desk and watched her drop a small stone into it. Tiny waves rippled out, away from the stone. This is what kindness does, Ms. Albert said. Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world. Ms. Albert gives each student a stone and asks them to talk about a kind act that they have done. Chloe cannot think of anything and remains silent. The focus on mean girls in Each Kindness as the natural expression of “girls being girls” obscures gendered moral lessons embedded in the text—that girls are responsible for attuning properly to the needs of others. Although Ms. Albert gives all her students a stone to throw in the bowl, the book’s pedagogy of kindness targets the girl characters (and presumably girl readers) who have failed to demonstrate benevolence, an essential trait of “healthy” girlhood. Importantly, the female teachers, Miss Mason and Ms. Albert, serve as moral guides, as apolitical subjects without prejudices, and as proper examples of normative f­ emininity. Schoolgirls are constructed in these two narratives as vulnerable to or as victims of meanness. And yet, The Hundred Dresses and Each Kindness differ from the majority of mean girl narratives discussed in the ­remainder of this chapter in that the authors and illustrators acknowledge ­intersectional identities, and that exclusionary behaviors often stem from an intolerance of difference rather than inherent meanness.

Mean Schoolgirls Jane, The Fox and Me written by Fanny Britt, illustrated by Isabelle ­Arsenault, and translated from the French by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou is a highly acclaimed graphic novel that focuses on the emotional fallout of mean girl dynamics. The plot centers on Hélène, a schoolgirl

24  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood in Montreal who is bullied by a group of mean girls led by Geneviève. ­Geneviève is a familiar conceit, a young white girl who performs normative femininity through spreading rumors, critiquing clothing, hair, and body size, and competing for the attention of boys. The text combines picture book and comics conventions. As Naomi Hamer notes, Jane, The Fox and Me is part sequential comic and part picture book. She writes that, “while the majority of the book resembles an oversized, hardcover, vertical-format graphic novel in which sequential comic panels predominate, a number of stylistic elements a­ ssociated with picture books have been integrated throughout the narrative” (180). This combination of elements defines the hybrid nature of the book and allows for visually sophisticated and emotive storytelling. Arsenault captures the drab and colorless world of Hélène’s school days through a gray sepia-toned palette. The first page consists of three equalsized panels that set the mood. Arsenault positions the viewer above the school, looking down at the campus surrounded by leafless trees, and like Each Kindness emphasizes the school setting. The second panel leads the reader through the playground and towards a dark ­doorway, a metaphorical black hole. Above the third panel, we hear Hélène’s voice for the first time, expressed in block-lettered handwritten script. “There was no possibility of hiding anywhere today. Not in the halls at school or out in the schoolyard or even in the far stairway, the one leading to art class that smells like sour milk. They were E ­ VERYWHERE, just like their insults scribbled on the walls.” The visual images chronicle the bullying that takes place behind Hélène’s back in whispers, in school hallways, and on the bus to and from school (Figure 1.2). To survive the harassment, Hélène seeks refuge in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Readers familiar with this classic novel of schoolgirl ­misery will immediately recall the grim and drab descriptions of Lowood ­charity school for orphan girls. Throughout Jane, the Fox and Me the author and illustrator include intertextual ties to Brontë’s Jane Eyre, a ­fictional autobiography originally published under the pseudonym ­Currer Bell about a young woman’s education, including her experiences as a schoolgirl, a teacher, and a governess that draws on numerous genres, including Gothic romance and the girls’ school story (Hill). Given the long-lasting popularity of Jane Eyre and its canonization in the ­secondary school English curriculum in North America, it is not surprising that Britt draws on this earlier story to frame her contemporary one. Although the Lowood section of Jane Eyre lasts just five chapters, as I discuss in the introduction, these moments remain the bleakest and most reinterpreted representations of girlhood, misery, and schooling. This intertextual ­reference adds emotional weight to the graphic novel. As Hélène rides the bus she reads Brontë’s novel. She tells the reader: “It’s the best book I’ve ever read, even if I’m only halfway through. It’s called Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, with two dots over the e.” She then explains: “Jane is sent to a charity school, where all she gets to eat

Recess Queens   25

Figure 1.2  Mean girls. From Jane, the Fox and Me reproduced with permission from Groundwood Books, Toronto. Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault. English translation copyright © 2012 by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou.

is burnt porridge and brown stew for many years. But she grows up to be clever, slender and wise anyway” (16). Unlike Jane, who is tormented by the adult headmaster of the school, Mr. Brocklehurst, Hélène’s ­misery comes from the taunting of mean girls, who use a ­number of tactics, including writing on the bathroom stall door “Hélène weighs 216!

26  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood She smells like BO!” (18). Reading Jane Eyre transports Hélène out of her own gray Lowood-like environment to a world of “bold ­vermillion and blush rose” and her block-lettered hand is replaced by a curvy ­italicized one (Brodesser-Akner 15). Once in Jane’s world, a white ghost-like mask appears on Jane’s childhood and adult face that resembles Hélène’s own. At best a temporary refuge, the novel cannot block out the reality of her experience. In an image of Hélène reading on an empty bus, she states “Normally I have time to read something like thirteen pages between school and home.” In the gap between panels, Geneviève and friends

Figure 1.3  Hélène is insulted on the bus. From Jane, the Fox and Me ­reproduced with permission from Groundwood Books, Toronto. Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault. English translation copyright © 2012 by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou.

Recess Queens   27 board the bus and Hélène can hear “snickering with the boys near the back, I turn pages without really seeing them. I’m too deafened by the hammering of my heart” (18). Images like this one capture Hélène’s despair in excruciating detail and Arsenault manipulates the viewer’s emotions through the use of different sized panels. In this image, the handwritten text creeps up into the gutter between panels, emphasizing the ways in which anxiety bubbles up and Hélène’s emotions run over (Figure 1.3). About Geneviève she says: “Even with my creeping vine of an imagination, I’m always taken off guard by the insults she invents.” In a three-panel sequence, Hélène’s emotions come particularly into focus. “The same thing happens every time—another hole opens up in my rib cage” (18). The focus comes closer and closer to capture Hélène’s face in profile as she dares to glance at the riders behind her. The accompanying text reads: “Hearing Everything. Hearing Nothing.” Through the juxtaposition of Hélène’s imaginary literary world and her everyday reality, Arsenault uses representations of natural l­andscapes to capture Hélène’s inner one. The night before a dreaded mandatory school camping trip, Hélène lays on her living room floor that then turns into a black and white forest landscape. Like Edward Gorey’s use of scale discussed in the introduction, Arsenault pictures Hélène lying prone across a large black circle that dwarfs her small body (Figure 1.4).

Figure 1.4  H  élène is transported from her living room to a black and white forest landscape. From Jane, the Fox and Me reproduced with permission from Groundwood Books, Toronto. Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault. English translation copyright © 2012 by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou.

28  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood The use of a full two-page spread highlights the hybrid picture book and comics format that allows Arsenault to “depict wordless visual narratives that convey psychological states and emotional experiences” (Hamer 180). Here, Arsenault communicates Hélène’s overwhelming isolation and her dread. On the school camping trip, Geneviève and her friends double down on Hélène and the boys get involved as a way to impress the mean girls. When the boys tease her, Geneviève and her friends are pictured laughing in the background. Geneviève cruelly announces to Hélène: “I stuck a fork in your butt, but you’re so fat you didn’t feel a thing!!” (70). Hélène is assigned to the outcast cabin far from the main one. At night, she steps out into the night and meets a fox that is the same orange as that used to illustrate the hero Rochester. The fox brings color into her dreary gray world, offers a connection, and signals a shift in the story as Hélène soon makes a friend with another girl outcast, ­G éraldine. ­Friendship fixes the bullying, and Geneviève and her friends no longer bother Hélène once she befriends Géraldine. Britt and Arsenault’s graphic novel ends like many other post-2002 mean girl narratives with redemption through friendship or the ability of the victim to forgive or forget the harm done to her, as Wanda does in The Hundred Dresses and as Mean Jean’s ­classmates do in The Recess Queen. In Jane, the Fox and Me, friendship redeems the outcast, Hélène. When she returns to school, Arsenault illustrates the change in Hélène’s inner landscape through pops of color that break the drab school landscape. Hélène and Geneviève even share a friendly wave at the end of the book, pointing out how even the mean girl can learn to be nice. To be sure, Britt and Arsenault offer a sensitive visual-verbal portrayal of the damage of relational bullying, and provide readers coping strategies in the form of reading and fantasy. However, the narrative also re-regulates the girls strongly back into normative femininity (be friends!), deflecting responsibility for coping with conflict back onto the nurturing and passive victim motifs of idealised girlhood, in the incitement to get along no matter what the context or cost. (Ringrose and Renold 587) This pedagogy of kindness is multi-dimensional—it attempts to rehabilitate the relationally mean schoolgirl through affective lessons in shame and empathy, and upholds the victim as heroine for her passive suffering. Published the same year as Jane, the Fox and Me Patricia Polacco’s picture book, Bully offers another example of contemporary graphic mean girl narrative. Polacco has written poignantly about bullying in her 1998 picture book memoir, Thank You, Mr. Falker, a complex portrait of how Polacco’s learning disability framed an encounter between bully and victim. In her earlier effort, Polacco embraces how harassment crosses

Recess Queens   29 gender lines, and like Woodson and Lewis, underscores how difference often structures bully-victim-bystander relationships. In contrast, Bully rehearses familiar mean girl stereotypes in a highly didactic mode. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly describes Polacco’s book as “a middle school variation on Mean Girls” that “is an overwrought but compelling literary hybrid” (“Review of Bully”). Polacco’s Bully does follow the plot of the Mean Girls film and adds cyberbullying, an activity associated predominately with girls in the post-2002 mean girl moment. Illustrated in a palette of bubble gum pink, blue, and lime green, new girl Lyla arrives at her new school. The mean girls, lead by Gage, adopt Lyla after she tries out for and successfully joins the cheerleading team. When Lyla discovers that the mean girls are bullying her friend, Jamie, through social media she defends him and breaks off her friendship with the girls. In retaliation, Lyla becomes the subject of their torment. Like Arsenault, Polacco draws on familiar representations of the mean girl as one of a group, a rendering that contrasts with physical girl bullies like Mean Jean, who usually stand alone and take up their own visual space. Polacco reproduces solidified visual codes of the mean girl. Like ­Geneviève in Jane, the Fox and Me, Gage is rendered as skinny and blond, pointing, whispering, or holding her hands on her hips. A ­reviewer for Kirkus writes that “Polacco gets quite a few things just right—the three mean girls’ body language perfectly expresses their snotty attitude” (“Review of Bully” 240). Polacco and the reviewer reproduce representations of the mean girl as a familiar and knowable character. While Slobodkin’s indistinct schoolgirls in The Hundred Dresses allow viewers to identify with a range of roles, contemporary mean girls are distinct villains who come in recognizable forms. In her author’s note, Polacco draws on her experiences as an author and observes: I’ve been visiting schools for twenty-one years now, and in this time I have observed bullying increasing and escalating among children. A new alarming component is their ability to single out other children instantly through electronic devices. This type of teasing is particularly horrifying because it can be done secretly, without the observation of teachers or parents, and because it invites the entire school to weigh in—and often, the victim has no idea who the accuser is. Polacco uses the term children in her note, but reproduces a highly g­ endered visual-verbal representation of cyberbullying. Throughout mean girl narratives like Polacco’s the child’s gender “becomes a key aspect of the discourse, which works to demonize not the tactics of ­indirect aggression but instead the girls who are shown to use it” (Ryalls 472).10 Mean girls are the problem in Bully rather than the underhanded tactics that technology allows.

30  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood Polacco offers a different resolution to familiar mean girl scripts that leaves the problem of bullying unsolved. In Bully, the teacher does not offer a lesson in kindness, girls do not feel remorse, and bully and victim do not become friends. Instead, in the last image of Bully Polacco illustrates Jamie, Lyla, and another child standing together with their arms crossed, perhaps a reference to the ending of Mean Girls in which Cady “rejects meanness and returns to her platonic yet queer-positive ­friendships with Damian and Janis” (Projansky 114). Bully concludes with a question about whether or not Lyla and Jamie should stay at the school and hope for things to get better or to move. That last line of the book reads: “What would you do?” Like Each Kindness, Polacco embeds a teacher friendly hook that makes the picture book easy to fold into the curriculum as a prompt for a whole class discussion or an essay.11 Not surprisingly, Bully, The Hundred Dresses, Each Kindness, and Jane, the Fox and Me regularly appear on lists of anti-bullying resources for teachers. And while some of these books recognize intersectional identities, such as The Hundred Dresses and Each Kindness, these intricacies are most often contained by a focus on individual rather than systemic violence. In the end, each of these graphic texts of girlhood is a story about a girl or girls who decided on mean and the moral consequences of those actions.12 As the 2004 reissue of The Hundred Dresses suggests, mean girls are here to stay. The next section focuses on the ongoing commodification of the mean girl character in popular ­visual-verbal texts marketed to school-aged girls.

The Commodification of the Mean Girl Rachel Renée Russell’s New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series marketed to tweens provides an example of just how financially lucrative stories about mean girls can be. First published in 2009, there are more than 20 million copies of the books in print and the series has been translated into 36 languages (Cavna). In 2015, Russell received a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary work for children for Dork Diaries 8: Tales From a Not So-Happily After and the series is a National Public Radio Backseat Book Club Selection. The eleventh book in the series entitled Tales From a Not-So-Friendly Frenemy was ­published in 2016, and it currently sits at the number five spot on The New York Times “Children’s Best Sellers” list. Lionsgate films plans to bring the series to the big screen with Mark Waters, director of the 2004 film Mean Girls at the helm. Russell works with her daughters Erin and Nikki to write and ­illustrate the books. The black-and-white cartoon illustrations within the book “were inspired partly by Disney characters and partly by ­Japanese manga and have a ready-made mainstream accessibility”

Recess Queens   31 (Kaufman “The Grown-Up”). Russell based the Dork Diaries on her own daughters and their experiences at school. The message of the series is to “­always remember to let your inner Dork shine through!” (Lodge). Fans can interact with the brand through a website that connects readers with the fictional character Nikki Maxwell on social media, provides advice about what do “when you are bullied by a mean girl that everyone likes,” and offers a Dorky Reader Club Kit for teachers that includes books, stickers, pencils, and posters for their classrooms.13 Classroom teachers can also sign up to Skype with Russell. The copy on the website reads: “Teachers! Has your classroom read Dork Diaries? Is your book club discussing one of the hilarious books in the series?” Sharing similarities with other popular mean girl narratives, the main character Nikki Maxwell and mean girl MacKenzie Hollister are white. In an interview with National Public Radio, Russell states that “Nikki Maxwell just came to me as a Caucasian little girl and when I sat down and made that decision I thought, ‘Well, I don’t know, what’s society going to think? I’m a black woman and can I do this?’” (NPR Staff). Russell cites Shonda Rhimes, creator of the highly popular television show Grey’s Anatomy as her inspiration. Like Rhimes, her decision to write across racial lines has resulted in a blockbuster series and ­fi nancial success. Russell states that she created Nikki as an “everygirl, all hues mixed together” (“Rachel Renée”). The books also include diverse schoolgirls Zoeysha “Zoey” Ebony Franklin and Chloe Garcia, who are Nikki’s best friends.14 Mean girl MacKenzie is the most popular student at Westchester Country Day middle school, and the leader of the CCP (Cute, Cool, and Popular) group. She wears designer clothing, and is consistently compared to and visualized as animals throughout the series: “To call MacKenzie a ‘mean girl’ would be an understatement. She’s VICIOUS! She’s a PIT BULL in glittery eye shadow and Jimmy Choo Flip Flops!” (Russell, Fabulous 30). In another example, MacKenzie is pictured as a “RATTLESNAKE in lip gloss and hoop earrings and blond hair extensions” (Russell, Friendly 3). The use of animals to illustrate girls and women as “bad” draws on a long-standing practice that cuts across popular culture and media.15 The visual-verbal representation of ­MacKenzie as monstrous puts the mean girl character in the same league as evil stepmothers and witches. While the dorks are the heroes of the story, the mean girl/nice girl dichotomy organizes the plots of these texts. Conflicts center on boys and other everyday tween problems that ultimately reproduce hetero-­ normative gender binaries (Taber and Woloshyn). For instance, ­MacKenzie and Nikki both have a crush on Brandon Roberts, and the series ­chronicles MacKenzie’s jealousy of Nikki and Brandon’s relationship. That the books are based on events that really happened to Russell’s daughters, and the use of handwritten entries in diary form

32  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood (associated with girls and secrecy) gives the series a veneer of truth that aligns with cultural myths about girls as naturally mean. The wildly successful Dork Diaries series proves that mean girl narratives are big business. Building on the marketability of bullying as a topic of interest for parents, teachers, librarians, and others, publishing houses like Random House and Simon & Schuster “have started anti-bullying campaigns built around their books” (Kaufman, “Publishers”).16 Toy corporations also employ this strategy.17 Mattel’s multi-modal, transmedia Monster High brand of Goth-schoolgirls, for example, partners with the Kind Campaign, “an internationally recognized movement, ­documentary and school program based upon the powerful belief in KINDness, that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl ‘crime’” (“Monster High”). The Kind ­Campaign and Monster High collaboration plugs into the idea that girls are relational aggressors and to the highly lucrative anti-bullying industry.18 Like Dork Diaries, the Monster High materials focus on self-­ esteem and invite girls to embrace their freaky flaws. In 2016, Monster High partnered with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation to market the “Zomby Gaga” doll (Borge). Mattel donates to the organization and encourages fans to “spread kindness” by signing a pledge. Monster High and Dork Diaries are examples of a larger trend in which corporations and other for-profit entities market and sell their products (as well as stereotypes about girls) to schools. As Jessica ­R ingrose notes, the idea that girls are predisposed to meanness gains “momentum with each school anti-bully guide, popular book, television and radio show, or film that draws strategically on the research on indirect and relational aggression” (“A New Universal” 414). Proving Ringrose right, the mean girl “problem” has reached full velocity. Girl bullying and empowerment conferences take place across North America, and schools can buy and implement curricula focused specifically on the problem of girl on girl bullying. Graphic texts of girlhood that feature mean girls are part of this larger anti-bullying industry.19 As graphic mean girl texts enter into the classroom, it is crucial to consider them as part of a broader pedagogy of girlhood, and to ask the question: “Who or what represents what to whom with what, and where and why?” (Mitchell 423). Adult writers, teachers, and others use the picture book and the graphic novel to represent the mean schoolgirl, and even though the intention is to stop bullying, the end result is that the aberrant girl (rather than bullying) becomes the curriculum. When considered within a larger network of cultural representations, graphic narratives about the mean girl emerge as a relay mechanism for socially acceptable forms of misogyny. The mean girl is a character with a visual-verbal history (and r­ eputation) that relies on earlier theorizations of girls as pathological. The graphic texts of girlhood considered in this chapter recycle stereotypes that are

Recess Queens   33 “institutionally and culturally embedded” across media (Ono and Pham 172). Mean girls figure predominately as cautionary bodies that will, if left unchecked, overtake the school. In Each Kindness, Bully, Jane, the Fox and Me as well as the Dork Diaries series the schoolgirl produces negative effects in individuals, institutions, and communities. At the same time, these constructions overlook how girls’ behaviors are also a result of how power operates in schools. The picture books and graphic narratives analyzed here, for instance, repeatedly represent the school as a neutral site to which girls bring mean. In so doing, authors and illustrators divert the reader away from other important issues, namely the gendered discrimination and harassment that girls regularly experience in classrooms and hallways that feminist researchers have documented since the 1970s.20 The trouble with mean girl narratives, however, is not just that they foster gender stereotypes. Researchers point out in their empirical studies that anti-bullying policies instituted by schools are especially detrimental for girls of color and other youth who do not fit the norms that organize the mean/nice girl paradigm. 21 The focus on ‘girl on girl’ meanness deflects attention away from how race, ability, sexuality, religion, and other markers of difference play a role in violence between and among school-aged youth. In this way, representations of the mean girl on the page influence the material experiences of real girls in classrooms. The sample of graphic mean girl narratives discussed in this c­ hapter offer up a pedagogy of kindness that reproduces normative ideas about who girls are and how they should behave. Across these texts, nice is considered the cure for mean. However, as Greer Litton Fox argues, the term “nice” is not benign. It is a gendered form of social control, connoting behavior that is “chaste, gentle, gracious, ingenious, good, clean, kind, virtuous, noncontroversial, and above suspicion and r­ eproach” (805). The next chapter considers the mean girl’s opposite, the “nice” girl in image and text as she appears in the Nancy Drew franchise. It picks up on what I have argued here, that the term “mean” is relational and its current usage, especially in relationship to girls and education, is limited to certain kinds of gendered behaviors that hide other forms of aggression. As the case of Nancy Drew will demonstrate, benevolence is also a form of violence.

Notes 1 This quote comes from Brontë’s journal and is recounted in Harman. 2 There is substantial empirical literature that critiques theorizations of girls as relational bullies. For more, see Artz et al.; Brown (Girlfighting); Brown and Chesney-Lind; Gonick; Hey; Waldron; Ringrose (“A New Universal”); Ringrose and Renold. 3 The picture books analyzed in this chapter were selected after reviewing and reading the list of “relational aggression” titles provided by Emily Moulton et al. as well as recent book lists and reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus

34  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood Reviews, and other professional resources. Trudy Ludwig’s 2010 Confessions of a Former Bully is not included here; see Bethune and Gonick for critical discourse analysis of the mean girl in this book. 4 The first English novel intended specifically for girls, Sarah Fielding’s 1749 The Governess, or The Little Female Academy includes an episode entitled “An Account of A Fray, Begun and Carried on for the Sake of an Apple; In Which are Shown the Sad Effects of Rage and Anger.” A group of schoolgirls fight “like so many cats” over who would get the biggest apple; “and their anger by degrees became so high, that words could not vent half their rage; and they fell to pulling of caps, tearing of hair, and dragging the clothes off one another’s backs.” See also Oppliger’s Bullies and Mean Girls in Popular Culture for additional examples. 5 Lopez-Ropero writes that, “even though fictional depictions of bullying are hardly new, it was in the decade of 2000–2010 that a significant number of adolescent novels appeared, especially in the USA, dealing with bullying in high school settings” (146). See also, Maughan. 6 See Ryalls’s analysis of the ways in which the “mean girl” discourse limits other possible interpretations of high-profile bullying cases in the media. See also Dave Cullen’s Columbine in which he critiques the “false scripts” that sustain the bully-motive. 7 See Brown’s Girlfighting for a critique of children’s media in which she notes a similar trend. 8 Projansky (114) provides a queer reading of Mean Girls. 9 See Smulders’s analysis of The Hundred Dresses alongside 10,000 Dresses. 10 Crooks offers a feminist intersectional analysis of the literature on girls and cyberbullying that expands this representation. 11 Penguin’s An Educator’s Guide to Patricia Polacco (McLaughlin and ­Hurley 12) is one example. 12 An interesting exception that addresses the complexities of bullying and the violence of assimilation is Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost. “Mean girl” ­Elizabeth Standard is a complicated character, especially when juxtaposed with the real mean girl in the novel, the ghost and murderer Emily Reilly. Emily haunts Anya and becomes increasingly threatening. However, Emily also chides Anya when she refuses to defend Dima, another Russian émigré who is relentlessly bullied because of his difference. The ghostly Emily brings into focus how American schools expel difference, and facilitate the process of Americanization. Brosgol locates the violence in the institution of school itself and moves away from familiar mean girl storylines. 13 At the time of writing this program remains advertised on the website but is currently unavailable due to popularity. 14 Russell is a key contributor to the We Need Diverse Books™ movement and an activist who challenged white privilege during a controversy around a 2014 YA BookCon panel. The original panel consisted of four white male authors. Russell was originally asked to moderate, resisted that role, and in the end spoke as a YA panelist rather than serving as a facilitator (Chant). 15 See Creed; Marshall (“Monstrous”). 16 For instance, R. J. Palacio’s 2012 Wonder launched Random House’s Choose Kind Campaign. This highly problematic novel was not originally written as a book about bullying. See Meyer and Wender’s incisive critique of the kindness discourse in the novel and for teaching strategies for challenging it. 17 Another example is Nickelodeon channel star Jojo Siwa’s 2016 anti-bullying video “Boomerang” posted on YouTube. The video is also an advertisement for “Jojo’s bows,” hair accessories available for purchase at Claire’s, a store that caters directly to the tween girl market.

