The Cyndi Lauper Affect:  Bodies, girlhood and popular culture

Year: 2012

Author: Gottschall, Kristina, Gannon, Susanne, Lampert, Jo, McGraw, Kelli

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Using a collective biography method informed by a Deleuzian theoretical approach (Davies & Gannon, 2009), this paper analyses embodied memories of girlhood becomings through affective engagements with resonating images in media and popular culture. In this approach to analysis we move beyond an impasse in some feminist cultural studies where studies of popular culture have been understood through theories of representation and reception that retain a sense of discrete subjectivity and linear effects. In these approaches, analysis focuses respectively on decoding and deciphering images in terms of their normative and ideological baggage, and, particularly with moving images, on psychological readings (Coleman, 2011; Driscoll, 2002). Understanding bodies and popular culture through Deleuzian notions of 'becoming' and 'assemblage' opens possibilities for feminist researchers to consider the ways in which bodies are not separate to images but rather, are known, felt,  materialised and mobilised with/through images (Coleman, 2008, 2009, 2011).  We tease out the implications of this new approach to media affects through two memories of girls' engagements with media images, reconceived as moments of embodied being within affective flows of popular culture that might momentarily extend upon the ways of being and doing girlhood.


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Coleman, R. (2009). The becoming of bodies: Girls, images, experiences. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Coleman, R. (2011). 'Be(come) yourself only better': Self transformation and the materialisation of images. (pp. 144-164). In L. Guilliame & J. Hughes (eds.) Deleuze and the body. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Davies, B. and Gannon, S. (2009) Pedagogical encounters, New York: Peter Lang.

Driscoll, C. (2002). Girls: Feminine adolescence in popular culture and cultural theory. New York: Columbia University Press.