This article had its genesis during a doctoral study that examined the role of literary and filmic texts in constructing adolescent girls’ subjectivities and desires for womanhood. Analysing data drawn from both text and subject, the study looked at the discursive choreography of girls’ imaginary constructions of their mature adult selves. Aspects of the research data, however, were not so readily understood in terms of discourse, prompting the need for alternative explications of subjectification from a psychoanalytic perspective. Bringing the recent work of Nancy Chodorow to bear on my analysis of girls’ descriptions of their favourite texts and imagined futures, I demonstrate here how subjectivity is a personal as well as cultural construction. Girls’ experience of themselves as gendered subjects is not simply a direct internalisation of stories and characters, but a complex psychodynamic process in which texts and other cultural and discursive phenomena are given emotional tonality and personal meaning. These personal meanings are just as powerful in the formation of subjective gender as are discourse and culture.
|Keywords:||Psychodynamic Processes, Psychoanalytic Theory, Adolescent Girls, Gendered Identities, Literary and Filmic Texts, Subjectivity, Identity, Imagined Futures|
Research Fellow, Hawke Research Institute for Sustainable Societies, University of South Australia, Magill, South Australia, Australia
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