Recess Queens   35 18 See Walton’s analysis of anti-bullying programs as for profit ventures. 19 For instance, Rosalind Wiseman has created a curriculum entitled ­Owning Up: Empowering Adolescents to Confront Social Cruelty, Bullying and ­Injustice. Bethune and Gonick provide a critical discourse analysis of teacher resources. 20 For discussion, see Chesney-Lind and Irwin as well as Ringrose (Post­feminist) and Pomerantz et al. 21 See for example, Chesney-Lind and Irwin; Chesney-Lind et al.; Ringrose (“Just be Friends”; “A New Universal”); and Ryalls. For an additional ­example, see Jiwani’s (“Erasing”) analysis of the violent murder of teenager Reena Virk, a case in which racism and sexism were erased in media and court proceedings.

2 Nice White Girls Violence and Racial Masquerade in Nancy Drew

In a 2005 op-ed for The Boston Globe entitled “Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Mean Girls: In an Era of Queen Bees, Wannabes, Nancy Proves that Girls Don’t Have to Be Mean to be Popular” Melaine Rehak states: In addition to her intelligence, sense of fun, and amazing ability to save a drowning swimmer, diagnose and treat an injury within seconds, or escape from any number of treacherous situations, often while dressed in a perfectly matching skirt and heels, Nancy was, and has remained, the quintessential Nice Girl. (2) At first glance, Nancy Drew seems a welcome antidote to the mean school girls discussed in the last chapter. Unlike Peggy, Geneviève, or M ­ acKenzie, the teen sleuth and her chums, George Fayne and Bess M ­ arvin welcome rather than exclude new girls into their group. However, in the Nancy Drew series, benevolence includes the violent appropriation of Other girls as consumable tropes that in turn reify hierarchical relationships between and among girls. The Nancy Drew franchise markets itself as wholesome, feminist, and culturally tolerant; however, the lessons ­embedded in the materials from the 1930s to the present draw on larger social histories and practices of racialized violence. Violence is a key feature of the Nancy Drew mysteries and it o ­ perates on numerous levels. Male criminals regularly assault Nancy Drew in her quest to solve mysteries: they knock her unconscious, drug, and kidnap her. In this chapter I do not focus on the harm done to Nancy Drew, but rather attend to the violence Nancy Drew, George Fayne, and Bess ­Marvin inflict on Other girls in the series. The five texts examined in ­detail in this chapter are all mysteries in which Nancy Drew makes ­contact with racialized girls from China, Turkey, Japan, and ­I ndia and travels internationally as a result. Three texts from the ­original series written under the psuedonym Carolyn Keene are analyzed, including The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (1961), The Mysterious Mannequin (1970), and The Thirteenth Pearl (1979).1 These earlier images and storylines

Nice White Girls  37 ­ urase’s 2006 provide a context for reading Stefan Petrucha and Sho M graphic novel, The Girl Who Wasn’t There, and the Her Interactive ­computer game, Shadow at the Water’s Edge (2010).

The Nancy Drew Curriculum That Nancy Drew does not usually attend school may explain her ongoing popularity. 2 The original mysteries have had a contentious relationship with educators and librarians, gatekeepers who have historically maligned the mystery series as trashy rather than literary (Daigon). While Nancy Drew and other series books (and students’ choice to read them) might now be commonplace in contemporary literacy programs, they are not often considered a part of the official school curriculum. As I suggested in the introduction, the girl’s education into violence ­occurs in the context of formal schooling and through popular reading materials, such as series fictions. Like other forms of popular culture, the Nancy Drew texts “play a central role in producing narratives, metaphors, and images that exercise a powerful pedagogical force over how people think of themselves and their relationship to others” (Giroux, “Cultural Studies” 62). The Nancy Drew curriculum is complex and ubiquitous; it flows across media platforms and is consumed by many schoolgirls. The Nancy Drew texts, rooted in popular culture for ­decades, passed down from one generation to another, donated and circulated through humanitarian efforts, and marketed across the globe, are widely consumed. 3 Published in 1930, the Nancy Drew series remains a best-selling ­literary franchise, and one of the longest-running series for youth. Nancy Drew was created by Edward Stratemeyer, tycoon of late nineteenthand early twentieth-century children’s series fictions, and published by Grosset & Dunlap until 1979. Since 1984, Nancy Drew’s image has been owned and controlled by Simon & Schuster, a division of the multinational CBS and one of the four largest English language publishers. In 2004, Simon & Schuster rebranded Nancy Drew for contemporary girls in the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series in which Nancy speaks to the reader in first person and trades in her gas-guzzling roadster for a blue hybrid. Nancy Drew’s image has developed across time to match shifting discourses about girlhood; however, racial stereotypes and hierarchical relationships that reinscribe Orientalist (Said) constructions hold steady. Contact with girls in the “East” is a key feature of the series, one that requires Nancy and her friends to travel around the globe.4 International travel is a key element of twentieth-century American children’s series fictions like Nancy Drew, and fictional representations of Other places often aim to instruct readers in the superiority of white middle class America through its child heroes (MacDonald 544). The representations of Other places and people in the Nancy Drew ­series educates about and normalizes histories of U.S. colonialism and

38  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood imperialism through the figure of the American girl. 5 For readers of the series, the texts offer “a sense of ownership, entitlement and familiarity with respect to the distant parts of the world that were being explored, invaded, invested in and colonized” (Pratt 3). The contemporary titles continue to teach this sense of entitlement. Of the fifty-six titles in the original mystery series, Nancy Drew t­ ravels outside the U.S. in thirteen, roughly a quarter of the titles (Fox 2009). The first international mystery takes place in 1935 in The Message in the Hollow Oak when the teen sleuth goes to Canada. The last in the ­mystery series brings Nancy Drew to Japan in The Thirteenth Pearl. In the Nancy Drew, Girl Detective Papercutz comics, the mysteries lead to Turkey and India and in the Her Interactive games to Japan and Egypt. Nancy Drew drives cars, rides trains, boards ships, and flies on planes. She moves about without constraint, crosses borders without difficulty, and allies herself with authorities in each country. Nancy holds an American passport that allows her to travel freely, especially because her travel is defined in terms of benevolence (she never accepts payment for her sleuthing). Most importantly, travel allows Nancy Drew to make contact with racialized girls from across the globe. These international interactions allow author and illustrator to offer lessons about race in the series by juxtaposing Nancy Drew with racialized bodies that are marked as out of place in River Heights (J. Jones; ­Romalov). For example, in her analysis of gypsy women in The Clue in the Old Album (1947), Nancy Tillman Romalov argues that the girl sleuth’s freedoms hinge on derogatory representations of the Other, writing that “as a modern female Nancy stands in contrast to the third-world, underclass, gypsy women, whose narrative function it is to help define the parameters and superiority of white culture” (34). While white supremacy and American superiority continue to organize the texts that feature girls of color discussed below Nancy Drew befriends rather than expels the Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian girls that she meets. Girls like Aisha Hatun from Turkey reside temporarily in River Heights and return to live in their home countries after Nancy Drew helps them solve a mystery. These exchanges are meant to be educational and provide superficial lessons in difference through Nancy Drew’s “First World” gaze. At the same time, these international friendships simultaneously erase and reify racial hierarchies between and among girls. The differences between “First World” girls and their “Third World” counterparts are consistently accentuated through narrative and image across the Nancy Drew materials. On the front cover of The ­Mysterious Mannequin, for instance, a female figure sits lifeless in a store window, wearing a Niqab and pointing to a spot on a prayer rug that covers her lap. The book cover is a visual precursor to many contemporary ­children’s and young adult texts marketed to North American readers that reproduce images of Muslim girls as veiled, nameless, and silent;

Nice White Girls  39 and that “reinforce familiar, mainstream ideas about the confined e­ xistence of Muslim women and girls” (Sensoy and Marshall, “Save” 120). On the cover of The Mysterious Mannequin, Nancy Drew appears in the foreground, hand raised and in motion while the mannequin sits in place. Viewing the two figures in relation to each other supports a dominant reading of Nancy Drew as the empowered “First World” girl. Nancy describes the Turkish mannequin to her father: “She wore pale-blue pantaloons and a long-sleeved cerise blouse. What interested me most was the big white veil that covered her whole head except her eyes and the upper part of her nose.” “That’s right,” her father agreed. “Women in Turkey were ­required to wear that type of costume before the country became a republic in 1923. But nowadays most of them wear Western-style dress.” (3) The definition of clothes as costumes is a feature of the series, and text and image underscore the Other as essential, static, and stuck in time. The mannequin and her sartorial style is a curiosity as are all of the girls that Nancy Drew encounters in her global sleuthing adventures. In the Nancy Drew materials “the repackaging of race and colonial difference as inferior to white, Western culture and the related reification of whiteness” (Vats and Nishime 426) takes place through the ­interactions between girls in the series as well as through fictional travel to international locations. The books provide detailed descriptions of Turkey, China, Japan, and India through Nancy Drew’s gaze. The ­following ­description of a Turkish bazaar in The Mysterious M ­ annequin serves as an exemplary passage: The din was deafening! Bells jangled. Hawkers called out their wares, ranging from copper cooking utensils to leather luggage. Crowds of people, mostly Turkish men and tourists, milled along the narrow streets. Dogs roamed at will. The whole area was ­well-lighted by ­unshaded electric bulbs in many of the open-front shops, particularly where men were urging passers-by to purchase their jewelry. There were markets with cuts of lamb and dried fish hanging up, and bakeries with baklava and other pastries. (150) The descriptions of dogs milling around, the lack of women in the streets, the unshaded electric bulbs contrast with Nancy Drew’s modernity and underscore her Western perspective. Nancy Drew’s empowered white girlhood is solidified “through the trade and bodily display of material goods” (Vats and Nishime 434). In the description of place, Nancy Drew’s whiteness and superiority are

40  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood even more extraordinary as she has access (unlike most of the women in Turkey) to the bazaar and the financial resources to purchase any ­number of commodities. Nancy Drew pictures Turkey for readers and holds it in place in time and space as exotic while at the same time she continues to develop through travel and education. The stability of ­perspective despite the appearance of cultural exchange underlies the dynamics of racial masquerade that Nancy and her friends perform in the course of solving mysteries.

Racial Masquerade Within the series Nancy and George are portrayed in “yellowface,” a practice in which white actors perform as Asian characters, such as Mary Pickford playing Cio-Cio San in the 1915 film Madame ­Butterfly or ­Scarlett Johansson acting as Major Motoko Kusanagi in the 2016 film Ghost in the Shell. This type of racialized performance cuts across children’s and adult texts. The Nancy Drew series, like other graphic texts of girlhood analyzed in this book, is not a stand-alone ­example; rather, it is embedded within broader visual-verbal discourses and patterns of representation that appear across time and genre. That is, the representations of Chinese and Japanese girlhoods in the Nancy Drew series can be contextualized within a longer history of racial masquerade. In The Mystery of the Fire Dragon, Nancy Drew goes to New York to visit her Aunt Eloise, who lives next to “two wonderful Chinese” neighbors, Mr. Soong and his adopted granddaughter Chi Che, who has vanished. The violence of representation begins with the assigning of ­fictional names that sound (in the white writer’s imagination) like they are ­Chinese. Mr. Soong is an archeologist and Chi Che a schoolgirl who attends ­Columbia University. When Mr. Soong first meets George, he says: Please forgive my rudeness, but you remind me very much of my Chi Che. Of course she is Chinese and you are American, but your hair, your flashing black eyes—even your dress reminds me so much of my granddaughter who is away visiting. (11) The text emphasizes George’s clothing, and through it, her appreciation of Chinese culture. George “glanced at her clothes and had to admit that her mandarin-collared overblouse did indeed look Oriental” (12). This scene foreshadows and justifies a later one in which George appears in yellowface as Chi Che (Figure 2.1). GEORGE FAYNE, Nancy said, “You are about to become Chi Che Soong!” “What!” George cried out.

Nice White Girls  41 Nancy smiled. “I’m sure that with a little change in your hairstyle, you could pass for Chi Che. We’ll shape your eyebrows and make them heavier. We’ll place a bit of rouge high on your cheekbones and change that boyish hairdo of yours into a pixy cut.” Nancy picked up the picture of Chi Che. “Look at this ­photograph and tell me what you think.” After the others had studied it a moment, Bess gave Nancy a hug. “You’re a genius. It wouldn’t be hard to do at all, and if George puts on the dress Chi Che’s wearing in the picture, I’ll bet people will think she’s Chi Che, at least from a distance.” (16)

Figure 2.1  G  eorge Fayne “masquerades” as Chi Che Soong. From The Mystery of the Fire Dragon by Carolyn Keene. Source: Copyright © 1961, 1989 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division. All rights reserved.

42  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood To solve the mystery of the missing schoolgirl, George, Bess, and Nancy go through Chi Che’s closet and find a dress that smells “like ­incense” (35) and borrow her eyebrow pencil, rouge, and lipstick. George “­masquerading” (43) as Chi Che walks through Columbia ­University as ­ thers “over a dozen young men and women students, some Oriental, o ­A merican, also waved and called to ‘Chi Che’” (42). In the logic of the series, ­A mericans are distinguished from “Oriental” outsiders. George as Chi Che stands in the foreground of the image, dressed in the ­illustrator’s rendering of a traditional flowered silk Cheongsam. As Vats and Nishime write: “in yellowface performance, the white performer in masquerade is both the object of the gaze and a point of identification for the white audience” (431). Indeed, the image sets up George visually as the object of the viewer’s attention, capturing how characters like Chi Che exist for Nancy, Bess, and George (and the audience) to consume, to know, and to embody. After George’s transformation is complete, “Bess exclaimed in wonder, ‘I can’t believe it! You really do look like the girl in this picture, George.’ Suddenly she made a low bow. ‘Delighted to meet you, Chi Che Soong!’” (36). George performs in ­yellowface again in Hong Kong at the behest of Mr. Soong’s twin brother. Kent Ono and Vincent Pham write that, “while perhaps seeming to invite and e­ mbrace inclusion of Asians and Asian Americans, yellowface ensures the ­distancing and ultimate abnegation of them” (60). These textual performances by George captured in illustrations reproduce racial differences and privilege whiteness as the norm. Another example of racial masquerade takes place in The Mystery of the Thirteenth Pearl. The advertising copy for the novel claims that, “readers will love accompanying Nancy, disguised as a Japanese girl, in this adventure in Tokyo.” Nancy Drew goes to Japan with her father to help locate a stolen pearl necklace. The villains of the story are Benny the Slippery One Caputti and Mr. Kampura, a character who is described as stern-faced, “tall for a Japanese, and powerfully built” (132). At the urging of Nancy’s hostess, Mrs. Mise, the girl sleuth masquerades as a Japanese girl and goes to visit Mr. Kampura at his office. The narrator describes Nancy Drew’s transformation by Mrs. Mise in detail. First she rubbed white salve on Nancy’s face and covered it with powder to lighten her suntanned skin. Then she darkened and upturned Nancy’s eyebrows and put a black wig on her head. It had a tiny lotus blossom on one side. She was given a rosebud-type-mouth. Finally Mrs. Mise brought out a pretty but subdued kimono, an obi, a pair of white stockings, and sandals. (47) Once transformed, Nancy accompanies her father, who refers to her as “his lovely little Japanese daughter” to Mr. Kampura’s office where she

Nice White Girls  43 “bowed low when she was introduced, but on purpose her name was so slurred that no one could understand it” (48). In the image, Nancy leans forward in deference to Mr. Kampura, her body tightly encased in a Kimono, and the visual image underscores that she is no longer outspoken, mobile, and free (Marshall, “Global”).6 Nancy’s temporary performance as demure and “traditional” Japanese girl emphasizes what she is not. Through acts of racial masquerade like this one, the reader learns “as much about performances of white American” girlhood as any real Japanese girlhood (Yoshihara 79). That these acts of racial appropriation are unremarkable, even ­celebrated as acts of multicultural exchange, and so central to the plot affirms the white girl’s empowerment as the key element of the story. The series sustains yellowface logics that “assume that it is okay for the dominant mainstream to project an image of Asians and Asian ­A mericans that it finds interesting, amusing, demeaning, off putting or simply worth projecting” (Ono and Pham 59). These examples from the original mysteries are glaringly stereotypical and historically outdated; however, it is important to note that these texts remain in high circulation across the globe. In addition, contemporary spin-offs of the Nancy Drew series continue to recycle hierarchical relationships between and among girls.

Nancy Drew, Girl Detective In 2005, Simon & Schuster licensed Nancy Drew Girl Detective to appear in the Papercutz manga-style graphic novels. Written by ­Stefan Petrucha and illustrated by Sho Murase, these New York Times best-­ selling comics draw on the original series to offer new adventures. These texts have been advertised as hipper versions of Nancy Drew and are marketed explicitly to tween girls. They also demonstrate children’s literature scholar, Leona Fisher’s claim that the Nancy Drew mysteries will “never lose their relentlessly imperialist attitudes” (70). The fourth text in the Papercutz graphic novel collection, The Girl Who Wasn’t There (Petrucha) illustrates this point. The marketing of Nancy Drew’s adventure in this graphic novel is strikingly similar to earlier advertising copy for the original mystery novels. The text reads: Nancy Drew in India? With Bess and George, too? Leave it to Nancy Drew, while getting technical support to fix her computer, to befriend a girl. But when Nancy gets a call for help from her new friend, Kalpana, one night, it’s not for tech support! As soon as the line goes dead, Nancy is determined to solve this new mystery—even if it means traveling to India. And risking the wrath of Sahadev the crime lord, who wants to sacrifice Nancy to Kali. Will Nancy Drew find her friend—or will Nancy become the girl who wasn’t there.

44  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood In the mysteries examined above, contact with the stranger happened when girls traveled to River Heights. Here, Nancy Drew makes contact through technology. The modern girl sleuth meets international friends through tech support, email, and other twenty-first century technologies. Whereas she drove her blue roadster, traveled aboard boats, and planes, Nancy Drew (and her consumers) now travel globally on the information super highway. While the transportation might be new, other things are not. Nancy Drew narrates the story in a handwritten font that offers the reader increased proximity to the teen sleuth’s thoughts and experiences. The text opens with a full-page panel of Nancy Drew’s face, mouth agape and eyes wide. The speech bubble reads AGHHH! And the background is filled with the number one and zero to represent her computer crashing. The graphic novel begins, “NANCY DREW here, dealing with a different kind of mystery—the mystery of modern technology!” Reading her computer manual she find the number for a call center. “My little call for help made its way across the telephone lines to an international exchange. Then it was beamed up to a satellite and shot back down across the world to India!” She reaches Kalpana, who runs an update that fixes her computer. Kalpana and Nancy develop a long-distance friendship that they keep up over email. One night at 3:00 in the morning Nancy Drew’s cell phone rings and she hears Kalpana’s voice. In jagged speech bubbles that capture Kalpana’s chaotic state, she says: “Nancy, It’s Kalpana! There are men in my house, I think they want to kidnap me! I didn’t know who else to call.” Nancy Drew makes futile calls to the New Delhi police and finally embarks on a trip with her father and her friends to India to save Kalpana. The villain Sahadev, a smuggler with ties to international organized crime, has kidnapped Kalpana. When Nancy arrives to save her, Kalpana reaches through the bars, grabs her hand and says: Oh Nancy I can’t believe you came to help me…I wasn’t even sure who I could trust among the police or my own neighbors so I called you my friend. And you came. How can I thank you? In the top panel, Kalpana stands in a prison cell in a halter-top that ­exposes her upper back. Visually, the girls are coded as similar, as ­contemporaries, girls who share the same sartorial (Western) taste. Here, the formula used in the Mysterious Mannequin to mark the girl that Nancy befriends as the outlier in her more traditional country ­returns (Figure 2.2). Light shines behind Nancy Drew to illuminate the dark space of Kalpana’s jail cell and to remind the reader of the ability of the “West” to bring light to the less developed “East.” Kalpana’s own neighbors have been scared into submission, and only Nancy drew can save them.

Nice White Girls  45

Figure 2.2   Nancy Drew to the rescue. From The Girl Who Wasn’t There ­Copyright © 2005. Used with permission from Simon & Schuster. Source: Published by Papercutz Graphic Novels. Reprinted with permission from ­Papercutz Graphic Novels.

Comics is a unique mode for representing time and space; and here “time is a racialized phenomenon” (Vats and Nishime 439). Nancy Drew and Kalpana are in the top frame, and the gutter stops time. In the panel below, the people of India remain in a dark and confined space,

46  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood “­time-bound, visually contained by their traditional ethnic garb and ­unable to move beyond the specificities of their historical moments” (Vats and Nishime 426). Nancy Drew exhibits her “missionary girl power” and as a “First World” girl saves her “Third World” sister from trouble (Sensoy and Marshall, “Missionary” 296). Nancy Drew’s benevolence requires that the girl of color needs to be saved and that her racial difference does not challenge whiteness. Nancy Drew discovers that Sahadev deals in pirated DVDs. She tells the reader “To appreciate how BIG this was, you’d have to know India’s film industry—named BOLLYWOOD, after…well, Hollywood—is one of the largest in the world.” At one point, Nancy and Kalpana are both captured. The villain states: “I know Ms. Nancy Drew has a reputation back home, but this is not her home!” Sahadev’s ignorance of the fact that Nancy Drew is at home all over the world is quickly made clear as Kalpana’s father, who masquerades as Sahadev’s right-hand man, saves the girls soon after this threat. The Girl Who Wasn’t There expands the previous formula through the comics medium. Visual and textual imaginings and Western ­fantasies about India flow through Nancy Drew. In the final scene, Kalpana shows Nancy, Bess, and George around New Delhi and they experience India (as the characters do in the original mysteries) as ­tourists. Bess appears in this scene dressed in Murase’s interpretation of an Indian outfit, a pink headscarf and a sari, an image that continues the practice of cultural appropriation so key to the success of the series. Similarly, the best-selling Her Interactive Nancy Drew games also incorporate international travel and contact with racialized girl strangers into its scenarios. According to their website, Her Interactive is a ­twenty-seven time gold award and three time silver award winner for Parent’s Choice Best Software, ages 10 & up for its Nancy Drew Games. In the video game, players take on Nancy Drew’s perspective, click on airplane and train tickets that transport them virtually across the globe. Shadow at the Water’s Edge was released in 2010 and focuses on Nancy Drew’s Trip to Kyoto, Japan, where she stays in a Ryokan, a “­traditional” inn run by the youngest sister in the Shimizu family. In this mystery, Nancy Drew works as a teacher’s assistant for a ­Japanese Teacher Exchange program. Nancy tells players: “I’ll spend the days teaching English and my nights with Bess and George exploring the sights, fashion, and history and nightlife of downtown Kyoto.” As Nancy explores the ghostly happenings at the Ryokan, Bess and George meet the innkeeper’s older sister, Yumi Shimizu as they sightsee and shop in the city. The game describes Yumi as “the eldest girl in the family who has gone to the city to start a more modern life, as she blogs her way through fashion, food, and cuteness.” Yumi contrasts with her more traditional younger sister, who remains dutifully behind to work with their grandmother. The focus on modernity and sartorial choice as code for both cultural difference and an adoption (or rejection) of Western values

Nice White Girls  47 rears its head in this virtual Nancy Drew adventure as Yumi “makes her own clothes, all of them pink and Lolita-style.” In addition, Yumi runs her own bento box company and players are invited to complete puzzles within the game. While the series doesn’t allow for players to take on a Japanese avatar, they move through locations signified as “Japanese,” including Yumi’s bento booth, apartment, and the ryokan. Here, as in other texts in the Nancy Drew franchise, Nancy Drew’s appropriation of Other girls is sold as educational and innocent play that sustains an “obliviousness” to race (Bernstein 19). These ­contemporary examples suggest that the Nancy Drew materials seek to keep the relationships between and among girls from a range of locations benign and innocent. In addition, the franchise continues to imagine adventure extending Nancy’s sphere in a gender-permissible mode: she’s allowed to travel if she’s helping other girls/women as the benevolent global girl or working in a caring profession like teaching, as she does in the Her Interactive game.

