|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews|100 Things Guys Need to Know3 NBS of Julian DrewA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainAdolescent DepressionAfterAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAmelia RulesAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsArtemis FowlAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond Diversity DayBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBill HensonBipolar DisordersBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoyBoysBrandedBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingCan't Eat, Won't EatCatalystChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinContentious IssuesCrackedCutDancing in My NuddypantsDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDoing ItDoing SchoolDying to Be ThinEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismElijah's CupEllison the ElephantEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEvery Girl Tells a StoryFast GirlsFeather BoyFiregirlForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillGeography ClubGeorgia Under WaterGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlsourceGirlWiseGLBTQGood GirlsGoodbye RuneGranny Torrelli Makes SoupGrowing Up GirlHandbook for BoysHealing ADDHeartbeatHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHollow KidsHow Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHug MeIntrusive ParentingIt's Me!It's Perfectly NormalJake RileyJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKeeping the MoonKilling MonstersKim: Empty InsideKnocked Out by My Nunga-NungasLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLearning About School ViolenceLeo the Lightning BugLet Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLittle ChicagoLord of the FliesLoserLove and SexLove That DogManicMastering Anger and AggressionMind FieldsMiss American PieMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MonsterMore Than a LabelMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNo Two AlikeNot Much Just Chillin'Odd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOf Mice and MetaphorsOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming School AnxietyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeriod PiecesPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellPretty in PunkPrincess in the SpotlightProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Psychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsRaising a Self-StarterRaising BlazeRaising Resilient ChildrenReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRineke DijkstraRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRunning on RitalinSay YesSexual Teens, Sexual MediaShooterShort PeopleShould I Medicate My Child?Skin GameSmackSmashedStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStoner & SpazStop Arguing with Your KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrong, Smart, & BoldStudent DepressionSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeen Angst? NaaahThat SummerThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Arctic IncidentThe Bipolar ChildThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Carnivorous CarnivalThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Dream BearerThe Dulcimer Boy The Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Eternity CubeThe Explosive ChildThe Field of the DogsThe First IdeaThe Identity TrapThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Little TernThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Men They Will BecomeThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Nurture AssumptionThe Opposite of InvisibleThe Order of the Poison OakThe Other ParentThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Shared HeartThe Spider and the BeeThe StepsThe Thought that CountsThe Unhappy ChildThe Vile VillageThe Whole ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreacherous LoveTrue BelieverTwistedUnhappy TeenagersWay to Be!We're Not MonstersWhat about the KidsWhat Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhere The Kissing Never StopsWhose America?Why Are You So Sad?WinnicottWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!You Hear MeYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
by Lauraine Leblanc
Rutgers University Press, 1999
Review by Fiona Nelson on May 10th 2002
Lauraine Leblancs Pretty in Punk: Girls Gender Resistance in a Boys Subculture
(Rutgers University Press, 1999) is an exemplary piece of sociological
research. Her empirical examination (40
punk girls interviewed in Atlanta, Montreal, New Orleans and San Francisco), is
grounded in a wide-ranging theoretical discussion that draws on a number of
literatures. By analyzing girls
subcultural involvements and, in particular, how girls negotiate and construct
gender in that subcultural context, Leblanc has made a much-needed contribution
to the existing fields of subcultural and gender studies. This book is not, however, just for
academics; it would be completely accessible to parents, youth workers, punk
girls themselves and other interested readers.
As a well-written and truly engaging narrative, this book is one of the
finest examples of cross-over
(between academic and public audiences) literature that I have encountered.
the basic premise of her research:
gender is problematic for punk girls in a way
that it is not for punk guys, because punk girls must accommodate female gender
within subcultural identities that are deliberately coded as male. How do they negotiate between these
seemingly conflicting sets of norms? (8)
She explains that the recent spate of studies examining the drop in
self-esteem experienced by adolescent girls tend to portray girls as passive
recipients, victims even, of their gender socialization but that, as punk girls
so clearly demonstrate, girls are much more active in negotiating their lived
expressions of gender. Furthermore, such resistance/negotiation can be associated
with stronger self-esteem. She
elucidates a theoretical model of resistance which will underpin much of her
later discussions and argues that
by joining male-dominated youth subcultures,
girls construct forms of resistance to the dominant cultural models of
femininity, and they do so at a critical time in their development
. What we
can learn from their struggles are the costs and rewards of struggling against
discussing her research findings, Leblanc offers an in-depth overview of the
historical manifestations of punk and an introduction to punk vernacular,
customs, symbols, mores, and codes of dress and body adornment. In combination with the punk glossary in the
appendix, this chapter offers an essential corrective to the usually partial,
obscured and demonized representations of the punk subculture that are common
in the mass media.
Leblanc goes on to examine the routes by
which girls enter the punk subculture. Despite the fact that many of the girls
use family metaphors to describe the punk community, the punk subculture
remains male-dominated and girls have to struggle daily to negotiate a place
within it. Leblanc finds that although punk offers girls a way of rebelling
against mainstream constructions of femininity, they must conform to punk guys
subcultural, contradictory, and heterosexist constructions of femininity if
they want to remain in the group and benefit from the guys protection.
This points to some of
the gender complexities girls face in the punk subculture. Leblanc coins the
term trebled reflexivity to describe the tactics used by punk girls to
challenge the norms of the dominant culture, as well as the feminine norms of
both culture and subculture (160). She
ultimately argues that punk girls are changing the faces of femininity
(165). No doubt this is true, and
Leblancs discussion is enlightening. I
would, however, have liked to see some discussion of the Riot Grrrl movement,
spawned by punk, which has brought some of these changed faces of femininity
into more widely mediated music venues and has permeated some significant
aspects of popular culture. I would
argue, in fact, that Xena, and other kick ass female protagonists in film and
TV, are the inheritors, and manifestation, (albeit packaged and sold for
capitalistic purposes) of the very gender disruption and resistance in which
punk girls are, and have been, engaged.
Leblanc also explores
the sorts of harassment that punks are subjected to. These include the
exclusion, exploitation and evaluative behaviour that both the punk girls and
the guys experience on a daily basis.
This discussion is well situated within an overview of critical and
interactional theories of deviance. She
also examines a type of harassment that only the punk girls experience, sexual
harassment in public. Built on the
foundation of a discussion of legal and theoretical approaches to sexual
harassment in semi-public places (such as work or school), this is a sobering
insight into the sexual harassment punk girls experience (by the general
public, by other street-living males and by male punks) and the strategies of
resistance they develop in the face of it.
In her final chapter,
Leblanc offers notes to a number of different populations who might be
reading this book. These include
subcultural theorists, socialization theorists, feminist researchers, parents
and youth authorities, and punk girls. This book would definitely be of
tremendous value to any of these groups.
In addition, it would be completely appropriate in a Womens Studies
class, a Gender Studies class, a Youth Culture class or a Sociology of Deviance
class. It should be required reading
for anyone who works with youth, especially street youth. Leblanc succeeds in
explaining the complex challenges involved in negotiating punk femininity and
thus in offering insight into the gender pressures and expectations that are
placed on all girls and women and on the ways in which girls and women can and
do negotiate, resist and transform those expectations.
© 2002 Fiona Nelson
Nelson is Assistant Professor and incoming Program Director of Womens
Studies at the University of Calgary.
Her areas of research and teaching include family studies, gender
studies, gender in popular culture, lesbian motherhood, the (sub)culture of
motherhood, womens identities, and sexual identities.