Benevolent Violence The construction of Nancy Drew as empowered girl relies on the ­subjugation of Other girls to maintain her privilege. It is through ­fictional representations of nice white girls like Nancy Drew that the “forgetting of violent encounter is naturalized” (Lowe 2). To cite one final example, I turn to Debbie Reese’s analysis of the representation of Native ­A mericans in the Nancy Drew Clue Crew spin-off on her blog ­American Indians in Children’s Literature. These early chapter books for younger readers imagine the adventures of Nancy Drew as a schoolgirl in the third grade. Unlike the narratives examined earlier in the chapter, the violence of colonialism happens within the U.S. rather than through travel to Other locations. In Nancy Drew: Thanksgiving Thief published in 2008 and still in print as an e-book, Bess, George, and Nancy meet a new girl in the class named Mary White Cloud, a Native American girl, who gives the young sleuth and her friends costumes to wear for the school play, including a beaded leather dress. As Reese points out, Nancy’s status as colonial settler is erased in favor of a neo-colonial fantasy in which Nancy, Bess, and George play “Indian Princess.” Reese defines these white fantasies as “stereotypical, detribalized playing Indian.” The visual rendering of Nancy Drew as Indian Princess is tied to a larger pattern of representation, as a powerful and repetitive image with deep roots in violent colonial histories that cut across time and modalities. Reese’s example underscores how violence hides under the cover of ­benevolence. For nice white girls to masquerade as or save brown girls requires an apolitical construction of girls as potential friends or enemies because of their gender only (a script also reproduced in the contemporary mean girl narratives examined in the last chapter). Even though the

48  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood series has been critiqued for upholding white supremacist, imperialist, and colonial ideologies, it is still celebrated as an example of “female solidarity” (Yasmin) and Nancy Drew is lauded as “an ­ultra-early icon of girl-power” (Strauss). The character of Nancy Drew is often used as shorthand for U.S. feminism in mainstream discussions. For instance, as a nominee to the Supreme Court of the U.S., Sonia Sotomayor proclaimed her childhood passion for Nancy Drew, which spurred c­ olumnists to write about the role the girl sleuth played in the coming-of-age stories of numerous successful white women, including former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Diane Sawyer (Hoffman; Murphy). These examples highlight how Nancy Drew serves as feminist role model for some girls and women, but not for all. As Melinda de Jesús writes: “In our aspirations for a feminist role model in the girl sleuth, we were also forced to take in the cultural baggage of white supremacy ­inherent in the series’ depictions of American girlhood and its possibilities” (“Fictions” 239–40). Nancy Drew may reside in the popular imaginary of mainstream U.S. culture as the “quintessential Nice Girl.” However, as the analysis in this chapter suggests that niceness operates “at an ideological and institutional level in service to whiteness” (­Castagno 166). Nice and mean are relational rather than oppositional terms, imbued with gendered and racialized meanings and histories that are embodied within graphic texts of girlhood. The next chapter f­ urther considers how violence educates through popular reading materials aimed at the school-aged girl through a focus on the fairy tale “Little Red ­R iding Hood” and its ties to rape culture.

Notes 1 The original mysteries were published between 1930 and 1956. These texts were revised beginning in 1959 to make them shorter. Explicit ­racial ­stereotypes and other prejudicial language were removed. The books ­analyzed here were published after that time. 2 In the 1995 spin-off “Nancy Drew on Campus” Nancy and her friends ­attend Wilder University, and later in the 2006 “Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew” series, eight-year-old Nancy attends elementary school. 3 Nancy Drew series also teaches lessons in ableism, see Schalk’s insightful analysis of “Ablenationalism.” 4 I use the terms “East” and “West” as well as “First World” and “Third World” to refer to ideological (as opposed to geographical) constructs that reflect historically based discursive relations of power between colonized peoples and colonizing empires. 5 See de Jesús (“Fictions”); Eng; Parameswaran; Fisher; and Reese for how this plays out in Nancy Drew. For an innovative theorization of ­transnational girlhood studies, see Weems (“Border”). 6 Because of high permission fees, the image is not reproduced here. ­I nterested readers can view the illustration in my 2012 article “Global Girls and Strangers.”

3 Picturing Rape Culture Little Red Riding Hood and School Dress Codes

A typical schoolgirl looks nice but is a skank. —The Urban Dictionary

Sandra Beckett argues that “Little Red Riding Hood” is “the archetypal tale of child abuse and rape” (Revisioning 5), and Susan Brownmiller calls the tale a “parable of rape” (344). As these critics suggest, “­Little Red Riding Hood” is an artifact of rape culture, at once productive and reflective of cultural fantasies about schoolgirls and sexual violence. Like the Nancy Drew series, fairy tales are popular and widely circulated texts commonly associated with North American schoolgirls, and this chapter continues the focus on graphic texts of girlhood as a form of societal curriculum. Here, I read picture book variants of the “Little Red Riding Hood” tale alongside controversies over school dress codes to make visible a ubiquitous pedagogy of sexual violence.1 Children’s picture books, and variants of the “Little Red Riding Hood” tale in particular are part of a broad network of texts, structures, and social relations that normalize sexual violence against girls. Examining images of and storylines about Little Red Riding Hood in two picture books, Aaron Frisch and Roberto Innocenti’s The Girl in Red and Marjolaine Leray’s little red hood, I explore how artists reproduce and/or challenge a cultural pedagogy in which sexual v­ iolence (or the threat of it) defines the girl’s education. 2 A consideration of recent school dress code controversies—and activist schoolgirls—that made headlines juxtaposes this textual and visual analysis, making visible the ­normalization of sexual assault within everyday texts for or about the girl as well as the ways in which graphic feminist interventions ­challenge these representations. Feminists in the 1970s first used the term “rape culture” to name ­systemic violence against girls and women.3 Rape culture is “a ­complex set of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports ­violence against women…a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent” (Buchwald et al. xi). Countless visual remediations of the “Little Red Riding Hood” tale exist.4 From the nineteenth century etchings of Gustave Doré to the contemporary illustrations of

50  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood Marjolaine Leray, artists visualize Little Red Riding Hood’s violation and her response to it in a myriad of ways, including as a naïve victim, a sexually precocious girl, a bold heroine, or a combination of these. Each relies on, resists, and/or repictures familiar rape scripts. 5 In his comprehensive study, The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood, Jack Zipes traces the history of the tale and its shifting messages about gender and sexual violence. He argues that Charles P ­ errault and the Brothers Grimm adapted a bawdy and emancipatory oral folktale into a cautionary literary tale about the rape and ­murder of a young girl that places responsibility squarely on the heroine’s ­shoulders. While numerous versions of the tale exist, variants by the Brothers Grimm and Perrault remain the most familiar, and their story­lines are often recycled in mainstream children’s picture books. Zipes traces the pervasiveness and popularity of these particular variants to visualizations of the tale. Concentrating on an impressive visual archive of the tale in children’s culture, Zipes notes how images tutor the viewer to read the girl as culpable, calling this visual repetition a “conspiracy” (“A Second” 84). He writes that Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf repeatedly share a “seductive glance” (Figure 3.1) and that “implicit in her gaze is that she may be leading him on-to granny’s house, to a bed, to be dominated” (Zipes, “A Second” 93).

Figure 3.1  Gustave Doré’s “Red Riding Hood Meets Old Father Wolf” from Charles Perrault’s Histoires ou contes du temps passé (1864). Public Domain.

Picturing Rape Culture  51 Picture books produced for and marketed to children draw upon these earlier scripts and images, and continue the conspiracy of constructing the girl as a character who “asks for it.”6 In versions by Perrault and the Grimms, Little Red Riding Hood is a school-aged girl. In their tale, “Little Red Cap,” the Brothers Grimm explicitly reference the heroine’s schoolgirlishness.7 In Trina Schart ­Hyman’s picture book version of the Grimms’ tale the wolf says to Little Red Riding Hood: Why, I don’t believe you even hear the birds sing, or enjoy the ­sunshine! You are as solemn and well behaved as if you were going to school. Everything else is so gay and happy out here in the forest. The wolf reminds Little Red Riding Hood that to be a schoolgirl, especially a good one, is a misery. The wolf promises to facilitate a break from the doldrums of the sanctioned curriculum. The visual-verbal framing of Little Red Riding Hood as naïve schoolgirl animates ­associations with sexual knowledge. Hyman’s illustration emphasizes this naïveté. The wolf stands behind Little Red Riding Hood with his paws on her shoulder and its tongue lolling out of its mouth. Little Red Riding Hood is suspended in ­motion, one foot lifted, ready to run, one hand clutching the handle of her basket, the other holding the front so that her wine and cheese do not tumble out. Her red hood is tied securely tied around her neck and her body is fully covered, marking her a well-behaved girl. Hyman’s rendering of the wolf uses the visual strategy of “relative size” (Goffman 28) to underscore “his physical and symbolic power over the young, small, desirable girl-child” (Marshall and Gilmore 100). The wild and untamed forest contrasts with the ordered schoolroom, a place in which girls’ sexualities and desires are consistently denied and contained.8 Little Red Riding Hood decides to take up the wolf’s alternative ­curriculum. Rather than stay on the path, she picks flowers and explores the forest, allowing the wolf the opportunity to trot off to grandmother’s house to wait for her. When Little Red ­R iding Hood disobeys the warning to stay on the path, she forfeits her good girl status. The wolf is figured as innocent, a creature who simply tapped into Little Red’s curiosities and longing, revealing what the Urban D ­ ictionary defines as ‘the skank,’ underneath the school-girlish veneer and modest dress. Little Red is responsible for not keeping her desires in check. The tale of “Little Red Riding Hood” can be read as a primer in rape culture as fault adheres to the schoolgirl rather than to the wolf. As the following analysis of The Girl in Red demonstrates, the picture book is not immune to violent sexual fantasies.

52  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood

The Girl in Red Pornography in picture books and morbid besides, Wow! I’ve probably read some 7,000 picture books in my lifetime and this takes the cake in disgustingly inappropriate. Found it on the ‘newly purchased’ showcased shelf in the library where the youngest children congregate. Sick. (Goodreads Review of the picture book, The Girl in Red) In 2012, the Creative Company published The Girl in Red, a challenging picture book version of “Little Red Riding Hood” written by Aaron Frisch and illustrated by Italian artist, Roberto Innocenti.9 The book shares an affinity with Sarah Moon’s chilling photographic version of Charles Perrault’s 1697 “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge,” Little Red Riding Hood (2002) (also published by Creative Company) in its portrayal of Little Red Riding Hood as a “modern day schoolgirl” (Beckett, R ­ ecycling 50), who carries a backpack rather than a basket, and confronts danger on the street rather than in the forest. Like Moon, Innocenti does not shy away from the violent and sexual material of the earlier literary versions of the tale by Perrault and the Grimm brothers.10 The Girl in Red like Jane, the Fox and Me discussed in Chapter 1 is a hybrid text that relies on picture book conventions and that also communicates “through the comics medium” (op de Beeck, “On Comics-Style” 470).11 Innocenti makes use of different sized panels and draws on other comics conventions, most notably the gutter. Innocenti also references gendered visual codes often used in advertising.12 The dense and intricate illustrations are replete with display lettering, graffiti, and other symbols as well as large white spaces that slow time and invite the reader to linger at certain points in the book. The urban setting of Innocenti’s The Girl in Red contrasts with more familiar picture book versions of the tale aimed at a young audience, such ­ arshall, as those by Trina Schart Hyman, Gail Carson Levine, James M or Jerry Pinkney in which illustrators frame the heroine as a privileged young girl who lives in a cottage or a middle-class home. Sophia, the little red character in The Girl in Red, lives in a rundown apartment building in a city center that resembles the “bleak commercial dystopia of Blade Runner” (“Review of The Girl”). Sophia wears a red hat and coat, and carries a blue and yellow backpack. Dirt soils the white soles of her pink Mary Janes and visually marks her socio-economic ­status. ­B everley Skeggs argues that images and narratives about “dirt and waste, s­ exuality and contagion, danger and disorder, degeneracy and ­pathology” (4) produce moral assesments about the working class. These classist visual codes attach to Sophia as she walks through unkempt city streets, views “dirty” images, and confronts the danger and the degeneracy of globalized, capitalist consumer culture. The environment marks Sophia, too, as a contagion,

Picturing Rape Culture  53 simultaneously in danger of violation and responsible for it, a girl who should “clean up her act.” The book’s oversized format calls the reader’s attention to the ­dangerous, sexualized, and disorderly environment through which ­Sophia moves as she travels to take biscuits, honey, and oranges to her sick Nana on the other side of the wood. Her mother tells her to “stay on the main trail all the way.” The text assures the reader that while the walk will be a long one, “Sophia is a good girl.” Sophia quickly learns that good girl status is always precarious, something to aspire to, a ­temporary state rather than a permanent designation. As Sophia begins her journey, street signs point in the direction of “Il Bosco” (The Wood)—a shopping mall. The illustration spreads out across one and a half pages; a small gray narration box appears at the top left and reads “Outside the Forest is Big.” The large white space underneath the words requires the reader to slow down, and to look closely at the images to find Sophia in the chaotic, and sexualized ­landscape. The street sign for Il Bosco points to the right while a green arrow ­directs drivers (and the reader) to the left. Two red circular road signs with a white line through the middle alert the reader that Sophia has chosen the wrong path and that she has missed the signs that tell her the right way to go. Representations of “hetero-sexy” advertisements surround ­Sophia, “imagery that reinforces current notions of feminine gender perform­ ativity as ‘sexualised,’ and seems to be appealing to a similar gaze economy as that produced in conventional heterosexual pornography” (­Dobson). As the reader follows Sophia across the street, a woman’s eyes gaze ­directly out at the viewer, her mouth and nose cut off by a black lace fan; another image shows only a woman’s mouth wearing glossy red lipstick as she speaks into a phone, and behind the scaffolding, a white arrow on a circular blue street sign points at a women’s buttocks wearing thong ­underwear. Women are infantilized through childlike poses and the young girl sexualized (and made available for consumption) across the seemingly disparate visual forms of advertising and children’s picture book. As Sophia travels through the city, the advertisements that ­surround her foreshadow her future encounter with the wolf. The detailed ­illustrations are punctuated with images of sharp teeth that appear on the front of cars, in the mouth of a male driver, in the form of a dog’s predatory snarl, and in the doorway to a boutique, suggesting sexual ­appetite and danger everywhere. Images of hyper-sexualized objects and representations of adult women appear as fragmented body parts, lips, legs, breasts, and buttocks, and consistently rupture the innocent façade of the picture book format. Rosalind Gill writes that these fragmented representations in advertisements present women “not as whole people but as fetishized, dismembered ‘bits’” (80). In the context of The Girl in

54  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood Red, these images foreshadow how the wolf/hunter will rip Sophia into bits and pieces. Sophia loses her way when she stops to window shop. Through the glass, Sophia looks longingly at a set of gendered toys, including ­ballerinas, hetero-sexy dolls, guns, and hyper-masculine action ­figures. “­S ophia stops and gets to dreaming. Before her are monsters, princesses, dark fates, and happily-every-afters.” This contemporary Little Red ­expresses her desire for commodities rather than ­flowers, but she is still punished for her longings. Sophia takes a wrong exit  out of the mall, and finds herself trapped in an alley surrounded by a group of adolescent men on motorbikes. The image implies the threat of a gang rape. H ­ orizontal lines hold Sophia in as her back presses against the brick wall and barbed wire at the top prevents an ­e scape. A man (the hunter) arrives in the nick of time to save Sophia. The “seductive glance” takes place between the hunter and Little Red ­ icture, in this variant. In Innocenti’s illustration, Sophia stares out of the p her fingers resting on her face and mouth, a gendered visual code for desire in advertising. The girl is on display for the viewer’s consumption, and Innocenti’s illustration continues the “conspiracy” of representation that Zipes defines (“A Second” 84).13 Sophia’s body, like other Little Red Riding Hoods before her, is an object to be consumed on the page and in the story. The hunter offers Sophia a ride on his motorcycle. She goes with him, ignoring a large orange triangular danger sign hanging in the garage. The hunter takes Sophia only part of the way, and her final approach to Nana’s trailer on the outskirts of the city is not narrated. The ­i llustration shows a cloudy sky and a stack of discarded tires in the background to underscore the theme of consumption and of waste, and the visual decay of these objects prepares the reader for the decomposing body of Nana and soon the corpse of Sophia. Gray predominates, and lightning strikes as the hunter/wolf enters Nana’s run down trailer, again visually coding Sophia’s (and her family’s) class status. The viewer sees the hunter’s motorbike and his coat as he slips into Nana’s trailer. Sophia arrives and stands with her back to the viewer and calls out to her nana. Readers are not privy to Sophia’s reaction. ­A lthough the rape of Sophia is not made visible “most readers will assume that it is perceptible through its omission” (Marshall and Gilmore 101). Violation happens in the gutter between panels, but the images throughout have made this the dominant interpretation of the scene.14 A cultural pedagogy of sexual violence against girls and women operates in this picture book retelling, even as Frisch and Innocenti seek to ­provide a warning about the sexualization of children within global

Picturing Rape Culture  55 capitalism. Interpretations of Sophia’s fate rely on the reader’s familiar­ edagogies ity with the “Little Red Riding Hood” tale and with cultural p that ­normalize sexual violence against girls. Innocenti’s landscape frames the representation of girlhood, relying on a composite of visual images, ­especially sexual signifiers throughout the book. Through detailed illustrations, Innocenti plays on the audience’s moral concerns about the sexualization of real children, especially girls. At the same time he reinforces violent sexual fantasies. The ­v isualization of Sophia sullied by global capitalism in her travels through the city “feeds into enticing images of child-like purity as it simultaneously sexualizes and commodifies them” (Giroux, “Nymphet” 46). Objects within Innocenti’s illustrations, such as hetero-­ sexy dolls, animate these relationships.15 Simply put, The Girl in Red is part of a larger representational network that folds into everyday practices. Ann Cahill argues that the feminine body is disciplined through the threat of sexual violation. She writes: In acquiring the bodily habits which render the subject ‘feminine,’ habits which are inculcated at a young age and then constantly re-defined and maintained, the woman learns to accept her body as dangerous, willful, fragile, and hostile. It constantly poses the possibility of threat, and only persistent vigilance can limit the risk at which it places the woman. (56) Picture book variants of “Little Red Riding Hood” reinscribe and ­produce certain ways of thinking about the girl. In The Girl in Red, for instance, Sophia is sexualized by everything around her, by the ­advertisements, by the hunter and his gang of boys, and by the reader/ viewer.16 There are certain spaces where Little Red may move about independently; however, she must assume responsibility for keeping those boundaries in place to remain a good girl. In this way, Sophia and other Little Reds are guilty as soon as they venture outside of the domestic sphere. As Cahill writes: In the specific moments and movements of this [feminine] body are written the defense of the sexual offender: she was somewhere she should not have been, moving her body in ways that she should not have, carrying on in a manner so free and easy so as to convey an utter abdication of her responsibility of self-protection, that is, of self-surveillance. (56)

56  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood Picture books are didactic texts that participate in the circulation of this pedagogy. Familiar “Little Red Riding Hood” narratives perpetuate contemporary rape culture as they justify her assault—she walks alone in the forest, wears a red cape that invites attention, makes a wrong turn, and is ultimately responsible for her violation.

Feminist Interventions Fairy tale scholars, such as Cristina Bacchilega, Caroline E. Jones, and Jennifer Schacker trace an alternative feminist history of women authoring, revising, and illustrating fairy tales. Marjolaine Leray’s little red hood exemplifies one contemporary example in this larger tradition that uses the fairy tale to confront sexual violence, and to disrupt sexualized fantasies about the schoolgirl. In little red hood, Marjolaine Leray relies on the audience’s familiarity with the traditional variants by Perrault and the Brothers Grimm and traces different associations for readers. Leray adopts a minimalist style, using only three colors—black, red, and white. The images are drawn in red and black pencil on a white background. Hand lettered cursive writing captures the exchange between the wolf and Little Red. The neutral backdrop takes the story out of the forest, and in so doing the wolf and the girl are on equal footing. She has not entered the wolf’s lair and he is not in her grandmother’s house. The reader is asked to question the dominant story through the use of white space as absence/presence. On the front cover of the book, the heroine emerges out of a red scribble, drawing herself into the storyline like Harold with his purple crayon. Throughout, little red hood challenges the wolf, outwits, and finally kills him. At one point, she demonstrates her fearlessness as she holds open the wolf’s mouth and examines his “seriously big teeth.” (Figure 3.2).

Figure 3.2  Little red hood examines the wolf’s teeth in little red hood by ­Marjolaine Leray © 2010. Source: Reprinted by kind permission of Phoenix Yard Books.

Picturing Rape Culture  57 When the wolf responds “all the better to eat you with,” little red hood says “no!” to which the wolf responds with a confused “no?” (Figure 3.3) ­little red then offers the wolf a sweet to combat his bad breath. The wolf ­accepts the candy, chokes, and dies. The final image in the book is little red ­standing against a white background and a single word “fool!”.

Figure 3.3  N  o means no. From little red hood by Marjolaine Leray © 2010. Source: Reprinted by kind permission of Phoenix Yard Books.

Leray’s little red hood is only one example of versions in which a young girl outwits or kills the wolf, including one of the first oral variants of the story “The Story of Grandmother” in which a young girl escapes the wolf by claiming that she has to relieve herself outside (Zipes, Trials). The Brothers Grimm, too, offer an alternative ending to “Little Red Cap” where the grandmother and Little Red work together to trick and kill the wolf. Variants by James Thurber, Roald Dahl, Francesca Lia Block, Patricia McKissack, and Ed Young also offer texts in which Little Red (or Reds) uses violence to overcome the wolf. Leray participates in this alternative tradition and counters ideas and images of girls as passive and as the subject of rather than the perpetrator of physical violence. In addition, no mother points her finger or warns Little Red to be a good girl and stay on the right path, no hunter comes to her rescue, no wolf violates her, and little red hood does not gain her power only after being victimized (Trites). Leray uses the pedagogical tradition of the fairy tale and the picture book and inserts graphic feminist lessons that counter more familiar ones that frame the girl as at fault. If the commodified landscape of The Girl in Red sexualizes Sophia, then Leray’s white background suggests a blank canvas upon which readers might visualize a new story. Never lost in the forest, little red hood is grounded in space, a red scribble of energy. Leray’s version suggests that male violence is everywhere and that the girl does not invite it. Feminist graphic knowledge is generated here. The white background captures the nowhere and everywhere of the fairy tale opening up associations between stories, bodies, animals, and physical spaces. Simultaneously, Leray’s version explicitly questions why certain images and storylines

58  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood that normalize violence against girls, and that tie violence and sexuality together, continue to be reproduced at the expense of others. Leray’s little red hood veers away from the visual conspiracy of the tale, and the countless versions in which Little Red is explicitly or implicitly raped and devoured.17 There is no sexually charged gaze bet­ ween wolf and girl, she does strip for the wolf nor climb into his bed, and Leray does not fetishize the girl’s body as the site of actual violence. She offers readers a different graphic text in which assault can happen anywhere and everywhere, and that violation is the result of male violence rather than the schoolgirl’s choice about whether or not to be good. Leray confronts rather than reproduces rape culture. And, while this Little Red Riding Hood remains charged with protecting herself from the wolf, the representation is a refreshing one in that the girl is an agent who knows about consent, and that “no means no.”

Schooling the Girl’s Body You’re telling a girl that her body and her skin are symbols of her sexuality, and that if she wants respect and to avoid sexual harassment, particularly from male students, she has to cover up. That is so messed up. Alexi Halket, Teen Activist The “Little Red Riding Hood” tale dovetails with the school’s ambivalent reckoning with girls and their sexualities. The girl learns from popular narratives like “Little Red Riding Hood” as well as media that her body invites violence. Take for example, the definition of the schoolgirl in The Urban Dictionary: “a girl who dresses up in a uniform daily for school and looks like an angel but underneath is really something completely different all together. A typical schoolgirl looks nice but is a skank.” As in the “Little Red Riding Hood” tale, the sexualization of the schoolgirl’s body is celebrated, fantasized about, and policed in different ways depending on race, class, and sexuality within and outside of the school.18 Cultural touch points include illustrations of the sexually charged gaze between Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf described above as well as Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, or teen Britney Spears dressed in short skirt and pigtails tied with pink ribbons, white shirt tied up to expose her belly in “… Baby One More Time.” These representations fold into a broader cultural pedagogy of ­sexual violence that circulates across locations, including the children’s picture book, to hide, excuse, or glamourize male violence and to shame and blame girls. As with the mean girl narratives discussed in C ­ hapter 1,

Picturing Rape Culture  59 graphic texts of girlhood and official school curriculum and policies often converge. Here, dress codes aimed at girls reinforce the curriculum of mainstream “Little Red Riding Hood” variants: “Girls’ bodies are ­dangerous and harassment is inevitable” (Bates “How”). As Louisa Allen, Shauna Pomerantz, Rebecca Raby, and Jessica Ringrose (­Postfeminist) point out dress codes are a way of policing girls’ bodies and behaviors.19 The tale of “Little Red Riding Hood” and sexist policies about dress codes in schools coalesce to normalize one of rape culture’s main ­messages, that girls are responsible for sexual harassment. Schoolgirls, for instance, are told that they cannot wear yoga pants in physical education because “the boys would get turned on and then be embarrassed” (Wallace). In North Dakota teachers held an assembly for female students and showed scenes from the American film Pretty Woman. They selected a clip of Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) dressed as a prostitute and then another after her transformation into a respectable woman. The principal told a reporter that the purpose was to show girls that they are “in charge of the image you project to others and how you want to be perceived” (Klein). The feminine body becomes the subject of the official curriculum—students come to understand the girl’s body as sexually inviting, risky, and in need of discipline and containment. The pedagogy of sexual violation that places blame on the girl within the “Little Red Riding Hood” tale is reinforced in real time. These attempts to regulate girls and their presumed sexuality have been met with resistance from activist schoolgirls like seventh grader Anna Loisa Cruz, who testified before the Portland public school board in the U.S. In Canada, Laura Wiggins and Alexi Halket have resisted sexist school dress code policies through activism. Like Leray, teen girls develop visual strategies to disrupt entrenched ideas. For instance, ­students came to school with “#Iamnotadistraction” written on their arms, and “not asking for it” painted on their backs to demand that educators stop blaming girls and teach boys and men to respect women. Reading “Little Red Riding Hood” alongside dress code debates ­exposes how the fairy tale is part of a larger cultural pedagogy of sexual violence rather than a stand-alone story. A mismatch exists between protecting girls from harm and the lived experiences of gender discrimination, which remain difficult to describe and prove because of the decoy of sexualization (or the lack of pro-sex curriculum) as both caused by girls and the cause of girls’ trouble in school. Anxieties over the girl’s sexualization, as exemplified in The Girl in Red, manifest as violent sexual fantasy in a protectionist mode. This chapter articulates how a cultural pedagogy of sexual violence is embedded within everyday texts like the children’s picture book, a format often marketed as simple or ­innocent. Violent sexual fantasies are an everyday curriculum rather than an extraordinary one. Artists like Leray as well as schoolgirl activists counter a cultural pedagogy of sexual violence through graphic feminist and material practices. 20

60  Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood The remainder of this book considers other activist schoolgirls as well as graphic feminist pedagogies that circulate above, below, and against normative ones to expose alternative histories, images, and scripts. The next chapter, for example, expands the focus on feminist pedagogy, fairy tales, and sexual violence in its examination of Lynda Barry’s comics.

Notes 1 While I locate and trace a pedagogy of sexual violence within fairy tales and school dress codes, I do not mean to suggest that this pedagogy is the only lesson about sexuality, nor that there exists a static male/female dynamic. Rather I use the notion of a pedagogy of sexual violence to make visible the prevalence of rape culture and to point out where Leray’s picture book (and feminist schoolgirls) intervene in cultural narratives of rape in which the girl is positioned as culpable. 2 As Sandra Beckett (Recycling) notes, “an entire book could be devoted just to contemporary illustrations of the tale and probably only scratch the surface” (29). 3 See, for instance, Margaret Lazarus’s 1975 documentary Rape Culture. 4 For more about the history of “Little Red Riding Hood,” see Orenstein; Zipes Trials and “Second Gaze.” 5 See Kokkola; Altrows for feminist critiques of rape scripts in children’s and YA fictions. 6 While versions that feature assertive or quirky Little Red Riding Hoods exist in contemporary picture books as well as popular films like Hoodwinked, these texts do not negate the more familiar and dominant variants of the tale and its relationship to rape culture. 7 This variant can be accessed at A quick Google search reveals sexy Little Red Riding Hood schoolgirls. One can find a variety of images and videos of this figure as well as costumes. 8 See Fine’s classic article “Sexuality, Schooling, and Adolescent Females.” 9 Due to the Creative Company’s high permission fees I am unable to r­ eproduce images here. A few of the illustrations discussed are available at www.the 10 I provide an analysis of pre-service teachers’ fears about using The Girl in Red in an elementary classroom in an earlier publication, see Marshall (“Fear”). 11 Perhaps best known for his controversial Holocaust book Rose Blanche with Christophe Gallaz, Innocenti also illustrated a version of Perrault’s Cinderella, and a series of look look Golden Books on airplanes and trains in the 1970s. In 2008, he won IBBY’s Hans Christian Andersen award for illustration. 12 Frisch and Innocenti’s book might be considered alongside others as well as Moon’s such as Tomi Ungerer’s erotic variations of fairy tales (Beckett, Recycling 151). 13 See also, Perry Nodelman who observes that girls in picture books often “take the poses of pinups” (“Of Nakedness” 29). 14 See Marshall and Gilmore for a more in depth analysis about the use of the gutter. 15 For example, Mattel’s highly successful Monster High franchise, which ­includes a Scarily Ever After Fairy Tale doll line, resembles the scantily clad playthings that populate Innocenti’s images. Mattel markets the Little Dead

Picturing Rape Culture  61 Riding Wolf character as a “stylish teenaged werewolf [that] looks lovely in a classic Little Red Riding Hood costume, complete with basket and a ­hairbrush” ( 16 Thank you to Nat Hurley for this observation. 17 See Beckett’s research on “Little Red Riding Hood” variants. 18 See, for instance, Savage’s feminist visual discourse analysis of the representation of Lolita in popular culture. 19 Dress codes also include regulations about hair that specifically target girls of color. See, Duster. 20 Keller et al. offer an empirical study of girls speaking back to rape culture. See also Lyn Mikel Brown’s SPARK Movement and her article “Girls against Dress Codes” for more examples of schoolgirl activism. See also high school student Maggie Sunseri’s Shame: A Documentary on School Dress Code.

Part II

Resistant Schoolgirls

4 De-schooling Girlhood Fairy Tales and Trauma in Lynda Barry’s Comics

In her “autobifictionalography,” One Hundred Demons, cartoonist Lynda Barry recalls that as a girl she owned three books, Grimms’ fairy tales, Andersen’s fairy tales, and Heidi. She also grew up reading classified ads and stories in Reader’s Digest with titles like “Joe’s Lung” (213). Fairy tales and other popular texts, like those discussed in the last two chapters, figure prominently in Barry’s graphic texts of girlhood as sources of education.1 Widening curriculum to include fairy tales as well as abuse, Barry represents education as the ongoing process of embodying traumatic knowledge. Barry’s graphic narratives exemplify how adult women return to, critique, and re-envision familiar cultural pedagogies of girlhood, including those in texts for and about the girl. Barry’s graphic narratives propose feminist self-representation about education as central to studies and texts of girlhood. 2 Barry is one of the leading storytellers and illustrators of American childhood and adolescence. YA author Raina Telgemeier writes that, “Lynda Barry’s comics were my YA, before YA really even existed.” In the mid-1980s, Barry began to focus specifically on childhood and adolescence (Tinker). Barry’s comics about childhood and adolescence take up race and class prejudice, suicide, drinking, drugs, and sexual abuse. Nathalie op de Beeck observes that “Barry takes youth as a central concern without sentimentalizing it” (“autobifictionalography” 168). While not specifically written for youth, Barry’s books are often shelved in the YA section of libraries and bookstores, an acknowledgement of her complex representation of childhood and of the ongoing association of comics with youth. Hillary Chute, Melinda de Jesús (“Of Monsters”), Susan E. Kirtley, ­ eginning and Emma Tinker all chronicle Barry’s rise as a comics artist b with her time at the Evergreen State College, her influence on the ­alternative and “wimmin’s” commix scenes, and her current work as an educator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 3 Here, I focus on how Barry, like other women memoirists, including Kathryn Harrison and Phoebe Gloeckner, returns to the violent and sexual content of fairy tales to counter scripts and images about girlhood.4

66  Resistant Schoolgirls Fairy tales stage scenes in which the family appears as a site of violence, where (step)mothers poison their (step)daughters, where children are abandoned, and where rapacious fathers violate their daughters. Maurice Sendak argues that through fairy tales writers share disturbing stories about childhood through metaphor. In a 1976 interview for ­Rolling Stone magazine, Sendak states: It’s something we’ve always known about fairy tales – they talk about incest, the Oedipus complex, about psychotic mothers, like those of Snow White and Hansel and Gretel, who throw their children out. They tell things about life which children know instinctively, and the pleasure and relief lie in finding these things expressed in language that children can live with. (Cott) Sendak points out how fairy tales comfort even as they represent horrific acts. They provide an outlet for representing abuse, abandonment, and other harm. In her graphic workbook What It Is Barry provides a visual-verbal meditation on fairy tales. Based on her “writing the unthinkable” workshops, What It Is offers art instruction through autobiography. One critic described it as a “brilliant, beautiful, nearly uncategorizable book” (“Review of What”) and a reviewer for The New York Times defined it as a “coming-of-art” memoir (McDonald). It is also a book that returns repeatedly to the terrain of childhood, as fairy tales and the monsters that they conjure provide a backdrop. In an autobiographical interlude in What It Is, Barry pictures a young Lynda as a downtrodden fairy tale heroine against a background of ­everyday yellow legal pad paper. She sits crying in front of a fire. The handwritten text reads: There are certain children who are told they are too sensitive, and there are certain adults who believe sensitivity is a problem that can be fixed in the way that crooked teeth can be fixed and made straight. And when these two come together you get a fairy tale, a kind of story with hopelessness in it. (39) While fairy tales, especially those marketed to contemporary children, are not immediately associated with hopelessness, Barry, like Maurice Sendak, views them as texts of “pleasure and relief.” Barry a­ cknowledges the grimness of fairy tales and confronts one of the central myths of childhood trauma—that things will straighten out, that the child will forget, as she grows up into adulthood (Figure 4.1).

Figure 4.1  “We don’t create a fantasy world to escape reality, we create it to be able to stay.” From What It Is copyright 2008 Lynda Barry, used with permission from Drawn & Quarterly.

68  Resistant Schoolgirls On the opposing page, the “real” child Lynda sits in profile in striped shirt, her face and arms covered in freckles. She wears pants and socks and sits under a lamp. Around the edges of the image float tadpole-like creatures, some with limbs, capturing the theme of transformation that the fairy tale evokes (although in this case the heroine remains in girlhood). The images mirror each other. The red flames that leap out around the top of the cauldron resemble the same jagged pattern of blue flames around the modern lamp, the dog curled up by the real-life child Lynda resembles the mouse that looks up at her in the fairy tale world, and the raging bear with teeth bared shares a visual symmetry with Barry’s mother. The two images suggest that the time of fantasy and reality, like childhood and adulthood, are spaces one can step into and out of. The comics form allows Barry to represent herself at two different moments in time, to return to and reconstruct her childhood as an imaginary fairy tale character and as a real girl. On the bottom left of the second page, Barry’s dog peeks up at the corner with its paw up, directing the viewer’s gaze to the mother as she snatches the book from Barry and says, “No more! Give me that! Why do you read it if you know it makes you cry?” Barry restores the abusive biological mother edited out of the W ­ estern fairy tale canon by the Brothers Grimm (Tatar, Hard). Cigarette hanging out of her mouth, Barry’s mother wears a housedress and clutches a drink. Mother/beast are visually linked together and ­articulate the power of fairy tales to communicate narratives of family violence. Barry writes: “We don’t create a fantasy world to escape reality, we create it to be able to stay. I believe we have always done this, used images to stand and understand what otherwise would be intolerable.” Fairy tales give her solace and provide her a s­ upplementary textbook of graphic images and storylines that mirror her own unpredictable family life. Within her comics, Barry re-envisions the abused and abandoned girls found in fairy tales. For Barry, trauma is the central curriculum of girlhood. Fairy tales allow her to theorize what and how we come to know violence. She also considers what happens when knowledge of violence is forgotten. At the end of the fairy tale interlude, she asks “What happens when we forget?” (40). The mode of comics shares with fairy tales a flexible form. Through graphic narrative, Barry appears as several characters on the page, documenting the way in which trauma scrambles time, and how the fairy tale with its vivid scenes of violence offers an archive of images from which to represent abuse. In contrast to the fairy tale picture book versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” examined in Chapter 3, the girl in Barry’s universe is not on display. She is not dismembered or sexualized. Instead, the third-­ person narrator is replaced with the emotions and the perspectives of the child-Barry and the sensibilities of the adult-artist looking back. Chute points out that Barry “paints her words and images with a brush:

De-schooling Girlhood  69 her lines are thick and round, often animated by energetic exaggerations of gesture; they can exude a scruffiness” (“Materializing” 293). Barry’s graphic feminism re-envisions the schoolgirl’s body as raced, classed, and scruffy set in a scene that stalls the girl in time as a downtrodden heroine. Barry draws her younger self in all its materiality: tears leak from her eyes, freckles cover her body, and her teeth stick slightly out of her mouth. Like comics artists Julie Doucet and Phoebe Gloeckner, Barry highlights the materiality of the feminine body and deliberately works against visual conventions of innocence or cuteness.5 Jack Zipes argues that: Paradoxically, to save the essence of hope in the fairy tale, contemporary visual artists have divested it of beautiful heroes and princesses along with cheerful scenes that delude viewers about the meaning of happiness, and at the same time they have endowed the fairy tale with a more profound meaning through the creation of dystopian, grotesque, macabre, and comic configurations. (The Irresistible 136) This disrupts the many representations of beautiful fairy tale heroines in visual culture as well as sexualized (often violent) representations of women in comics. Tinker notes that, “unlike mainstream, mostly male comics artists, who adhere to fairly strict conventions about the representation of women, Barry carefully avoids giving the reader any cute, provocatively dressed teenage girls to look at” (124). Barry de-­ glamorizes girlhood into a self-representational reality within the time and space of the fairy tale, resisting and “repicturing” the very curricula used to educate schoolgirls into appropriate heterosexual femininity.

Learning to Forget, Learning to Remember Barry contrasts her own self-directed learning through fairy tales and other popular reading materials with stories offered at school, especially morality tales or resilience stories that she remembers being assigned. She notes that in school all the stories seemed the same. They were about bad guys and good guys and how the good guy always wins. In a strip in One Hundred Demons, Barry asks the reader, “Why do we tell them?” In the image, Tiny Tim shouts against a bright blue background “and God bless us, everyone!” Behind Tiny Tim sits a perfectly pristine snowman that presumably a gaggle of happy children took part of their day to build (without bullies to knock it down). As Barry knows, morality tales like Dickens’s A Christmas Carol emphasize the pain of childhood as part of the journey to s­ uccessful adulthood. The curriculum is that good guys will win out in the end through kindness, obedience, and suffering. Barry knows this to be a myth and teaches against such simplicity (Figure 4.2).

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Figure 4.2  Bullies. From One Hundred Demons copyright 2002 Lynda Barry, used with permission from Drawn & Quarterly.

In the next two panels, Barry ruptures the familiar redemption tale with violence. A bully comes to beat up Tiny Tim exclaiming, “Hey Gimpy! C’Mere!” Even the snowman looks away from the scene, and green grass appears, emphasizing the inevitability of snow melting and of Tiny Tim getting pummeled. In the next frame, Barry includes an adult, her fifth-grade teacher who smells of liquor, calls students worthless, and tells them they are “just using up air.” The narration panel reads, “some teachers were bullies too. Some were nasty and mean enough to be villains in fairy tales. And they continued on. No one ever came to the rescue. Every kid knows these sorts of people” (One 200). Violence is a steady presence in Barry’s girlhood. Abuse and neglect are everyday experiences through which many girls come to know, but that are erased in stories deemed appropriate for them, those in which the primary lesson is resilience or in which the good guy wins no matter what. The stories offered in the official school curriculum contrast with the fairy tales that Barry reads and that meet her need for a fantasy world that matches her reality. This is just one example of how Barry makes a commentary on formal or sanctioned curriculum to visualize how the material conditions of childhood are often at odds with “the ideals we construct for it” ­(Hurley 18). Barry’s interest in education cuts across her books. In What It Is, Barry’s commitment to pedagogy is scattered throughout in the form of cut up bits from old school textbooks and workbooks as well as

De-schooling Girlhood  71 assignments from actual children. Chute notes that “to create the book, Barry used a personal archive that had belonged to her neighbor’s aunt, Doris ­Mitchell—a schoolteacher whose career began in the 1920s—and had been bound for the trash after her death” (Graphic 128–9). Barry ­interrogates the differences between formal schooling and ­informal ­education, student-­centered versus ­teacher-driven ­curriculum, and images as the central ­vehicle for translating childhood trauma. ­Barry’s ­visual-verbal creations teach readers that the relationship b ­ etween ­childhood and knowledge is not straightforward, but rather is a part of a pervasive cultural pedagogy, of which formal schooling is a part, through which children are asked to “forget” certain knowledge and violence in the process of being formally schooled into adulthood.6 This is taken up most clearly in The Greatest of Marlys and One Hundred Demons.

“Marlys’s Guide to School” and One Hundred Demons Selections from Barry’s long running syndicated Ernie Pook’s C ­ omeek are collected together in the book The Greatest of Marlys.7 The comic chronicles the adventures and mishaps of third grader Marlys, her ­teenaged sister Maybonne, and their brother Freddie, along with ­cousins, Arna Arneson and Arnold Arneson. Theresa Tensuan notes that in the universe of Ernie Pook’s Comeek, the concerns of Arna and Arnold Arneson, and their cousins Maybonne, Marlys, and ­Freddie Mullen about school bullies, bug collections, and developing ­bustlines are framed by and refracted through their ongoing confrontations with adults whose collective indifference, prejudices, and random acts of violence outstrip the actions of the occasional open–minded teacher or the odd kind aunt. (948) Many of the strips collected in the book reference school and share an affinity with Ronald Searle’s St Trinian’s comics analyzed in Chapter 6 as Barry highlights nonsensical lessons, rules, and teachers. Barry details how knowledge of everyday violence is ignored or dismissed in the classroom (Figure 4.3). For instance, eight-year-old Marlys gets a B+ for a semi-autobiographical piece entitled “Falling Leaves.” Marlys answers the following prompt, “Please write a description of the changes that autumn brings to the world around us.” In a handwritten font, Marlys begins her tale in familiar autumnal territory with how leaves change color in the fall and segues to the official ­colonial school curriculum about Thanksgiving (Pilgrims and Squanto). Marlys begins her entry about this by referencing what “we the people” are studying at school. After these first two panels, Marlys begins to add

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Figure 4.3   “Falling Leaves.” From The Greatest of Marlys copyright 2000 Lynda Barry, used with permission from Drawn & Quarterly.

graphic information about her home life. Her teenage sister, Maybonne, gets busted for shoplifting, drinks ripple, and vomits, and her brother Freddie suffers a punch in the face on Halloween. Marlys juxtaposes these events alongside a benign description of autumn as a time when it gets cold and dark very, very, very early. Marlys returns to falling leaves in the last frame. Here, she references her sister’s plan to commit suicide when the last leaf falls from the tree outside her window and how Marlys tapes 79 leaves on Maybonne’s window. Throughout, Marlys makes liberal use of commas in all the wrong places. The only remarks from the teacher written in perfect cursive are “B+ ☺ Good story, Marlys, but watch those commas!”

De-schooling Girlhood  73 Marlys’s knowledge of autumn and the school-sanctioned, colonialsettler American Thanksgiving curriculum runs alongside her understanding of alcohol, theft, and violence. The teacher does not respond to the everyday struggles of Marlys or her siblings; rather, she defines the piece as fiction, a good story from a child with a big imagination, and focuses on punctuation. Barry returns to the disconnection between personal experiences and knowledges that challenge social norms about girlhood and innocence in One Hundred Demons. Barry’s One Hundred Demons was originally published as a monthly comic strip online at from April 7, 2000 to January 15, 2001 and centers on her childhood and adolescence in a working-class ­Filipino/a home. The strip was later re-released in book form, and won an Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album in 2003 as well as a YALS Alex Award, an honor given to books originally written for adults that have “special appeal” to youth from 12 through 18. Barry’s One ­Hundred Demons differs from redemptive coming of age memoirs also included on the Alex Award list, such as David Small’s Stitches: A ­Memoir or Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle in which a traumatic childhood is overcome through transition to a productive adulthood (Gilmore and Marshall, “Trauma”). In contrast Barry returns again and again to the landscape of girlhood. With its riot of bright colors and handwritten script, One Hundred Demons like Barry’s other serious works looks childish. Hillary Chute notes that the dimensionality of the book “evokes both artists’ books and children’s pop-up books, juxtaposing and rendering unstable, in this aspect as elsewhere, the discernable line between childhood and adulthood” (Chute, Graphic 112). This, however, is a ruse, as an adult hand deliberately inked a story about “incest and suicide, and drug-taking” (Chute, Outside 71). That One Hundred Demons received an award in a YA category from the American Library Association reflects the historical association of comics with youth, and Barry’s chosen subject matter of childhood and adolescence. In an interview, Barry offers that she “would much rather be in the young adult section than in the, you know, ‘graphic novels’ section” (Chute, Outside 71). Barry underscores her ongoing commitment to her subject—girlhood—rather than to genre. She divides One Hundred Demons into nineteen different chapters named for specific demons, including lice, dancing, hate, dogs, and girlness and common scents. The book is about truama that remains with her as an adult. Through image and narrative, Barry skips between adulthood, adolescence, and childhood in no particular order. The first reference to the school occurs in the chapter “Resilience,” the section in which Barry also details childhood sexual abuse.8 A rupture between what the school teaches and her own experience occurs. The strip builds on the critique of schooling in the Marlys comic discussed earlier. “Resilience” is a two-page collage in which an adolescent Barry sits

74  Resistant Schoolgirls facing a paned window. On one square of glass are the words “CAN’T remember” and the other “can’t FORGET” (62). An image of a stuffed panda bear lies upside down on the page; atop a red flower, the words “Can’t forget” appear again written in chalk and glitter, writing implements associated with childhood. On the left half of this page is a photo of a young child (presumably) Barry with cellophane tape over her eyes. On the opposing page figures hold a piece of paper that reads “Today’s demon is Resilience” (63). Below the title image, a doll on the ground lies prone, legs open and her eyes staring blankly. A phallic tin foil rock aims up her dress. This strip is about how traumatic knowledge works, and that certain lessons are simultaneously remembered and forgotten. It also details how students bring “inappropriate” knowledge with them to the classroom. Barry documents how formal schooling distracts, seeks to contain, and to cover over what we experience and know to be true. Barry contextualizes her school experiences with the question “When did I become a teenager? It doesn’t happen in a day. It wasn’t when I turned thirteen and stared out the window at the rain waiting for a feeling” (64). Challenging familiar paradigms of coming-of-age, Barry describes how sexual violence in girlhood stalls the move from child to adult, and questions the school as the most important site of education. She asks the reader: “When I was still little, bad things had gone on, things too awful to remember but impossible to forget. When you put something out of your mind, where does it go?” (65). She writes, “I wasn’t alone in my knowledge. Nearly every kid in my neighborhood knew too much too soon. Some people call it ‘growing up too fast.’ But actually it made some of us unable to grow up at all” (66). Chute notes how Barry uses her own experience of “knowing too much too soon” to name a collective and “endemic” experience (Graphic 115). For Barry there exists a collective curriculum in which children experience violence and are then asked to cover that learning over. Later in this chapter, Barry offers a scene from school in which lessons about hetero-sex from a classmate overshadow the formal curriculum. Barry remembers that, there was a girl in my home ec class who was new to me too. I liked her right away although she told me things that freaked me. Detailed things she’d done with boys. She was twelve, just like me. (67) In a class intended to teach domestic skills, including sewing, an ad hoc seminar in possible sex acts takes place in the gutter of the comic strip (the reader must image the details) while each girl performs the assigned task to sew a reversible tote bag. What Barry notes here is how inappropriate knowledge erupts from the students themselves, even as the school seeks to protect them from such knowing (Figure 4.4).

De-schooling Girlhood  75

Figure 4.4  I nformal sex ed lessons in Home Ec. From One Hundred Demons copyright 2002 Lynda Barry, used with permission from Drawn & Quarterly.

The “resilience” chapter ends with an image of a young Barry playing with the same doll that appears in the opening. The viewer sees the bottom half of a man with a cigarette in hand “Hey there, sweetheart. Do you and your dolly want to go for a ride?” (72). The narrative trails off: “It was the closest I could come to…to…I don’t remember” (72). Through text and image, Barry represents education to include what cannot be easily articulated or fully understood. In one panel in the strip, the viewer sees a sleeping teenage Lynda. A thought bubble above her head says “Dead wish I was Dead…” The narration box reads “This ability to exist in pieces is what some adults call resilience. And I suppose in some way it is a kind of resilience, a horrible resilience that makes adults believe children forget trauma” (70). Lessons learned through violence are always present and simultaneously resist knowing. Barry suggests that what adults define as a child’s resilience is actually the forgetting of trauma through the learning of appropriate knowledge.

School as Sanctuary Barry also reflects back on school as a temporary sanctuary. In One ­Hundred Demons a young Barry sips on a soda as she passes a shoe store with a “Back to School Sale” sign in the window. Lynda thinks “Lord, please keep me from having to get horrible shoes again this year” and “Please keep mom away from Sear’s Junior Boot shop” (124). Barry ­focuses

76  Resistant Schoolgirls on the social aspect of school, “a curious mix of anxiety, dread, and excitement” (124). Even though the curriculum might be irrelevant or the teachers unlikeable, school represents hope for Barry. The narration box reads: “School always brought new things into my life, new people new ideas, new hope about not being such a weirdo, about having a miracle happen that would give me straight A’s, straight hair, and a super popular year” (124). For Barry, school is a break from her abusive mother and chaotic home life. In an Op Ed for The New York Times she writes that, “the high ­levels of frustration, depression and anger in my house made my brother and me invisible. We were children with the sound turned off” (Barry, “The Sanctuary” 58). In the image that accompanies her reflections, Marlys ­Mullen cuddles a traditional schoolhouse (complete with bell and ­A merican flag), and shouts, “I’m home!” Marlys clutches the schoolhouse like one might a favorite teddy bear or blanket. Barry recalls how she would go to school before sun up and help Mr. Gunderson, the janitor. One of her teachers invited her during one of those early mornings to paint in the back of the classroom. Barry reflects, “drawing came to mean everything to me. At the back table in Room 2, I learned to build myself a life preserver that I could carry into my home” (“The ­Sanctuary” 58). These experiences frame her current work as an educator. In One Hundred Demons and What It Is, as well as her more recent works, Picture This and Syllabus, Barry models a graphic feminist pedagogy based in the everyday experiences of students. She does so by returning to, re-envisioning, and analyzing her own girlhood experiences and authorizing them as knowledge. Chute defines One Hundred Demons as “a feminist praxis” that re-signifies “the detritus of girlhood as productive collage by aesthetically revisioning it” (“Materializing” 302). Barry is a feminist teacher “an intellectual and theorist” who “finds expression in the goal of making students themselves theorists of their own lives by interrogating and analyzing their own experience” (Weiler 462). Barry uses images to return to what one knows, which in turn often challenges the very lessons mastered in childhood. Barry’s graphic feminist pedagogy is hands-on. Following the lead of activity books or interactive children’s literature like Crockett Johnson’s Harold and The Purple Crayon, readers are invited to physically interact with her books. For instance, at the end of One Hundred Demons readers find an “Outro” in which she encourages the painting of an individualized demon and offers practical advice on techniques and materials. What It Is invites readers to write in the book (170), and Picture This includes Marlys and Arna paper-dolls and clothes as well as images of the near-sighted monkey to color (181). Throughout, Barry de-schools the creative process for readers as a way to engage with personal histories and memories.

De-schooling Girlhood  77 In What It Is, Barry describes childhood as a neighborhood with something like streets and houses, school yards and cemeteries, short cuts and long ways. It’s a good way to start, by thinking of childhood as a place rather than a time. A place that already exists like an unplayed-with playset, needing only one thing to set all things in motion. (159) The one thing that is needed to put things in motion and to return to the neighborhood of childhood is an image. Barry’s work suggests that everything is always on the move, that no one ever really leaves the landscape of childhood. In an interview, Barry states that for her “the past has no order whatsoever” (Chute, Outside 77). Theorizing girlhood as a neighborhood requires rethinking the child as potentially more knowledgeable than adults, more tadpole that remains in a state of becoming, that does not shed its skin and turn into an altogether different creature when it grows up. It is through “adult” texts, including classified ads, Reader’s Digest, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and in uncensored folk and fairy tales that Barry locates her ­education. In One Hundred Demons this emphasis on the impossibility of overcoming or growing up and out of childhood trauma through resilience or forgetting is underscored as Barry ends the book in adolescence, a liminal state between childhood and adulthood. In the final two frames of One Hundred Demons Barry chooses to remain in the borderline state of girlhood. She reverses the chronological time of the coming of age script through visual-verbal self-­ representation. In the first panel, she pictures her adult self, drawing at a table. In the next, she draws her nine-year-old schoolgirl self, lying on the floor reading the classified ads. The child Lynda reads out loud from the newspaper “Lost. Somewhere around puberty. Ability to make up stories. Happiness depends on it. Please write” (216). Barry’s adult voice narrates, “I’m sure that the nine-year-old version of me who made up all those ‘classified stories’ would think that this one had a very happy ending” (216). Barry de-schools girlhood. Her education cannot be measured by standardized learning outcomes or tests. What she knows makes it impossible to leave childhood. Barry’s feminist graphic pedagogy returns to girlhood and experiences that are often systematically dismissed or silenced within the socializing institutions of school, family, and mainstream children’s literature. The next chapter intersects with this analysis of Barry’s work, and adds another dimension in the form of auto/­biographical picture books by or about racialized and ­I ndigenous women and their experiences of violence in the school.

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Notes 1 Nathalie op de Beeck categorizes “Demons as a picture book of sorts but not as a text exclusively for young readers” (“Autobifictionalography” 164). 2 In this chapter, I focus on how Barry uses the Grimms’ fairy tales; ­however, she also draws heavily on Filipino folktales and its specific figures and ­storylines, such as the monstrous Aswang. See, de Jesús (“Of Monsters”). 3 I do not reiterate Barry’s history here and encourage readers to seek out these other overviews of her work. 4 Kathryn Harrison uses the fairy tale in her memoir of father daughter incest, see Marshall (“The Daughter’s”) for detailed analysis. Gloeckner reworks fairy tales to subvert gendered pedagogies of sexual precarity (Marshall and Gilmore). 5 Barry also does this in her illustrated novel Cruddy. 6 Deborah Britzman draws on psychoanalysis to theorize teaching and learning trauma as “difficult knowledge,” “a concept meant to signify both representations of social traumas in curriculum and the individual’s ­encounters with them in pedagogy” (Pitt and Britzman 755). In Barry’s work she ­extends discussions of teaching and learning to include pedagogies outside of the classroom. 7 Barry stopped drawing her syndicated Ernie Pook’s Comeek in 2008. 8 For an in-depth reading of the opening collage and “Resilience” strip, see Chute (Graphic pp. 113–119).

5 Activist Schoolgirls Documenting Segregation and Residential Schooling in Auto/biographical Picture Books

Extending the focus on feminist life writing about education to include auto/biographical picture books, this chapter examines women’s reconstructions of their girlhood experiences of violence within the school. Texts include Duncan Tonatiuh’s graphic biography of Sylvia Mendez, Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for ­Desegregation, Ruby Bridges’s photobook memoir Through My Eyes, and Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s coauthored When I Was Eight. Each auto/biographical picture book foregrounds the school as a location where the systemic violence of racism, settler-colonialism, and/or sexism are experienced and enforced. The following graphic life stories foreground schoolgirl activism, emphasize collective histories of resistance, and make a commentary on enduring structural inequities that continue to impact children of color and Indigenous youth.1 The analysis of auto/biographical accounts of girlhood in this chapter relies on the framework of critical race theory (CRT), especially the concept of “counter-storytelling” a “method of telling the stories of those people whose experiences are not often told (i.e., those on the margins of society). The counter-story is also a tool for exposing, analyzing, and challenging the majoritarian stories of racial privilege” (Solórzano and Yosso, “Critical Race Methodology” 138). 2 The auto/biographical ­picture books considered here are highly constructed visual-verbal texts that warrant close attention for the majoritarian stories and images that they counter as well as the lessons that they convey. 3 CRT is an important frame for analyzing graphic texts of girlhood because its “critical and cultural critiques provide literary interpretations contextualized within multifaceted and often racialized macro systems” (Brooks 37). The auto/biographical counter-stories analyzed here are situated within and critique the racialized macro system of schooling. CRT underscores how white supremacy functions in children’s literature and culture and how these representations are part of larger systems of ­oppression that fold into “the interests of an institutionally racist ­education system” (Gillborn 282). Texts like the Nancy Drew series considered in Chapter 2, are a case in point as popular books like these serve as an informal curriculum that maps onto the white washed histories, racist

80  Resistant Schoolgirls stereotypes and misrepresentations reproduced in many mainstream school textbooks.4 The writers and illustrators of the auto/biographical picture books featured here understand that children’s literature is a tool in a larger system in which youth marginalized by the school are asked to embrace and learn through stories that are not their own, and that recycle egregious stereotypes. The life stories of Sylvia Mendez, Ruby Bridges, and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton challenge a racist educational s­ ystem through counter-stories that document women’s school experiences, and that provide histories of resistance and movements for social justice. Picture books are a unique form of graphic life writing. 5 Auto/­ biographies aimed at youth are part of a longer didactic tradition in which authors and artists use a wide range of innovative genres, forms, and visual-verbal strategies to reconstruct a life.6 The texts analyzed below can also be placed within a broader history of feminist resistance in which women’s “political and moral autonomy develops from their responses to girlhood experience and crisis” (Gilmore and Marshall, “Girls” 668). Women’s graphic auto/biographical counter-stories aimed at a child audience chart a history of interlocking oppressions, and present a history in which trouble resides in structural violence rather than within the school-aged girl.

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation In this award-winning picture book biography, artist and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh chronicles the school experiences of Sylvia Mendez, American civil rights activist of Mexican-Puerto Rican heritage.7 As a child, Sylvia played an instrumental role in Mendez v. Westminster, the landmark desegregation case of 1947 that took place several years ­before Brown v. Board of Education. The Mendez family’s fight to desegregate ­California schools fits with Tonatiuh’s larger commitments to ­writing and illustrating stories about social justice and history. Separate Is Never Equal draws on court testimony, interviews of an adult Sylvia Mendez, and Tonatiuh’s reconstruction of events. The biography is illustrated in Tonatiuh’s signature artistic style, which is inspired by fourteenth-century Mixtec codices, “an ­amalgam of written signs and pictures.”8 Separate Is Never Equal can be ­defined as a “modern-day codex.” About the influence of Indigenous/ ­pre-­Columbian art on his illustration style, Tonatiuh says, “That is why my art is very geometric, my characters are always in profile, and their ears look a bit like the number three. My intention is to celebrate that ancient art and keep it alive” (Danielson). Tonatiuh combines his commitments to Indigenous art forms with an interest in digital collage so that his illustrations “feel not only ancient but contemporary, too— and accessible to children today” (Danielson). In addition, Lettycia

Activist Schoolgirls  81 Terrones notes that Tonatiuh’s illustrations also reference the Chicano Arts Movement and its use of art as a strategy for political commentary; she writes that “art as vehicle for social justice” (248) is a central theme in ­Tonatiuh’s work. His carefully constructed images gesture to the past using contemporary form and media. This convergence between past and present is mirrored in the narrative as Tonatiuh crafts a life story that pulls from history and speaks to and educates a contemporary audience. The cover of Separate Is Never Equal shows six children. Three white children stand with their backs to Sylvia and her two brothers. Each group heads to a different building: a clean white brick school or a gray shack. Sylvia leads her two brothers toward the less desirable, gray building; she holds four books in her hand, signaling her schoolgirl status and the relationship between education, literacy, and empowerment. The biography begins with an event after desegregation as Sylvia walks through the halls of her school toward class, a young white boy shouts at her, “Go back to the Mexican school! You don’t belong here!” (2). Sylvia in the foreground of the image walks alongside several white ­children, her head is bowed over the books that she carries, and a single tear falls from her eye. When she returns home from school that day, she tells her mother that she doesn’t want to go back to school because the kids are mean. Her mother tells her “Don’t you know that is why we fought?” (3). The narrative then flashes back to three years earlier to the summer of 1944 when Sylvia and her brothers, Jerome and Gonzalo Jr., move from Santa Ana to Westminster. Sylvia’s father, Gonzalo Mendez, leases a farm. At the end of that summer, Aunt Soledad takes her two children as well as Sylvia and her brothers to enroll in the nearest public school, which is described as “spacious and clean” (7). The secretary gives enrollment forms to Sylvia’s lighter-skinned cousins, Alice and Virginia, but refuses to give papers to Sylvia and her brothers. The blond, blue-eyed secretary tells Aunt Soledad that Sylvia and her brothers “must go to the Mexican school” (8). Sylvia, a U.S. citizen who speaks “perfect English,” questions this rationale. Tonatiuh accompanies the text with an image ­ nowledge that her that illustrates Sylvia’s education in racism and the k skin color determines her access to school. On a two-page spread, Sylvia faces her two lighter-skinned cousins, one with her hands curled in what look like fists. Sylvia gazes down at herself, incredulous, hands stretched out at her sides, trying to see what it is that marks her as different (Figure 5.1). Tonatiuh’s image captures “the moment of Sylvia’s complex racial awareness, or double-consciousness” (Terrones 248). Aunt Soledad “stormed” (11) out of the office and refused to enroll any of the children. When Sylvia and her brothers begin their school year, Tonatiuh ­emphasizes the differences between the physical spaces of the two

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Figure 5.1  Sylvia is denied access to school in Separate is Never Equal: ­Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by D ­ uncan ­Tonatiuh. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2014 ­Duncan Tonatiuh. Source: Used with permission of Express Permissions on behalf of Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York. All rights reserved.

schools. Tall trees line the street in front of the white school. “There was a playground with monkey bars and a red swing. When they walked into the school, they noticed that the hallways were spacious and clean” (7). In stark contrast, the Mexican school is a clapboard shack, and the halls were not spacious or clean. A cow pasture surrounded the school. The students had to eat their lunch

Activist Schoolgirls  83 outside and flies would land on their food. There was an electric wire that surrounded the pasture to keep the cows in. If you touched it, you received a shock! The school did not have a playground—not even a swing. (15) The image of Sylvia in the schoolyard takes up two pages (Figure 5.2). On the left side, Sylvia’s brothers sit facing each other and behind them one sees a cow and its dung. On the right page, Sylvia and another girl sit in the foreground against a brown background, with the shack ­behind them; flies surround the girls as they sit on the dirt to eat their sandwiches.

Figure 5.2  Sylvia eats lunch at Hoover Elementary or “the Mexican school.” From Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2014 Duncan Tonatiuh. Source: Used with permission of Express Permissions on behalf of Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York. All rights reserved.

84  Resistant Schoolgirls Like the title of the book that includes reference to Sylvia’s family, ­ onatiuh refuses to make Sylvia the singular hero.9 Rather, this is a story T of a family and a community agitating for change, and of the power of organizing across ethnic and racial groups. Tonatiuh ends the book on a cautionary note and, in the afterword, argues that school segregation is on the rise. He writes that: According to a 2012 study by the Civil Rights Project at the ­University of California, Los Angeles, across the United States segregation has increased significantly in recent years. It reported that 43 percent of Latino students and 38 percent of black students attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of their classmates are white. The study, which analyzes data from the Department of ­Education, also reveals that Latino and black children are twice as likely to be in school where the majority of students are poor. Therefore, their schools are likely to have fewer resources and less experienced teachers. (Tonatiuh 36) This graphic picture book biography of Sylvia Mendez and her family ties the past to the present through the thread of resistance to racial ­discrimination in image and text.

Through My Eyes Thirteen years after the Mendez v. Westminster case, Ruby Bridges was one of four Black girls to integrate white elementary schools in Louisiana. On November 14, 1960, U.S. Marshals escorted six-year-old Ruby Bridges into Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans through vicious, jeering crowds of white children and adults who opposed integration. Schools had been officially desegregated six years earlier in 1954 when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the end of “separate but equal” ­education in the Linda Brown case.10 However, the state of ­L ouisiana had ignored the law—as had many public schools in the south. As Bridges writes in the preface to Through My Eyes, “By 1957, less than two p ­ ercent of southern schools had been integrated” (4). ­L ouisiana schools were ordered via federal court to integrate schools by ­S eptember 1960. Through My Eyes is a graphic memoir of Bridges’s first-grade year. Bridges makes it clear that this book is her construction of events. She writes I don’t remember everything about that school year, but there are events and feelings I will never forget. In writing this book, I recall how integration looked to me then, when I was six and limited to my own small world. However, as an adult, I wanted to fill in some

Activist Schoolgirls  85 ­ merican of the blanks about what was a serious racial crisis in the A South. I have tried to give you the bigger picture—through my eyes. (5) Writing a memoir allows Bridges an opportunity to return to her girlhood, to articulate her experiences as an adult in ways that she could not as a young child. Specifically, Bridges focuses on intersections of race and gender through the use of first-person narrative, popular media coverage, and historical photographs to reclaim her own story in relationship to the public record and the use of her image in the fight for integration (Capshaw). The visual record of Ruby Bridges entering and exiting Frantz ­E lementary has been seared into collective memory by photographs and by artist Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With,” a painting based on vignettes from John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley that appeared in Look magazine on January 14, 1964. Through My Eyes ­a llows Bridges to return to her girlhood experiences and to contextualize them. For instance, she was unaware that Rockwell had drawn an image of her until she was in her late teens. Bridges’s child therapist ­Robert Coles brought her story back into the public eye in his 1995 ­picture book The Story of Ruby Bridges, and Disney later made a ­television mini-­s eries Ruby Bridges: A Real American Hero. One of the features of memoir is the inclusion of documents and images that augment the narrative. Bridges includes photographs, newspaper articles, artwork, and interviews with her white teacher, Mrs. Henry, and others who knew her as a little girl. These additional textual and visual artifacts provide a personal, political, and historical backdrop. Bridges includes images of civil rights demonstrations and the Little Rock Nine being escorted into school by Federal Marshals in Arkansas in order to put the integration of William Frantz Elementary into a historical moment for readers and place her story within the larger U.S. Civil Rights movement. She also includes news coverage of her experiences from newspapers like The New York Times and popular magazines such as Good Housekeeping alongside her own childhood drawings from her work with psychologist Robert Coles. This collecting, collating, and organizing a cohesive life story out of personal memory, documents, and cultural history is one of the ­hallmarks of memoir. And, like more formal picture books, two parallel storylines exist through the placement of Bridges’s “narrative voice alongside the iconic images” (Capshaw 249). In a section called “Going Home,” Bridges writes about leaving school the first day. She remembers seeing a group of teenage boys singing about segregation. She writes that “the boys carried signs and said awful things, but most of all I

86  Resistant Schoolgirls remember seeing a black doll in a coffin, which frightened me more than anything else” (20). On the opposing page, Bridges places a full-page photograph of the white protestors and the Black girl-doll in the coffin. A white schoolgirl in a plaid skirt and cardigan stands at the front of the crowd holding a cross and grinning at the camera; a confederate flag flies ­ hotograph, over the image of segregationist John W. Davis. About the p ­ uby’s Capshaw writes that, “the scene announces both a real threat to R life and the anticipatory joy of white masses, including white children in destroying the Black child” (252). Bridges’s recollections and the documentary visual record challenge the myth of white childhood as a state of “racial innocence” (Bernstein 4) and illustrate how fights over ­racial segregation were played out through the bodies of white and Black schoolgirls. Bridges reclaims her story from the vantage point of adulthood. Like Separate Is Never Equal, Bridges’s memoir is a social history of an ongoing fight against segregated schools. In the afterword, she, too, reminds readers that racial segregation is still alive and well. About her visits to schools in the present day, she writes: “The kids are being segregated all over again. There aren’t enough good resources available to them—and why is that?” (58). This is a question directed to a dual audience of young readers and educators who themselves are part of this system. The battles over segregation that defined Bridges own childhood continue in the present moment as U.S. schools remain segregated along racial and socioeconomic lines; the country has “turned away from the goal of Brown and accepted deepening polarization and inequality in our schools” (36).11

When I Was Eight When I Was Eight is a memoir of residential school written by a m ­ otherin-law and daughter-in-law team. It chronicles the story of Olemaun Pokiak, an eight-year-old Inuit girl, and her experiences in a Canadian residential school that she attended for two years. Jordan-­Fenton and Pokiak-Fenton have collaborated on three other books about her residential schooling experience, including the award-winning middle grade books Fatty Legs (2010) and A Stranger at Home, A True Story (2011) and an additional picture book, Not my Girl (2014).12 Residential and boarding schools are a key element of settler ­colonialism and cultural genocide in the U.S. and Canada. Activist and scholar Leanne Betasamosake Simpson writes that colonial policy recognized that the destruction of Indigenous women and children was the fastest way to remove Indigenous Peoples from the land. It is the fastest way to destroy nations. So policies were designed to

Activist Schoolgirls  87 target children. Settler colonial policies are still designed to target children. Indigenous children were experimented upon, tortured, and regularly starved (Mosby). The Government of Canada reports that, “about 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were taken from their families and forced to attend government schools” (Puxley). When I Was Eight chronicles this history through Pokiak-Fenton’s memories of residential school. The title page includes a black-and-white photograph and documentary evidence of the school that Olemaun (Margaret) attended. Against her father’s wishes, Olemaun attends the outsiders’ school so that she can learn to read. She is especially intent on reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a book her older sister read to her and a text that she brings with her to the residential school. When she arrives at the mission school, her Inuit name is taken away and replaced with Margaret, and a “black-cloaked nun cuts her hair.” Pokiak-Fenton recalls: “I felt naked as my braids fell to the floor.” Food consists of meals like cabbage soup. “The Raven” is the name given to the nun who delights in terrorizing and humiliating Olemaun, including making her wear red stockings. At one point, the nun demands that Olemaun scrub pots in the kitchen. The text reads: With my arms in scalding water up to my elbows I couldn’t hold back my frustration. “I could be reading,” I muttered. “What?” the nun demanded, her shoes creaking as she crossed the kitchen. She pinned me against the sink. Slowly, a smile spread across her thin lips. “Fetch me a cabbage from the basement,” she ordered. Illustrator Gabrielle Grimard frames the scene through a medium shot of the confrontation between girl and nun. The two figures stand in profile against an empty white background that invites readers to linger on the scene and to focus “attention on the action of the ­figures rather than on their relationship to their setting” (Nodelman, Words  131). The nun towers over the eight-year-old Olemaun, and the top of The Raven’s head bleeds off the page, capturing her tall and imposing stature (Figure 5.3). A cross hangs around her neck, and her cheeks flush red with rage. Olemaun compares the nun to the evil and capricious queen in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, who hands down punishments and orders for beheadings with abandon.

88  Resistant Schoolgirls

Figure 5.3  O  lemaun confronts the nun in When I Was Eight © 2013 Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton (text), and © 2013 ­Gabrielle Grimard (illustrations). Source: Published by Annick Press Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.

Olemaun’s resistance is a key theme in the book; in the image, she looks up defiant and courageous. Reese et al. point out that youth regularly opposed the everyday violence and humiliations of boarding and residential school life, and that “aside from running away, this resistance took many forms: physical, spiritual, and intellectual” (118). Olemaun’s decision to stand up to the nun results in her being sent to the cellar. Once she descends the stairs, The Raven turns off the lights and locks Olemaun inside the dark space. The text reads: I pulled the handle. It was locked. A scream built in my chest, but I held it in. I closed my eyes, pulled up my stockings, and breathed deeply,

Activist Schoolgirls  89 until I could feel my father’s presence. He wrapped his arms around me in the darkness and I spelled out my Inuit name to him, ­whispering, ­O-L-E-M-A-U-N. His proud smile made me stronger, so I worked through the name of my distant home B-A-N-K-S I-S-L-A-N-D. A black background spreads across two pages to capture the overwhelmingly dark basement setting. Olemaun’s father appears in the image as a ghostly presence that lovingly embraces her. Her given name, Olemaun, and her home are spelled out and encircle her as she overcomes her fear. The image of daughter and ghostly father serves as a reminder of the many who suffered and died in residential schools, and the ways in which the living who attended these institutions had integral parts of their identity, including language, killed off (Figure 5.4).

Figure 5.4  Olemaun locked in the basement. From When I Was Eight © 2013 Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton (text) © 2013 Gabrielle Grimard (illustrations). Source: Published by Annick Press Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.

90  Resistant Schoolgirls Later in the book, Olemaun burns the hated red stockings in a fire that heats a vat for doing laundry. Pokiak-Fenton remembers, “I burned them to ashes. I felt like Alice after a bite of magic cake—as large as the entire room.” The nun is angered at the disappearance of the socks, but Olemaun is given another pair that matches those of her classmates. “In my new thick, gray stocking I felt victorious.” In a final act of resistance, Olemaun learns to read in English in spite of the nun’s efforts to derail her education. The last page reads, I was Olemaun, conqueror of evil, reader of books. I was a girl who traveled to a strange and faraway land to stand against a tyrant, like Alice. And like Alice, I was brave, clever, and as unyielding as the strong stone that sharpens an ulu. The image shows a close up of Olemaun’s face as she makes eye contact with the reader, her head and body bleed off the top of the page and onto the opposing one to capture her growth, confidence, strength, and victory over The Raven. The picture book leaves us with the focus on “survival, resistance, and continuance of cultures against colonial policies aimed at the annihilation of Indigenous presence most aggressively in the residential schools” (Eigenbrod 280). When I Was Eight counters harmful fictionalized representations of boarding school life, such as Ann Rinaldi’s My Heart Is on the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, A Sioux Girl. Debbie Reese et al. provide a salient critique of this faux-diary as a damaging misrepresentation of the experiences of Indigenous children and a “white ­fantasy” (118). In contrast to such fantasies, Pokiak-Fenton references the ­l ingering emotional, spiritual, and physical effects of residential schooling in her opening dedication to “the Indian Residential School survivors who haven’t yet found their voices.” The legacy of residential schools continues to impact Indigenous families and communities. On her blog, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson points out that “the legacy of residential schools and the dehumanization of Indigenous peoples reaches directly into the families of the present… There are more Native children in the child welfare system than were in the residential school system at its height because of the cycles of violence and trauma they i­ nflicted on our families.” Like Tonatiuh and Bridges, Jordan-Fenton and Pokiak-­Fenton produce graphic life writing that reaches across ­generations, brings context to the present, and teaches how current conditions are manifestations of ongoing struggles. These three picture book auto/biographies exemplify counter-storytelling, each names violence and then charts out different histories and imaginaries of girlhood. Race and ethnicity are foregrounded and familiar historical narratives and visual images, such as those found in mainstream texts,

Activist Schoolgirls  91 are challenged by life stories embedded within particular communities. Adult authors and artists return to their own girlhoods to understand, politicize, and reconstruct schooling experiences and to make public official policies and practices of racialized violence.

The Politics of Graphic Texts of Girlhood These auto/biographical picture books challenge misrepresentations of Mexican, African American, and Indigenous girls within larger ­visual and verbal histories. The authors and illustrators included in this chapter make white privilege and racism visible. For instance, Mendez’s ­biography opens with a young white boy who tells her to go back to the Mexican school, Bridges remembers a white boy telling her he couldn’t play with her because she was Black, and photos included in Through My Eyes show white schoolgirls at the front of the crowd that harasses Bridges, grinning at her torment. These authors challenge familiar ­representation of nice white girls like Nancy Drew or nice white teachers such as Ms. G. made popular in films like Freedom Writers as saviors of racialized and Indigenous youth.13 Separate Is Never Equal, Through My Eyes, and When I Was Eight ­politicize girls and their education through a critique of the racialized macro system of schooling. These authors and illustrators “use r­ etrospective narratives of girlhood to blend two story lines: coming-of-age and coming to political consciousness” (Gilmore and Marshall, “Girls” 685). Each book captures how girlhood is ruptured by the violent entry into schooling and how this leads to political awakening. These moments happen when S­ ylvia Mendez sees her body through the secretary’s eyes, when Ruby Bridges is confronted with jeering and aggressive white protesters, and when Olemaun confronts The Raven. These auto/­biographical reconstructions about education show how the “schoolgirl” is a contested category, one that relies on and reifies whiteness as the norm. Each auto/biographical picture book visually and verbally emphasizes legacies of violence; and, how racism and colonialism continue to shape contemporary forms of educational inequity in North America (Reece and O’Connell). Through graphic life writing, Duncan Tonatiuh, Ruby Bridges, Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton document a history in which girls of color and Indigenous girls are central players in movements for social justice. In the next chapter, I build on this analysis to consider fictional schoolgirls as figures that authors and illustrators use to articulate trauma and/or bear witness to real acts of social violence.

Notes 1 Autobiography has long been a genre that women of color and Indigenous women have used to name, document and resist oppression. See for example, T. Harris; Stover; Sellers.

92  Resistant Schoolgirls 2 For further reading, see Crenshaw; Delgado & Stefancic; Delgado et al.; ­Taylor et al. LatCrit is a branch of CRT that focuses specifically on ­experiences of Latinas/os. See Solorzano and Yosso (“Critical Race and Lat”). 3 It is important to note that counter-stories analyzed here are reconstructions and not representative of an entire ethnic or racial group and that each ­author and/or illustrator constructs their life story on its own terms. 4 These racist patterns in children’s texts and culture have been documented for decades. See Thomas for a recent overview. For further background see, Broderick; Brooks and McNair; Dixon; Dorfman; V. Harris; Larrick; ­Martin; Nel; Seale and Slapin; Sims. More recently authors, scholars, and activists continue to challenge white supremacy in ­children’s materials through the We Need Diverse Books™ movement. 5 Douglas’s work on trauma, childhood, and autobiography is an important text in this area. See also Davis’s work on Asian American autobiography for youth as well as Kümmerling-Meibauer; Lathey; and Schrijvers for analyses of autobiographical picture books. 6 For graphic self-representational practices, see, for instance, Chaney; Gilmore (Autobiographics); Poletti; Smith and Watson; and Whitlock. 7 Separate Is Never Equal won a Pura Belpré honor award for illustration, a Tomás Rivera Book Award for young readers, and a Robert F. Sibert honor award. 8 For more information, see 9 These auto/biographical picture books analyzed in this chapter contrast with biographies written for and marketed to a child audience that reproduce the myth of the exceptional individual rather than on social movements and collective action. See Kohl; Menkart for more. 10 See Teaching Tolerance’s timeline of the Brown v. Board of Education case. 11 See also, Orfield and Ee’s Our Segregated Capital: An Increasingly Diverse City with Racially Polarized Schools. 12 See Kertzer’s analysis of all four of the books through the lens of trauma theory, especially strategies of silence. 13 See Yosso and García.

6 Reframing Schoolgirls Social Violence and Justice in Words and Pictures

Schoolgirls have long been associated with misery. Fritz Eichenberg’s wood etching for the cover for Random House’s 1943 edition of ­Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, for instance, features a group of eighteen unhappy girls dressed in identical floor length black dresses (Figure 6.1). Each schoolgirl clasps her hands in front, and wears a blank expression; the girls close their eyes in blind obedience except for Jane Eyre, who looks out at the viewer. The students’ shadows fall over the ­courtyard, a space populated by a single leafless tree. The gloomy and

Figure 6.1  M iserable Schoolgirls as pictured on Fritz Eichenberg’s cover for the 1943 edition of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Source: Published by Random House.

94  Resistant Schoolgirls overcast sky signals the grim reality of schooling as a monotony of endless routines. Angular lines dominate in the form of squares, such as the brick wall that hems the girls in. The miserable schoolgirl is a figure whose wounds, vulnerabilities, or viciousness are realized and inflicted in school and seem to confirm ­Virginia Woolf’s observation that perhaps the only thing worse than ­being locked out of school is being locked in (both as such a girl and with them). Of course, not all schoolgirls in children’s culture are miserable and many representations of happy schoolgirls exist.1 Nonetheless, part of what makes the persistent association of schoolgirls and misery invisible, hence irremediable, is the lumping together of girls into mean girls who cause misery and other miserable girls. Often visually represented en masse, the ongoing remediation of the schoolgirl as despondent is more redundant than differentiating and this repetition repels new knowledge or understanding. However, to view this character only in terms of her dominant representation is to fall for the ruse of visibility. As I demonstrate in this chapter, the miserable schoolgirl has been put to a number of uses, including radical d ­ eployments that document actual violence. For example, in the image above, Eichenberg uses the anonymous schoolgirls to amplify the heroine’s plight. The visual repetition of the schoolgirls is disrupted by the strong-willed heroine at the center of the novel. The fictional schoolgirl eyes the reader to invite them to listen to her story, a tale that is also the author’s testimony about the n ­ eglectful and dangerous conditions at the school she and her sisters attended. That is, the character Jane Eyre is a surrogate for Brontë to record and mourn the loss of her sisters. The chapters in Jane Eyre set at Lowood are thinly veiled references to Brontë’s experiences at Cowen Bridge, a clergy daughter’s school for “charity children,” where her sisters Maria and Elizabeth contracted and later died from tuberculosis after a typhoid ­epidemic. The frozen water and charred porridge, as well as the numerous humiliations inflicted by teachers, such as Ms. Scatcherd, were all based on Brontë’s memories and traumatic experiences at the school. 2 Building on the example of Jane Eyre, this chapter considers graphic texts of girlhood in which fictional, miserable schoolgirls are employed to communicate the ongoing presence of trauma and/or to document violence experienced by real girls.3 I begin with the ghastly schoolgirls that attend British cartoonist Ronald Searle’s St. Trinian’s school to ­contextualize contemporary works, including Rebecca Chaperon’s Eerie Dearies: 26 Ways to Miss School, Allen Say’s Home of the Brave, and Carole Boston Weatherford’s Birmingham, 1963. Knowledge of torture, murder, displacement and sexual violence haunt the graphic representation of the fictional schoolgirl in the texts analyzed in this chapter.

Reframing Schoolgirls  95

Ronald Searle’s Ghastly Schoolgirls Although not intended for a child audience, Ronald Searle’s St. ­Trinian’s cartoons are an essential part of the graphic tradition that this c­ hapter charts.4 The schoolgirls that attend Searle’s fictional girls’ boarding school are outrageously violent rather than relationally aggressive. They stretch a girl on a rack, kill and maim teachers, and make brutal use of field hockey sticks against their opponents. The girls drink ­copious amounts of alcohol, smoke, and regularly set the school on fire. The school’s motto is In Flagrante Delicto, and its crest is a skull and crossbones. The St. Trinian’s school provides a “full-scale Gothic­ ­background, complete with those noble playing-fields, broad enough to ­accommodate a civil war, those ghostly prefect-haunted corridors, those leaded stained-glass windows well-known to every English schoolgirl” (Hugh-Jones 21). Searle drew his “ghastly” (Webb 9) schoolgirls in black ink with long spindly limbs, their legs ending in pointed feet encased in black oxfords. The girls wear boarding school gym slips, high black socks that often reveal at least one garter belt, and boater hats or bows in their hair. They grin at violence, scowl, and otherwise wear devious expressions that suggest the delight of rule breaking, and perpetrating violence on other schoolgirls as well as their teachers. Unlike the post2002 mean girls discussed in Chapter 1, Searle’s schoolgirls are not ­recuperated into kindness. Instead, they open up different associations between girlhood, violence, and education. Searle’s macabre schoolgirls are a “sublimation” (Walker) of his ­wartime experiences, including four years as a prisoner in a Japanese war camp and on the infamous “Railway of Death” during World War II. The publication of the St. Trinian’s cartoons map onto this personal history. Searle’s inspiration for the girls came during his posting with a ­Scottish family whose daughters went to a school named St. Trinneans.5 His first St. Trinian’s cartoon was published in October 1941 in Lilliput ­magazine and featured several schoolgirls in uniforms holding hockey sticks benignly behind their backs and reading a notice that says, “­Owing to the international situation, the match with St. Trinian’s has been postponed.” The “situation” in the cartoon is the outbreak of World War II. Later in October, Searle ships off and lands on January 13, 1942 in the British colony of Singapore, which fell to the Japanese on February 15, 1942. Searle then became a prisoner in the Changi POW camp and in May 1943 was transferred to the Thai and Burmese jungle to work on the “Death Railway.” He “suffered regular beatings and bouts of malaria and beriberi, and his weight fell to six stone” (“Ronald”). ­Remarkably, Searle kept a visual record of his time in captivity, including self-­portraits, four hundred secret sketches of prisoners and the brutalities of the guards as well as seventy-two cartoons, including the

96  Resistant Schoolgirls second and third St. ­Trinian’s drawings. In 1945 after his return from the war, he brought the cartoons that he drawn during captivity to the Lilliput office. Art editor Kaye Webb (and later Searle’s wife) recalled that the cartoons: were drawn in faded brown ink, on stained and yellowing paper. Some of them were crumpled. Most of them had survived burial in the jungle undergrowth or under disease-ridden mattresses, where the Japanese would be unwilling to search. Among them were the second and third St Trinian’s drawings. We asked him for more and published them every month for the next three years. (16) The popularity of the cartoons resulted in the publication of several books between 1948 and 1959.6 About Searle’s use of the schoolgirl, Webb writes that Searle ­employed the figure “to reduce horror into a comprehensible and somehow ­palatable form” (16). Condensing Searle’s knowledge of torture and other violence within the graphic form of the cartoon, the schoolgirl serves as a surrogate that delivers a diffuse pedagogy of trauma. The use of the schoolgirl is not incidental. Searle draws on cultural associations of the schoolgirl’s body as the space where education, violence, and p ­ unishment comingle within graphic texts of girlhood, such as “­L ittle Red Riding Hood” (the subject of Chapter 3) or in works like the ­M arquis de Sade’s 1791 Justine.7 The representation of the school-aged girl as an innocent, naïve subject sullied by violence parallels Searle’s own loss of innocence as a young man. Russell Davies, Searle’s biographer, defines the sublimated horrors embedded within the humorous St. Trinian’s cartoons as “schoolgirl Guignol” (76). Extending Davies’s observation, the St. Trinian’s cartoons that Searle drew during and after captivity contrast sharply with the first image of gentle schoolgirls trying to make sense of why their hockey game had been cancelled. For instance, the second St. Trinian’s cartoon drawn in Changi Gaol in Singapore (published in 1946 in Lilliput) is a murder scene. In “Well that’s ok—now for old ‘Stinks’” four smiling schoolgirls, two with field hockey sticks, grin at each other while the other looks up satisfied at a teacher that the girls have hung. Dark stains seep through the matron’s dress and the teacher holds a now useless cane that mirrors the hockey sticks the girls have presumably used to beat her. In contrast to the first St. Trinian’s cartoon, the schoolgirls now use their athletic equipment as murder weapons (Figure 6.2). The prison camp and the school visually overlap to reflect similar histories of discipline. Teachers figure prominently as subjects of training, discipline, and at times the recipient of the girls’ violence. The context

Reframing Schoolgirls  97

" Well, that's O.K.-now for old' Stinks'."

Figure 6.2  Second St. Trinian’s cartoon, drawn in Changi Gaol, Singapore, 1944–5. © Ronald Searle 1946. Source: Reprinted by kind permission of The Ronald Searle Cultural Trust and The Sayle Literary Agency.

and the structure of the school, its pedagogical practices elicit the girls’ violence. Searle crosses gender and genre to communicate his knowledge of trauma and its ongoing presence. Other St. Trinian’s cartoons echo Searle’s wartime sketches more explicitly. In one cartoon, the head matron proudly introduces Rachel, “our head girl” (Figure 6.3). Searle plays on the term and pictures the heads of several schoolgirls resting on shelves (some still with bows in their hair). The cartoon makes a visual reference to an earlier wartime sketch “Street Scene in Singapore, 1942” in which Searle documents the everyday ­violence that he encounters. In the image, three Japanese soldiers appear, two casually smoking and one leaning in a doorway. On a stand next to the soldiers sit three severed heads, Malay civilians suspected of being “underground” workers (Figure 6.4). Searle’s ­documentary war drawing of heads stacked on a shelf and the cartoon of Rachel the Head Girl sharpening her blade are twin images. Searle bears witness through the visual testimony of his official war drawings and in the fictional St. Trinian’s universe.8 At St. Trinian’s the surrogate schoolgirl testifies to violence and to the incomprehensibility of trauma. Searle’s imprisonment, humiliation,

98  Resistant Schoolgirls

Figures 6.3 and 6.4  S earle’s “And this is Rachel—our head girl.” makes visual reference to his ­earlier war drawing © Ronald Searle 1951. One of Searle’s war drawings, “Street Scene in Singapore, 1942” © ­Ronald Searle. Reproduced in To The Kwai—and Back: War ­D rawings 1939–1945. Source: Reprinted by kind permission of The Ronald Searle Cultural Trust and The Sayle Literary Agency.

abjection, and pain find expression in the confined spaces of the school and the measured violence of its charges. Histories of discipline are performed visually in the present tense, but these ghastly schoolgirls are haunted by a curriculum that is also Searle’s reckoning with the misery of war. Based in realities of social violence, Searle’s cartoons also make a commentary on formal education. In one exemplary image, three schoolgirls attend a lesson on nature. One overachieving and eager student raises her hand high in the air. The teacher sits opposite them with a book entitled Nature Notes at her feet, her pointer held out above the body of a prone and lifeless St. Trinian’s girl. She says to the student, “Well done, Cynthia—it was deadly nightshade.” In ­cartoons like this one, Searle satirizes conventional educational contexts and practices by including murder as proof of knowledge acquisition within a schoolgirl’s lesson in botany (Figure 6.5). The point, of course, is that the schoolroom cannot contain the violence of war or the return of traumatic knowledge, and that teachers are as likely to support as intervene in violence. The horrors of World War

Reframing Schoolgirls  99

Figure 6.5  Botany lessons at St. Trinian’s © Ronald Searle 1951. Source: Reprinted by kind permission of The Ronald Searle Cultural Trust and The Sayle Literary Agency.

II overshadow any possibility of education as neutral. Searle recalls the textbook uses of violence in the camps. The St. Trinian’s schoolgirls are not inherently pathological, rather the experiences of war, torture, and imprisonment lead to this end result. The St. Trinian’s schoolgirls provide an entry point into an alternative set of graphic texts of girlhood in which the schoolgirl is a conduit for telling stories of social violence that continues into the contemporary moment.

Absent, Missing, and Murdered Schoolgirls As I argued in the first chapter, popular cultural representations of miserable schoolgirls often appear in the form of vulnerable, successful, or mean white girls who bring their miseries to the school. The authors and illustrators discussed in this chapter challenge these familiar representations by placing the schoolgirl on her way to and from the classroom. Canadian artist Rebecca Chaperon, for instance, focuses on absent and missing schoolgirls in her 2014 alphabet picture book Eerie Dearies: 26 Ways to Miss School. Inspired by Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Remedios Varo’s surrealist art, as well as C ­ amille Rose Garcia’s dystopian punk infused illustrations of fairy tales (Grimm), C ­ haperon’s work shares their commitments to the surreal, and to childhoods that are co-constructed through a violent education. Each of the schoolgirls in Eerie Dearies suffers a fate or malady that keeps her from attending school. The twenty-six un-­teachable heroines are faced with a number of emotions, illnesses, and misadventures that cause them to be absent, including Ennui, Narcolepsy, and

100  Resistant Schoolgirls the Zombie Apocalypse. The book is by turns creepy (“A is for Astral Projection”), disturbing (“K is for Kidnapped”), and funny (“J is for Juvenile Delinquent”). Chaperon makes use of the children’s alphabet book as well the figure of the vulnerable white schoolgirl to highlight everyday gendered violence. Rendered in acrylics, each illustration is a two-page spread. The left page features the letter and what it stands for and the opposite page an image of the heroine. Each young girl (or part of her) appears against the backdrop of an old, worn book cover. Chaperon incorporates book covers that she finds at thrift stores where they had “gone to be forgotten” (Chaperon, “Personal”). These covers are scanned, printed on archival paper, attached to a panel, and painted on (Figure 6.6).

Figure 6.6  “L is for Lost” from Eerie Dearies: 26 Ways to Miss School by Rebecca Chaperon. Source: Reprinted by permission of Simply Read Books, Inc.

On the “L is for Lost” page the torso of a headless schoolgirl in a white oxford with yellow tie, a green knee length skirt, and high-heeled boots holds a flashlight that illuminates the forest where she searches for her head. The vintage book in the background includes the word “before” embossed in gold letters on the spine and features images of ships and anchors on its cover, capturing the theme of loss and discovery. Chaperon focuses in on the girl’s journey to and from the school. On the “K is for Kidnapped” page, a monstrous female figure wearing ice skates carries a bound schoolgirl slung over her shoulder across a pond. Part Baba Yaga and part Medusa, the monstrous female figure carrying the girl was inspired by Karla Homolka, wife and accomplice of Paul Bernardo, who raped and murdered teenage girls (and captured

Reframing Schoolgirls  101 their abuse on video) during the 1990s in St. Catharines, Ontario when ­Chaperon was a teen. In an interview Chaperon states that, “On some level I wanted to exorcize this [memory]” (Chaperon, “Personal”). Chaperon’s reference to actual events, to the rape and murder of teen girls in an ABC book is a form of graphic feminist pedagogy. She states that in the book she wanted to talk back to a normative cultural pedagogy of girlhood that instructs girls that: “You might not be a victim now but you will be soon.” Although initially concerned about audience sensitivities, Chaperon decided to keep the reference to sexual violence within Eerie Dearies to counter the majority of stories that cover over or avoid the topic (Chaperon, “Personal”). Her art is also a tribute to Homolka and Bernardo’s teen victims, including Homolka’s own sister Tammy. Chaperon creates a graphic remembrance that refuses to let ­romanticized ideas about “the child reader” silence her. Chaperon, like Searle and Gorey, draws on our visual attachments to the schoolgirl as vulnerable and subverts them. The book overturns the discourses that construct adolescent schoolgirls as the main characters in “Ophelia narratives” (Marshall, “Schooling”) with their extreme images, melancholy heroines, and dire situations. For instance, “G is for Gremlins” pictures a young girl interrupted while eating cereal with the background of a book entitled “Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls” while “R is for Revenge” features a fierce girl, holding a large knife against a faded pinkish book cover that reads, “Now We are Enemies.” The book offers readers a chance to fantasize about being abducted by aliens rather than enduring the drudgery of the schoolroom. Chaperon’s absentee schoolgirls follow different rules, they enter and exit the scene at will, and slip through school gates as the education offered to them in the classroom cannot contain what they already know. Chaperon’s book questions portrayals of girls in educational discourses as either lacking or as simply too much in the school setting. Through her schoolgirls and their miseries, Chaperon proposes that familiar pedagogies of girlhood, including sexual assault, mental illnesses, and the ­relentlessness of everyday sexism within and outside of the school might make one wretched. Chaperon’s Eerie Dearies suggests that perhaps misery is based in real life threats, an adaptive rather than inherent behavior. When artists like Chaperon turn their attention to the kind of girls that don’t attend school, they often relay stories of social violence. For instance, in Allen Say’s picture book Home of the Brave he uses the schoolaged girl to critique the internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II. Home of the Brave is a dreamlike narrative in which a nameless man kayaks down a waterfall, and after the “churning” water takes away his boat, paddle, helmet, and life jacket he follows a light through a tunnel that widens into a cave, and climbs up and out into the desert. He sees “two dark figures crouched against an adobe wall.” The narrator walks towards them and two young girls wearing tags on black

102  Resistant Schoolgirls coats appear. When he asks what they are doing there, one of them answers, “waiting to go home.” The man then asks, “How did you get here?” and the girl replies “from the camp” (14). The girls dressed in coats in the heat of the afternoon in the desert are “the ghosts of Japanese-­A merican children incarcerated during the Second World War” (Coughlan). Say based Home of the Brave on a Manzanar internment camp exhibit at the American National Museum in which his own paintings were featured. In his picture book he reproduces a 1942 photograph taken by Dorothea Lange of the Mochida family as they awaited transport to Manzanar.9 In an interview he states that the school-aged Miyuki and her younger sister Hiroko, “haunted me to the point where I simply lifted them and put in a story that I was working at the time” (Say, “Transcript”). Say’s watercolor illustration recreates Lange’s black and white photo. While in Lange’s image, the girls stand with their family, in Say’s illustration, they are detached and isolated, otherworldly figures against a generic blue background. Say’s image of girls tagged as baggage or items to be sorted makes dread real (Figure 6.7).

Figure 6.7  Say’s illustration of six-year-old Miyuki Mochida and her younger sister ­H iroko that reproduces Dorothea Lange’s 1942 ­photograph. From Home of the Brave by Allen Say. Copyright © 2002 by Allen Say. Source: Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All Rights Reserved.

Reframing Schoolgirls  103 The narrator of Home of the Brave finds the girls crouched outside an adobe building rather than in a classroom, a dislocation that ­emphasizes that six-year-old Miyuki is barred from public school. Say r­ ecords ­Mochida’s displacement and exclusion in his fictional picture book to document real racial discrimination and provide a historical r­ ecord. When the editor and chief of the Los Angeles Times Book Review asked Say if his book was too nightmarish for children, Say responded: “My handling of this subject is mere intimation of the nightmare that real children were forced to watch and endure” (Say, “Allen”). Lange’s documentary photo elicits an ethical response from Say who then shares the story of these two girls through a children’s picture book, using the school-aged girl to call attention to larger, structural injustice. In text and image, Say links the internment of Japanese-Americans with the “aggressive assimilation” practices in which Native American children were forcibly removed from their families and communities and confined to boarding schools.10 At one point in the text, the narrator awakens to find a group of Native American children surrounding him. They tell him: “You’re in our camp.” In an interview, Say states: I discovered, while I was working on the book, that most of those internment camps…had been built on Indian lands, or Native ­American lands. And it seemed an odd commentary, and I wanted to make that point. Well, the lesson there is that of course the J­ apanese children have gone home while the Native American ­children have not. (Say, “Transcript”) Say highlights intersecting oppressions through his surreal Home of the Brave. The Native American and Japanese children that populate Say’s landscape ask the reader to witness, and to acknowledge the violence of settler colonialism and institutional racism. Sparked by the image of a school-aged Miyuki Mochida headed toward an internment camp rather than a schoolyard, Say uses this figure to make a commentary on how colonization, racism, and violence intersect with girlhood and cannot be separated from the project of North American schooling. Also focusing on the school’s role in racial discrimination and its links to social violence is Carole Boston Weatherford’s 2007 ­photobook ­Birmingham, 1963.11 A fictional and nameless nine-year-old ­schoolgirl narrates this text, and is absent from school. Rather than sit in a ­classroom, she participates in protest marches, boycotts, and violent encounters during the Civil Rights movement. Capshaw observes that the schoolgirl narrator chooses “activism over conventional schooling” (260). The fictional schoolgirl in Birmingham, 1963 is a composite of real life girls, a witness whose misery stems from racial violence. The absent activist schoolgirl critiques the larger educational system that has and continues to mis-educate students of color (C. Woodson).

104  Resistant Schoolgirls The title, Birmingham, 1963 references the racially motivated bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963 in which four Black schoolgirls, Addie Mae Collins (14), Denise McNair  (11), ­Carole Robertson (14), and Cynthia Wesley (14) were murdered. As ­Capshaw notes, Weatherford’s narrative “moves back and forth ­between the narrator’s private experience of the tragedy and the public documentary record” (260–261). The adult Weatherford mediates the fictional schoolgirl’s voice and strategically includes documentary photos that bring racialized violence into view, including pictures of Black teen girls attacked by dogs and sprayed with water hoses. As Ruby Bridges’s graphic memoir analyzed in the last chapter makes clear, the Black schoolgirl is as ­knowledgeable about and as vulnerable to the violence around her as adults. Weatherford includes photographs of each of the four murdered girls, suspended in time as school-aged youth. The fictional activist s­ choolgirl narrates a collective history of violence that contextualizes each ­individual girl’s death. At the end of the book, Weatherford names and ­memorializes each girl in a poetic, photographic tribute. Weatherford’s graphic narrative underscores the ways in which gender, misery, and schooling intersect with race. Schools institutionalize racial violence through curriculum, policy, and practices that often perpetuate rather than assuage. Weatherford’s picture book, for instance, challenges “mean girl” debates that dominate conversations about gender and schooling and suggests that attending to and trying to solve the problem of white girls’ misery in the school is not the same as solving the problem of how schools instrumentalize racism.

Reframing the Schoolgirl In the works discussed above, the schoolgirl is a culturally mediated ­expression of misery that appears as different types, operates in unpredictable ways, and seeks audiences outside of the classroom. She is used to reckon with personal trauma, to remember murdered girls, and to ­testify to racial discrimination. In this way, the schoolgirl is deployed to ­educate about, confront, and make social violence ­visible. The ­schoolgirl’s relationship to actual violence is literal and metaphorical, concrete and diffuse. Ronald Searle, Rebecca Chaperon, Allen Say, and Carole Boston Weatherford suggest that the schoolgirl is a figure haunted by violence. As Avery Gordon points out, haunting is not about invisibility, rather “it refers us to what’s living and breathing in the place hidden from view: people, places, histories, knowledge, memories, ways of life, ideas” (3). The macabre, missing, or murdered schoolgirl breathes life into alternative histories, and brings hidden knowledge into view. Rather than read the schoolgirl as a straightforward reflection of the real, we might consider what familiar ­visual-verbal representations of

Reframing Schoolgirls  105 the schoolgirl hide. We might ask: “What violence haunts the representation of the schoolgirl in this graphic narrative?” Answering this question leads to a theorization of the schoolgirl as a convergence of flexible visual and ­verbal fragments that can be reorganized for different political purposes, including social justice. The schoolgirl serves as a vehicle for the cultural expression of misery that holds radical potential to highlight s­ tructural inequities and the relationship of violence to one’s ­education within and ­outside of the school.

Notes 1 See Sara Ahmed’s (54–59) discussion of happiness, education, and women in The Promise of Happiness. 2 Maria was 11 when she died and Elizabeth 10. Helen Burns, who dies as Jane sleeps beside her, is a fictionalized caricature of Brontë’s sister, Maria. The character of Mr. Brocklehurst is based on Cowan Bridge’s founder Reverend William Carus-Wilson, who after the publication of Jane Eyre, threatened to sue Brontë for libel because of her description of Lowood and Brocklehurst. To stop the legal action Brontë wrote a letter of apology (Herbert). 3 Surrealist artist Remedios Varo uses a similar visual strategy in her ­autobiographical “Toward the Tower” (1961). In the image she places ­herself as one of many anonymous and identically dressed schoolgirls on bicycles headed toward a tower to work. 4 Searle’s influence as an artist as well as a satirist of schooling influences ­contemporary artists. Matt Groening states that, “it was Searle’s wicked St. Trinian’s girls and other cartoons that led him to create the sometimes bleakly humorous worlds of Life is Hell and The Simpsons” (Bernard). For more on Searle’s life and work, see Matt Jones’s blog See Fisher et al. for an additional critique of Searle’s St. Trinian’s cartoons in relationship to education. For a feminist critique, see Gosling. 5 See Russell Davies’s biography of Ronald Searle for a detailed account. 6 Titles include Hurrah for St. Trinian’s and Other Lapses, The Female ­Approach, Back to the Slaughterhouse and Other Ugly Moments, The ­Terror of St. Trinian’s or Angela’s Prince Charming (Lewis and Searle), and Souls in Torment. Tired of St. Trinian’s and its popularity, Searle blew up the school with an atomic bomb in 1953 only to have his creation made into films four years later. Although he wished to distance himself from St. ­Trinian’s, the comics defined his career and overshadowed other artistic contributions, including illustrations for Geoffrey Willans’s Molesworth series set at the fictional St. Custard’s school, reportage of the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann commissioned by LIFE magazine as well as art for numerous publications, including The New Yorker and Le Monde. 7 Thank you to Adam Greteman for this connection. 8 Searle’s war drawings appear in Forty Drawings, and To the Kwai-and Back: War Drawings 1939–1945 published in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum, as well as memoirs of other survivors (Braddon). 9 Lange’s photograph can be accessed at the Online Archive of California, 10 See Bradford (182–188) for insightful analysis of Home of the Brave. 11 For an in-depth discussion of Weatherford and other photobooks see Capshaw.

7 Final Lessons Reading Like a Girl

The title of this conclusion “Reading Like a Girl” is a feminist nod to Iris Marion Young’s influential 1980 essay “Throwing Like a Girl: A ­Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment Motility and ­Spatiality.” Just as the girl learns to “actively hamper her movements” (153) to be more feminine, she also learns to hinder her reading and viewing p ­ ractices to fit with normative ideas about femininity. For ­example, many of the graphic texts of girlhood aimed at a child audience analyzed in this book contain cultural lessons about niceness that fail to protect and instead hide multiple forms of violence. Nice white girl Nancy Drew’s ­benevolence conceals colonial and racialized harm, Little Red Riding Hood r­ elinquishes her good girl status and is brutally punished for it, and post-2002 m ­ ean-girl narratives portray angry or physically abusive characters like Mean Jean as aberrant bodies, normalizing p ­ sychological torment as the way of girls. Yet, as the graphic life writing projects about girlhood and ­education in Chapters 4 and 5 suggest, and as the m ­ urderous, ­missing, and haunted protagonists in the last chapter reveal, reading “like a girl” can also be a radical practice that subverts familiar images and storylines of girlhood. ­ haperon, Authors and artists like Lynda Barry, Ruby Bridges, Rebecca C and Allen Say resist commonplace understandings of the schoolgirl through pedagogies of graphic ­feminism, a way of teaching through text and image about how girlhood, violence, and education are intertwined. These pedagogies lead readers to see how violence is at once rhetorical, institutional, intersectional and s­ exualized, and to define the locations, cultural practices, and representational ­strategies through which the school-aged girl experiences real and ­metaphorical violence. In this concluding chapter, I examine the case of Hillary Clinton and the feminist schoolgirl stereotype as a form of rhetorical violence that is normalized across children’s literature, popular culture, and media. I do so to drive home one of the central points of this book—that the representation of the schoolgirl in graphic texts of girlhood is productive rather than reflective. Linguistic and pictorial violence often hides in plain sight in the pages of picture books, comics, and other visual-verbal texts in ways that overlap with and inform misogynistic representations of girls and women across visual cultures. Texts for and about the child

Final Lessons  107 enter into debates about the education of girls even when the stated goal is simply to entertain. After an initial discussion of the feminist schoolgirl, I offer two examples of graphic feminist pedagogy by comics ­artists Lela Lee and Una who make visible and resist rhetorical and sexual ­violence against girls. Three practices emerge that link these works to a contemporary graphic feminism in which misogynistic representations are traced and resisted, normative cultural pedagogies of girlhood are named and subverted and male violence is visualized from a feminist perspective.

‘Trump that Bitch’: Trace and Resist Misogynistic Representations across Visual Culture Graphic narratives aimed at or marketed to the girl are co-constitutive. They produce social relationships and cannot be viewed as texts that mimic adult genres or serve as stepping-stones to grown-up texts. As Lynda Barry, Ruby Bridges, Carole Boston Weatherford, and others make clear, violence does not discriminate by age or gender. Here, I consider how the picture book Hooway for Wodney Wat (Lester), the Harry Potter franchise, and the sexist rhetoric of Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign all draw on visual-verbal patterns that construct the feminist schoolgirl as a target for a particular kind of bullying aimed at preventing her from rising through her demonstrated ­academic success into an acknowledged authority.1 Notably, before her achievements can be recognized, she will be mocked, considered as a special exception to other girls and women, and neutralized through her association with heterosexual romance and the marriage plot. Misogynistic representations of the feminist schoolgirl are less extraordinary than they are an expression of mundane and deeply rooted tensions around sexism and education that circulate in a range of locations. The smart schoolgirl is often synonymous with feminism, and ­simultaneously celebrated and reviled in visual culture. She often ­appears holding a set of books, standing at a chalkboard pointing at or completing equations, or in a classroom with her hand held up high in the air. The cover image from the May 2000 edition of The Atlantic Monthly is representative of this visual coding. A girl sits in the foreground of the image, lit from behind by the sun shining in the window. Her ­figure blocks the ray from getting to the smaller, diminished boy who sits in the background. This image echoes the representation of Mean Jean overshadowing all of the other children on the playground discussed in Chapter 1. The boy slouching behind the girl, his arms crossed in defeat, represents the emasculating effects of feminism. The smart girl overwhelms him, her raised hand so eager that it slides up and out of the confines of the magazine cover (Figure 7.1).

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Figure 7.1  T  he dangers of the overachieving schoolgirl on the May 2000 cover of The Atlantic Monthly. Source: Used with permission.

This feminist schoolgirl who overtakes the classroom also appears in picture books like Hooway for Wodney Wat. When a new student named Camilla Capybara arrives in the classroom, she is described as “a very large rodent.” Camilla barges into the classroom, and states: “‘I’m ­bigger than any of you. I’m meaner than any of you. And I’m smarter ­ unsinger’s than any of you.’ Then she added, ‘So There.’” Lynn M ­illustration of Camilla’s large physical presence immediately marks her as different from the other animals in the class. In addition to the difference in scale, Camilla’s teeth pop out of her mouth and her muscular frame pushes at the seams of her pink dress. The color pink, usually associated with normative femininity, is at odds with Camilla’s domineering performance of girlhood. Camilla doesn’t exude niceness and will not be remediated into it. She is what Sara Ahmed would define as a “feminist killjoy” (50). Camilla embraces her schooling and displays her smartness with a passion. In this picture book, author and illustrator construct the smart schoolgirl as a literal pest who

Final Lessons  109 gnaws the very fabric of the classroom community with her girl-power ­ npleasant entitlements. The representation of a powerful girl as an u animal builds on a long history of constructions of the ­feminine body as monstrous (Creed; Marshall, “Monstrous”; Shildrick). 2 Image and text encourage readers to view the feminist schoolgirl as more villain than victim, worthy of disdain rather than empathy. At the end of the story, the other students trick Camilla into leaving the school and the status quo is reasserted. Although one could read the animalistic feminist schoolgirl in a positive light, as a self-assured character who changes the power dynamics in the classroom (even if for just a brief moment), and while positive images of smart girls exist, this negative representation simultaneously produces and circulates familiar anxieties about the role of educated girls and women. Camilla shares some traits with J.K. Rowling’s muggle-born witch ­Hermione Granger, a character portrayed in the films by self-­proclaimed feminist Emma Watson. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, ­Hermione is described as having “a bossy sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair, and rather large front teeth” (105). In this first book, she is also an unbearable know-it-all, and “desperate” to prove “that she wasn’t a dunderhead” (137). In one scene, “Hermione stretched her hand as high into the air as it would go without her leaving her seat” (137). Early in their time together at Hogwarts, she also niggles Ron and Harry, giving them advice about what they should and shouldn’t do in order to stay out of trouble (154). Of course, across the series, Hermione becomes a nuanced and crucial character and many view her as a feminist icon.3 The visual-verbal representation of characters like Camilla and Hermione co-construct one another, and have less to say about sexist or feminist representations of girls in children’s and young adult literature per se than they do about a larger pattern of gendered representation across visual culture. To underscore this point about the overlap between “children’s” and “adult” texts and cultures, I turn to the example of Hillary Clinton. In a 2003 article, Margaret Talbot referred to Clinton as “the Hermione Granger of American Politics” (“Hillary’s”). Later, in 2008, Republican representative from New Mexico, Heather Wilson, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times entitled “What Went Wrong | Hermione ­Clinton.” Talbot and Wilson lean on the visual-verbal associations of the feminist, overachieving schoolgirl. Wilson writes that Hillary, “­became a caricature: too smart, too strong, too assertive, too ­rational, too competent. Think about how Harry Potter and his male friends initially reacted to Hermione Granger and you get the idea.” To add a­ nother layer, in 2009 North Korea’s foreign minister called Clinton, the then United States Secretary of State, a “primary schoolgirl” (Burns). Unlike associations with the potential aggression of the educated girl, the term was used to infantilize Clinton and suggest that she was too naïve to

110  Resistant Schoolgirls participate in global politics. In either case, the term “schoolgirl” is more about displacing Clinton from the public sphere and associating her with the feminized space of the school. In both cases, Clinton is boxed into a gendered trope, schoolgirl—an insufferable and girlish caricature. Comparisons to Hermione Granger surfaced again during the 2016 presidential election. Feminist journalist, Jill Filipovic emphasized the virulent misogyny aimed at Clinton and how Trump supporters tapped into that sentiment in ways that resembled the relationship between ­Hermione, Harry, and Ron: That he was running against Hillary Clinton, the quintessential Hermione outsmarting the boys in class, brought this white masculinity message into sharper relief: Trump supporters didn’t just oppose Mrs. Clinton, they hated her with unchecked phallic rage, wearing ‘Trump That Bitch’ T-shirts. (27) The comparison to Hermione was also used in a positive way. At the 8th Annual Women in the World New York Summit, comic Samantha Bee introduced Clinton with these words: I’m surprised that Secretary Clinton was available to speak ­tonight… I assumed by now Hermione would have returned to her rightful home at Hogwarts, where she is rumored to be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor—at least we’re all hoping. (Gray) Across these examples, reporters and commentators map the fictional feminist schoolgirl onto their readings of the real-life Hillary ­Clinton. Hermione Granger and less familiar characters like the oversized ­rodent Camilla as well as previous media representations of the smart ­schoolgirl inform how Clinton is viewed and read. Hermione is the feminist ­schoolgirl who will become Hillary. A mash-up of images and ­narratives are at work including children’s picture books and young adult texts that construct Clinton as a feminist character who needs to be violently ‘trumped’ and educated into appropriate femininity. However, like the mean girl, the feminist schoolgirl is a decoy. The focus on the feminist girl with her hand in the air obscures real issues— that girls, especially girls of color (Berman and Jiwani; Chesney-Lind and Irwin), continue to report high levels of violence in the school and that sexual harassment is an everyday occurrence in classrooms and hallways (Bates, “There’s”). To be clear, while girls may be outpacing some boys in the school, “girls still experience sexism in the ‘­everyday’ experiences of the classroom and their school’s social world” (Pomerantz et al. 203). Highly visible debates about the over-achieving schoolgirl and

Final Lessons  111 her advancement allow sexual violence, among other forms of harm, to remain hidden while pundits and educators re-­center wounded ­masculinity as the issue. The efforts of feminist scholars and activists from the 1970s onward to ameliorate the real miseries of sexism, racism, and harassment in the school have been recuperated into a story in which the advancement of (white) girls’ academic success equals (white) boys’ failure.4 Simply put, that girls are outpacing boys is a stubborn and dangerous anti-feminist discourse that is continually repackaged and that circulated in the misogynistic rhetoric of the 2016 election. Through her education, Clinton-as-schoolgirl threatens to take away the boy’s seat at the front of the classroom. 5 A graphic feminist reading practice invites viewers to peel back the history of this image to understand its resonance across diffuse sites of visual representation and to consider how and where, by and for whom an image repeats.

Teach Anger: Naming and Subverting Normative Cultural Pedagogies of Girlhood Cartoonist Lela Lee defines and resists normative cultural pedagogies of girlhood in her Angry Little Asian Girl and Angry Little Girls c­ omics. Lee’s Angry Little Asian Girl has been described as “South Park with Asian attitude—a primal scream, a blast of defiance” (Do). While a sophomore at UC Berkeley in the 1990s, Lee created Korean American Kim, the angry Little Asian Girl who often appears with steam bursting out of her ears and with her two middle fingers raised at the viewer. Lee originally put the drawings into a short video, “Angry Little Asian Girl, the First Day of School.” In it, she articulates the violence of assimilation demanded by the educational institution as well as micro-aggressions and outright racism from her peers and teachers. Lee states that she felt such shame about her anger that she hid the video for a few years in a drawer.6 The series has since taken off and Lee’s comics feature a multi-racial group of girls who appear in a series of books—such as Still Angry Little Girls (2006) and Fairy Tales for Angry Little Girls (2011)—that tackle sexist and racist stereotypes and disrupt familiar lessons about learning nice and keeping quiet. In her comics, Lee makes explicit the politics of normative cultural pedagogies of girlhood in image and text. As a reporter for The ­Washington Post put it, “She’ll teach you a thing or two about race and gender” (­Noguchi). In a cartoon entitled “Why Are There So Many Quiet Girls?” two of Lee’s multiracial cast of child characters discuss the issue of girls and their reluctance to speak. Kim and Wanda carry on their conversation at a gray wall under a bright blue background, a visual reference to Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip and animated ­television shows in which Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy meet up to talk at a

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Figure 7.2  K im explains how girls learn to be quiet. Source: Used with permission of Angry Little Girls, Inc. by Lela Lee @ 2016 Angry Little Girls, Inc.

brick wall. Kim speaks to her friend Wanda about how girls ingest a cultural pedagogy that routinely diminishes or silences attempts to articulate their experiences (Figure 7.2). Kim states that, as the girl attempts to speak up, she is shut down in a number of ways that make her angry and cause her to yell. Kim tells Wanda that after this happens: They’ll yell back at her and proclaim she is crazy. They will call her an evil shrew. She’ll be reminded by men and women, that good girls don’t act like that. And this is how she learns that it’s easier if she stays quiet.

Final Lessons  113 In this comic and others, Lee offers an intersectional and graphic f­ eminist pedagogy that recuperates what it means to read “like a girl.” While characters like Mean Jean the Recess Queen go from boisterous boss to kind companion, Lee’s little girls remain angry. To pack a visual punch, Lee relies on myths about the schoolgirl in mainstream texts as innocent, apolitical, and redeemable. Her little girls regularly swear, confront one another, and use profane gesture to disrupt familiar understandings of the schoolgirl as either nice or mean. Lee’s girls are angry about racial and gender discrimination, and her comics foreground an intersectional politics of girlhood. Lee exposes the good girl as a disciplinary construct that serves everyone but the girl who then must direct anger inwards. These characters read “like a girl” to express the sexist and racist practices that made them rightfully infuriated in the first place.

Visualize Male Violence From A Feminist Perspective: Reclaiming the Schoolgirl’s Body Una’s graphic memoir Becoming Unbecoming centers on her experiences of sexual violence growing up in Yorkshire, U.K. in the 1970s. Una is a pen name “meaning one. One life, one of many…” (10). The memoir is also a feminist analysis of media reports and histories of the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, a serial killer responsible for the brutal murder of thirteen women in West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester between 1975 and 1980. Una tells her own story within the historical setting of her coming of age “which speaks about misogyny, about male violence against women” (Westcott). Una’s graphic feminist pedagogy shares visual-verbal strategies that we have seen used by artists in earlier chapters, namely the use of the schoolgirl (as a past self and as a familiar figure imbued with multiple meanings) to articulate personal trauma and social violence. Una’s inclusion of the history of the Yorkshire Ripper, for instance, mirrors Carole Boston Weatherford’s use of the schoolgirl narrator to situate violence against individual girls within a collective history of racial and gendered violence; and, her foregrounding of the ordinariness of sexual violence in the lives of girls recalls Lynda Barry’s One Hundred Demons. As Una notes in an interview: “Perhaps comics, because they can approach difficult subjects on several visual, textual and temporal planes…are better than other popular mediums such as film or TV at depicting traumatic narratives” (Una, “Women”).7 The first word in Una’s title, Becoming suggests a subject coming of age, in the process of growing; images often feature Una with wings on her back in a state of transition and at one point as an insect with a human face. However, the second word Unbecoming signals Una’s inability to grow and her constant unraveling. Sexual violence disrupts any linear move from girl to woman, a disruption that recurs throughout

114  Resistant Schoolgirls the book as others deem her unbecoming, slut-shame her, and call her a slag and a whore (Figure 7.4). The graphic memoir begins with an image of Una slouched over, carrying a large empty speech bubble up a hill. Like the majority of the images in the book, the palette is monochromatic.8 Una trudges up a gray hill set against a white background. Una’s blank speech bubble—a recurring image—doubles visually as a sack, or a burden that she must bear. In an interview, Una says that it was one of the first “doodles” that she made. She says her process was less about narrating her experiences than exploring the shapes and forms within the feeling of what you might call the traumatic space that’s left when violence of any kind happens. I was pleased with this as an icon, as it’s literally an empty speech bubble that she’s carrying with her, so it signifies silence. (Whitehead) Una is sexually assaulted as a young girl by a man named Damian (23). About their first encounter, she writes: I was wearing one of my big sister’s dresses, pretending to be a ­princess. It was a white halter neck with small blue flowers. I used to borrow it without asking her. I just looked like a 10-year-old in a big dress…but he pretended that he thought I was older…So I was flattered. The image shows a smiling Una pushing a baby carriage. On the opposing page, Una is pictured again walking up a hill, her mother holding her and guiding her (albeit too late). The text reads “Life continued…the incident with Damian was thoroughly buried…I tried to be a good girl. That was just the way it was.” Una doesn’t tell. She develops PTSD. As she says, “I started to feel scared all of the time…as though something were coming to get me. And always…the uneasiness of turning into…a new creature…” (38). An image of a disembodied Una appears on the opposing page (Figure 7.3). On a white background, Una’s hair floats in the air, and her shoes rest beneath her. Her face, the eyes and mouth, her red dress and limbs hover alongside her erased body. She is literally in pieces, dissociated from herself. The delicate body parts suggest a broken doll that might be put back together again in any number of mismatched, disturbing, or unfamiliar ways. Una mentions abuse early in the book; however, the details of Damian’s sexual violation of her come later, capturing the scrambled time of traumatic memory. Throughout, Una experiments with the conventions of comics. Some pages in the memoir are filled with overlapping, multiple and/or

Final Lessons  115

Figure 7.3  A girlhood Una in pieces from Una’s Becoming Unbecoming. Source: Reprinted with permission from Becoming Unbecoming by Una (North A ­ merican edition: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016).

differently sized and shaped frames while others invite the reader to ­linger and include only an empty speech bubble or a gray cloud floating in white space. Sometimes a single image takes up the entire page. The unpredictable visual structure of the memoir captures the instability of remembering and difficulty of telling a story of sexual violence as a ­linear or straightforward progression. As Chute argues, the spatial form of comics is adept at engaging the subject of memory ­ ositions, and reproducing the effects of memory—gaps, fragments, p layers, circularities; it recognizes and plays on the notion of memory as located in mind and body and as, perhaps, shiftingly inaccessible and accessible. (Graphic 134)

116  Resistant Schoolgirls Una’s graphic memoir challenges the cultural pedagogy of sexual ­violence embedded in everyday practices such as school dress codes, and so often reproduced in picture book renderings of “Little Red Riding Hood” that I discussed in Chapter 3. Una (“Permission”) explains that she did not consciously reference the “Little Red Riding Hood” fairy tale in her memoir. However, she writes: I’m sure that I have perhaps unwittingly channeled that story into the work. There are many motifs: the woods, the red dress, the wolves. The wolf sequences are a fairly literal representation of the real recurring nightmare I had for many years, but as I was an avid reader and had several versions of Red Riding Hood it’s possible that the unseen things chasing me in my dream were manifested as wolves in my imagination because wolves were the scariest things I could conceive at the time. Certainly I had never seen a real wolf, living in Yorkshire, in the UK. Becoming Unbecoming critiques the ways in which male violence is often reproduced, across cultural texts, as simultaneously exciting, dangerous, and desired by young girls. In an interview, Una states, “I think girls are still blamed for the things that men do and I think that men still think that’s what girls are for and that they can get away with it” (Whitehead). Becoming Unbecoming criticizes patterns of cultural representations, including texts for and about the girl like “Little Red Riding Hood,” that sensationalize, shame and fetishize violence against girls and women. Una is blamed for what happened to her as a child. As Leigh Gilmore ­argues in Tainted Witness: Why We Doubt What Women Say About Their Lives, women’s testimonies, especially about sexual violence, are  ­often dismissed through tactics such as shaming and discrediting ­female ­victims that seek to keep women silent (the same strategies that Lela Lee outlines and resists in her Angry Little Girl comic discussed above). Gilmore ­argues that “when the witness is a woman, and especially when the harm ­includes sexual violence, she will be subjected to practices of shaming and discrediting that pre-exist any specific case” (5). Una, for instance, details the ways in which she was slut-shamed by peers (Figure 7.4). Adults and youth call Una a slut, a slag, and a whore. The school and her doctor cannot fix her; instead, they rely on stereotypical scripts about femininity that label her as deviant.9 She is put on a special program at school and the problem is located within Una. “People did try to help me, but this consisted mainly of demonstrating concern about my state of mind, my behaviour, or my school work. From this I understood that I was either mad, bad, or thick.” In one frame in the image below, Una sits slouched, wings under her as a male authority figure tells her “You have a lovely smile, you should

Final Lessons  117

Figure 7.4  Una is blamed and shamed for the sexual violence she experienced. Source: Reprinted with permission from Becoming Unbecoming by Una (North A ­ merican edition: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016).

smile more” (78). The pedagogy of niceness rears its head and like Lela Lee, Una rejects it and shows it for what it is, a tool to make girls and woman compliant. Una does not show what the Yorkshire Ripper did to women’s ­bodies, rather she articulates and describes male violence. Her hand-­ lettered ­descriptions relentlessly detail crime statistics and news reports. Rather than continue a visual practice of fetishizing the damaged and

118  Resistant Schoolgirls dismembered feminine body, Una focuses on the ordinariness of male violence and its social acceptance. On one page, Una provides facts and designs it so that the sentences gradually get longer, taking up more of the right side of the page. At the top right a 10-year old Una floats in the air, held aloft by a large empty speech bubble. The text reads: On 7th March, the body of teenage heiress Lesley Whittle was found at the bottom of a drainage shaft. Donald Nielson, who killed her, was nicknamed by the press as ‘The Black Panther’. He turned out to be from Bradford. Later that year, on 5th October, the body of an 11-year-old girl named Lesley Molseed was found on a moor near Ripponden. Someone had sexually assaulted and killed her. Then on 30th of October, someone attacked a fourth woman with a hammer, in a suburb of Leeds. Mother to four young children, she died of head injuries and multiple stab wounds. Ten weeks later, someone killed another woman in the same way, outside a Leeds club. (23) Una incorporates the overwhelming and underreported instances of male violence. In so doing, she demythologizes the rapist as a unique ­character, as a wolf or a charmer. She moves the rapist out of the woods and into an ordinary middle class neighborhood. Rather than draw scenes of abuse that show the violated or lifeless feminine body, Una pays tribute to the 13 women killed by the ripper. Una writes: There are so many books dedicated to Peter Sutcliffe – websites, whole conspiracy theories. It’s all about him. But, if you try and find out anything about any of those women (the victims), it’s extremely difficult. They exist, basically, as 13 mugshots. If you Google it, you get a grid, with 13 mugshots of 13 women and, sometimes, they’re not even the right women on the grid. At the end of Becoming Unbecoming, Una draws an imagined future for each woman as if she were alive today—sitting at a computer, ­walking a dog, lying in a hospital bed. This is a graphic feminist pedagogy that ­situates the individual within structural violence, collective experience, and memory, one that Carole Boston Weatherford also employs effectively in her picture book when she names and provides ­photographs of the four schoolgirls murdered in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963—­Cynthia ­Wesley, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins, and Denise McNair. Una’s graphic feminist pedagogy includes placing the individual in the social, noting childhood stories, systems, and institutions through which male violence and privilege are sustained. Una develops a self-reflexive view that moves beyond who and what girls have been told to be, and into a story of the self in which women work consciously to reshape and reinterpret these terms. It is often in graphic formats that

Final Lessons  119 we can most clearly see how cultural pedagogies of girlhood operate and how to resist them. For Una, reading “like a girl” means siding with her. Una says no to familiar images and scripts of girlhood, visually and verbally reorganizing them so that blame for sexual violence affixes to the male perpetrator rather than to the “mad, bad, or thick” young girl.

Conclusion I leave readers with three reading practices gleaned from the graphic feminist pedagogies offered by the authors and illustrators examined in this book, including tracing and resisting misogynistic representations across visual culture, naming and subverting normative cultural pedagogies of girlhood, and visualizing male violence from a feminist ­perspective. The following questions serve as a guide: • • • • • • •

How and what do images encourage us to forget? How are graphic narratives for or about the girl complicit in the ­erasure of certain experiences (such as the structural violence of ­sexism and racism)? Who sees for us as readers/viewers? How do artists represent sexual violence? Is the girl’s body an object of dismemberment and abuse? Is male violence against women and girls represented or hidden from view? Does the author and/or illustrator critique this violence? If so, how? What violence haunts the representation of the schoolgirl? What are the visual-verbal histories of familiar understandings of the schoolgirl (e.g., mean, vulnerable, or smart) and how are these figures used in contemporary socio-political contexts?

From Mean Girls to “Little Red Riding Hood” to the graphic ­memoirs of Una, Lynda Barry and Ruby Bridges, violence is central to the girl’s education. The works of Lela Lee, Rebecca Chaperon, Allen Say, ­Carole Boston Weatherford, and others reveal that the schoolgirl is also a vehicle for articulating erased, invisible, and alternative lessons about personal, social, and institutional violence. Graphic texts of girlhood suggest that violence is ordinary and adheres to our bodies in a myriad of ways that we do not see coming, and that we might not outgrow, or even fully ­understand. Reading like a feminist is reading like a girl.

Notes 1 Trump’s misogynistic comments about Clinton and other women are well documented. See Talbot (“2016s”); Lusher. 2 See Ratelle for critical theorizations of animality and posthumanism in ­children’s literature and film.

120  Resistant Schoolgirls 3 Hermione Granger Saves the World: Essays On the Feminist Heroine of Hogwarts edited by Christopher E. Bell is just one example. 4 The “boy crisis” in education resurfaces regularly in the U.S., Canada, the UK. For example, see Martin Daubney’s “My Son and Britain’s Boy Crisis.” 5 Fictional representations of the feminist schoolgirl as overbearing also have material effects in the classroom. In an article entitled “Not you, Hermione: Teachers Ban Students from Raising Their Hands” a reporter writes that “Every classroom has at least one Hermione, the pupil who always raises their hand to prove they have the right answer” (Jacks). Even though Jacks’s article is about children of all genders, the writer draws on anti-feminist sentiments, and dubs the phenomenon of the student who participates too much as the “Hermione Granger Effect.” A film still of Hermione raising her hand so high that she lifts out of her seat accompanies the article. 6 “Angry Little Asian Girl, 5 Angry Episodes” was screened at an American Cinema Tech event in 1998. See Do for more. 7 Una also notes that “There’s no room for complacency, though, the c­ omics mode is also full of examples of gratuitous violence against women” (“Women”). See Chute who writes that “There is a peculiar connection ­between comics and memory, as the numerous accounts of lived ­childhoods, and, particularly, the number of traumatic accounts, would suggest” (Graphic 133). 8 Una cites Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis as the visual inspiration for her own work. 9 Susanna Kaysen chronicles a similar experience in her memoir Girl, ­Interrupted. See Marshall (“Borderline”) for analysis.


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Abate, Michelle Ann 8 activist schoolgirls 79–91, 103–4 aggression; see also violence: hidden culture of 19; relational 19–20 Ahmed, Sara 108 Allen, Louisa 59 alternative storylines 10 anger in girlhood being silenced 111–12 Angry Little Asian Girl comics 11, 111–13 Arsenault, Isabelle 7, 9, 19 assimilation, violence of 111–12 auto/biographical picture books 79–91 Bacchilega, Cristina 56 Baldacchino, Christine 6 Barry, Lynda 3–4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 65, 106, 113; Ernie Pook’s Comeek 71; The Greatest of Marlys 71–3; materiality of the feminine body 69; One Hundred Demons 65, 69–70, 73–5; Picture This 3, 76; Syllabus 76; What It Is 66, 70–1, 76 Beckett, Sandra 49 Becoming Unbecoming (Una) 11, 113–19 Bee, Samantha 110 benevolent violence 9, 33, 36, 46–8, 106 Bernardo, Paul 100–1 Birmingham, 1963 (Weatherford) 11, 94, 103–4 Bridges, Ruby 10, 79, 80, 84–6, 106 Britt, Fanny 7, 9, 19 Brontë, Charlotte 7, 24–6, 93–4 Brothers Grimm 50–1, 57, 68 Bully, (Polacco) 9, 19, 28–30 bullying 107; adult women in power 11; cyberbullying 19, 29; in school 19–29 Cahill, Ann 55 Capshaw, Katharine 86, 103

Capybara, Camilla 108 Caruso, Santiago 7 Chaperon, Rebecca 11, 94, 99–101, 106 childhood; see also children; girlhood; girls: knowledge and 71; at odds with ideals in curriculum 70; remapping 10; sexual violence 10, 49, 59–60, 73–4, 110–11, 113–19; trauma in 66, 68–77 A Christmas Carol (Dickens) 69 Chute, Hillary 4, 65, 68–9, 71, 73, 74, 76, 115 Clinton, Hillary 11, 106, 109–11 Coles, Robert 85 Collins, Addie Mae 104, 118 colonialism: normalized in Nancy Drew series 37–9; residential schooling and 86–7; violence of 9, 47–8 comics 4, 52, 66–9, 73–7; see also specific works; Angry Little Asian Girl 11, 111–13; Nancy Drew Papercutz graphic novels 43–6; works of Lynda Barry 65–77 counter-storytelling 79 critical race theory (CRT) 79 Cruz, Anna Loisa 59 cultural genocide 86–7 cultural pedagogies 5 cyberbullying 19, 29 Darcy, Dame 7 Davies, Russell 96 Davis, Ashley 19 de Jesús, Melinda 65 desegregation 80–6 Dickens, Charles 69 Doré, Gustave 49 Dork Diaries series 9, 19–20, 30–2 Doucet, Julie 69

140 Index dress codes 10, 59 Drew, Nancy 9, 36–48, 106; as the empowered First World girl 38–9 Each Kindness (Woodson and Lewis) 9, 19, 22–3, 30 education: defining 5; disconnect between personal experience and 71–5; fairy tales as sources of 65; feminist self-representation about 65; ignoring violence at home 71–3; violence in 1–2, 4, 10, 12 Eerie Dearies: 26 Ways to Miss School (Chaperon) 11, 94, 99–101 Eichenberg, Fritz 93, 94 Ernie Pook’s Comeek (Barry) 71 Estes, Eleanor 19, 20–2 Ewert, Marcus 6 Eyre, Jane 7, 93–4 fairy tales 10, 49; as escape from reality 66–8; feminist versions of 56–8; learning through 69–71; trauma and 65–77; violent and sexual content of 65–77 Fairy Tales for Angry Little Girls (Lee) 111 family as a site of violence 66–8 Farley, Lisa 5 Fatty Legs (Jordan-Fenton and Pokiak-Fenton) 86 Fayne, George 9, 36 feminist 11–12; pedagogy 4, 8, 76, 77, 101; schoolgirl 11–12, 106–11; selfrepresentation about education 65; version of fairy tales 56–8 Fey, Tina 18 Filipovic, Jill 110 Fox, Greer Litton 33 Frantz Elementary School 84–5 Frisch, Aaron 49, 52 Garber, Jenny 13n9 Garcia, Camille Rose 99 Garlen, Julie 5 The Gashlycrumb Tinies (Gorey) 99 gendered representation 107–11 gender stereotypes: aggression and 20; mean girls 32–3 Geneviève 24–9 Ghost in the Shell 40 Gill, Rosalind 53 Gilmore, Leigh 12n2, 116 Girl Effect (Nike) 6

girlhood; see also childhood; children; girls: anger in 111–12; cultural pedagogies 12n5, 17–60; multiple meanings of 6; as a neighborhood 77; normative cultural pedagogies of 111–12 The Girl in Red (Frisch and Innocenti) 49, 52–5 girls; see also children: Indigenous 9, 86–91; mean in childhood texts 17–33; mean 20–2; racialized 9; subjected to violence in school 1–2, 4, 8, 10, 12; white girls being bullies 20, 31 “Girls and Subcultures” (McRobbie and Garber) 13n9 The Girl Who Wasn’t There (Petrucha and Murase) 37, 46 The Glass Castle (Walls) 73 Gloeckner, Phoebe 65, 69 Gordon, Avery 104 Gorey, Edward 4, 8, 27, 99; The Gashlycrumb Tinies 99; The Hapless Child 1–2, 5 Granger, Hermione 11, 109–11 Graphic feminist pedagogy 4 Graphic texts of girlhood 2 Graphic Women: Life Narratives and Contemporary Comics (Chute) 4 The Greatest of Marlys (Barry) 71–3 Grimard, Gabrielle 87 Grimms’ fairy tales 10 Halket, Alexi 59 Hall, G. Stanley 20 Hamer, Naomi 24 The Hapless Child (Gorey) 1–2, 5 Harold and The Purple Crayon (Johnson) 76 Harrison, Kathryn 65 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling) 109 Harry Potter franchise 107 Hélène 23–9 Her Interactive Nancy Drew games 46–7 hierarchy: racial 9; in school 8 Hollister, MacKenzie 31 Home of the Brave (Say) 11, 94, 101–3 Homolka, Karla 100–1 Hooway for Wodney Wat (Lester) 107–9

Index  141 Huliska-Beith, Laura 17 The Hundred Dresses (Estes and Slobodkin) 19, 20–2 Hyman, Trina Schart 51–52 imperial violence 9 Indigenous youth 9, 79, 86–91 Innocenti, Roberto 49, 52 international travel in Nancy Drew series 37 intertextuality 7, 24–6 Jane, the Fox and Me (Britt and Arsenault) 7, 9, 19, 23–8, 30 Jane Eyre (Brontë) 7, 24, 93–4 Japanese-American internment during World War II 101–3 Jiwani, Yasmin 8 Johansson, Scarlett 40 Johnson, Crockett 76 Jones, Caroline E. 56 Jordan-Fenton, Christy 10–11, 79, 86–91 Katie Sue 17–19 Kaufman, Leslie 19 Keene, Carolyn 9, 36 Kidd, Kenneth 8 Kind Campaign 32 kindness, pedagogy of 22–3, 28 Kirtley, Susan E. 65 knowledge and childhood 71 Lange, Dorothea 102 Lee, Lela 4, 11, 111–12 “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge” (Perrault) 52 Leray, Marjolaine 10, 49–50, 56–8 Levine, Gail Carson 52 Lewis, E. B. 9, 19, 22–3 little red hood (Leray) 10, 49, 56–8 Little Red Riding Hood 10, 106; alternative versions of 52–8; as archetypal tale of child abuse and rape 49–60; as a naïve schoolgirl 51 Madame Butterfly 40 male violence against women 113–19 Manzanar internment camp 102 Marshall, James 52 Marvin, Bess 36 Maxwell, Nikki 31 McNair, Denise 104, 118

McRobbie, Angela 13n9 Mean Girl Moment 17–19 mean girls 9; Bully 28–30; in childhood texts 17–33; commodification of 30–3; Each Kindness (Woodson and Lewis) 19, 22–3, 30; The Hundred Dresses (Estes and Slobodkin) 19, 20–2, 30; Jane, the Fox and Me (Britt and Arsenault) 23–8, 30; narratives fostering gender stereotypes 32–3 Mean Girls (film) 18, 20 Mean Jean 17–19, 106 Mendez, Sylvia 79, 80 Mendez v. Westminister 80 The Message in the Hollow Oak (Keene) 38 misogynistic representations of feminist schoolgirl 107–11 Mitchell, Doris 71 Mitchell, Sally 6 Mochida, Miyuki 102–3 Monster High brand 32 Moon, Sarah 52 Morelli, Christelle 23 Morris, Monique W. 8 Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress (Baldacchino) 6 Munsinger, Lynn 108 Murase, Sho 37, 43 My Heart Is on the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, A Sioux Girl (Rinaldi) 90 The Mysterious Mannequin (Keene) 36, 38–9 The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (Keene) 9, 36, 40–2 The Mystery of the Thirteenth Pearl (Keene) 36, 38, 42–3 Nancy Drew Clue Crew 47 Nancy Drew Girl Detective 38, 43 Nancy Drew series 9, 79; fictional representation of the Other 37; normalizing colonialism 37–9; as Papercutz graphic novels 9, 38, 43–6; race in 37–43; violence of 36–48 Nancy Drew: Thanksgiving Thief 47 Native Americans in Nancy Drew series 47–8 The New Girl (Mitchell) 6 normative cultural pedagogies of girlhood 111–12

142 Index Not My Girl (Jordan-Fenton and Pokiak-Fenton) 86 Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls (Simmons) 18 Olweus, Dan 19 One Hundred Demons (Barry) 65, 69–70, 73–5, 113 O’Neill, Alexis 17 op de Beeck, Nathalie 65 Oppliger, Patrice A. 19 Ouriou, Susan 23 Papercutz Nancy Drew graphic novels 9, 38, 43–6 Perrault, Charles 50 personal experience and disconnect with education 71–5 Petronski, Wanda 20 Petrucha, Stefan 37, 43 Pickford, Mary 40 Picture This (Barry) 3, 76 Pinkney, Jerry 52 Pokiak-Fenton, Margaret 11, 79, 80, 86–91 Polacco, Patricia 9, 19, 28–30 Pomerantz, Shauna 59 Post-2002 Mean Girl Moment 19–20 “The Problem We All Live With” 85 Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence (Wiseman) 18 Raby, Rebecca 59 racial discrimination 80–4, 103–4 racial hierarchy 9 racialized girls 9 racial masquerade 40–3 racial segregation 80–6 racism 80–4, 91, 111 rape culture 10, 49, 51 Ray, Rex 6 The Recess Queen (O’Neill and Huliska-Beith) 17–19 Reese, Debbie 47, 90 Rego, Paula 7 representation 47; violence of 40–3 residential schooling 86–91 resilience 73–5 Rhimes, Shonda 31 Rinaldi, Ann 90

Ringrose, Jessica 32, 59 Roberts, Brandon 31 Robertson, Carole 104, 118 Rockwell, Norman 85 Romalov, Nancy Tillman 38 Rose, Gillian 7 Rowling, J. K. 11, 109 Ruby Bridges: A Real American Hero (film) 85 Russell, Rachel Renée 9, 19, 30–2 Sawyer, Diane 48 Say, Allen 11, 94, 101–3, 106 Schacker, Jennifer 56 school: bullying in 19–29; hierarchy in 8; as location of violence 10; racism and 103–4; as sanctuary 75–77; violence within 1–2, 4, 10, 12, 79–91, 95–105 school dress codes 10, 59 schoolgirl: activism 79–91, 103–4; being fiction of femininity 6; cultural representation of misery 93–105; stereotype of 11–12, 106–11; pathological 9; represented visually 7–8; representing personal and collective trauma 11; sexualization of 49–60; term being exclusionary 6; transgender 6 Schulz, Charles 111 Searle, Ronald 7, 11, 71, 94, 95–9 Sendak, Maurice 66 Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (Tonatiuh) 10, 79, 80–4 sexual content of fairy tales 65–77 sexual violence 10, 49, 59–60, 73–4, 110–11, 113–19 Shadow at the Water’s Edge (computer game) 37, 46 Shortsleeve, Kevin 2 Silvey, Anita 22 Simmons, Rachel 18–19 Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake 86, 90 Skeggs, Beverley 52 Slobodkin, Louis 19, 20–2 Small, David 73 social violence 93–105, 113–19 Societal Curriculum 12n5 Sotomayor, Sonia 48 Standard, Elizabeth 34n12 Steedman Carolyn 6

Index  143 Still Angry Little Girls (Lee) 111 Stitches: A Memoir (Small) 73 Stockton, Kathryn Bond 5 “The Story of Grandmother” 57 The Story of Ruby Bridges (Coles) 85 A Stranger at Home (Jordan-Fenton and Pokiak-Fenton) 86 Stratemeyer, Edward 37 St Trinian’s (Searle) 11, 71, 94–9 Syllabus (Barry) 76 Tainted Witness: Why We Doubt What Women Say About Their Lives (Gilmore) 116 Talbot, Margaret 109 Tatar, Maria 8 Telgemeier, Raina 65 Tensuan, Theresa 71 Terrones, Lettycia 80–1 10 Things I Hate About You (film) 20 10,000 Dresses (Ewert and Ray) 6 Through My Eyes (Bridges) 10, 79, 84–6 “Throwing Like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment Motility and Spatiality” (Young) 11, 106 time as a racialized phenomena 45–6 Tinker, Emma 65, 69 Tonatiuh, Duncan 10, 79, 80–4 trans-schoolgirls 6 trauma: childhood 66, 68–77; fairy tales and 65–77; forgetting of 73–5 The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood (Zipes) 50 Trump, Donald 107

violence 19; see also aggression; of assimilation 111–12; benevolence as a form of 9, 33, 36, 46–8, 106; colonial and imperial 9; in fairy tales 65–77; family as a site of 66–8; ignored in the classroom 71–3; in Nancy Drew series 36–48; racial 103–4; of representation 40–3; within school 1–2, 4, 10, 12, 79–91; sexual 10, 49–60, 110–11, 113–19; social 93–105, 113–19; visualizing 7–8 visuality of schoolgirl 7–8 Walkerdine, Valerie 6 Walls, Jeannette 73 Weatherford, Carole Boston 4, 11, 94, 103–4, 113, 118 Webb, Kaye 96 Weems, Lisa 8 Wesley, Cynthia 104, 118 What It Is (Barry) 66, 70–1, 76 When I Was Eight (Jordan-Fenton and Pokiak-Fenton) 11, 79, 86–91 white girls: being bullies 20, 31; in Nancy Drew series 39–40 whiteness 42, 47 white supremacy 38, 48, 79, 91 Wiggins, Laura 59 Wilson, Heather 109 Wiseman, Rosalind 18–19 women and violence against 49–60 Woodson, Jacqueline 9, 19, 22–3 Woolf, Virginia 94

Una 11, 113–19

yellowface portrayal 40–3 Yorkshire Ripper 11, 113, 117 Young, Iris Marion 11, 106

Varo, Remedios 99

Zipes, Jack 8, 50, 69