The thongs that bind : how Georgia Nicolson negotiates her identity as an adolescent girl

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kelli Decker Kidwell (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Meghan Sweeney

Abstract: In a series of novels by Louise Rennison, beginning with Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging, female protagonist Georgia Nicolson tries on various articles of clothing like thongs and bras and applies makeup like “lippy” and mascara, in an attempt to find acceptance from her peer group. The Georgia series falls within the framework of young adolescent literature, as well as in the category known as “chick lit jr.” This narrative addresses issues of negotiating identity and power; and it demonstrates the pervasive elements of both trying on gender and consumerism as females move out of adolescence. This means that Georgia merely reflects the culture she consumes; concurrently, however, she sees herself as a casualty of consumerism and gender roles, realizing the “tyranny” of elements of femininity. I argue that the emergence of chick lit and chick lit jr. uphold debilitating notions of femininity and masculinity; at the same time, however, chick lit succeeds in attracting many female readers by its humor and levity—allowing these readers to identify, at least in part, with the characters who are initiated into the role of female adolescent. Therefore the adolescent females can empathize with a protagonist who shaves, waxes, wears bras, or applies makeup, thus revealing the indoctrination of girls by a beauty culture glorified in magazines, movies, and television shows—spread by other girls and inherited often through mothers’ examples—into a world of consumerism and gender expectations. Like the protagonists, the readers of chick lit and chick lit jr. texts must also learn how to mediate their identity as young women. This means that when an adolescent girl reads such books, she must learn to use language to dissect, prod and constantly rewrite the existing constructs as it relates to her quest for acceptance by male and female peers and adults as a “perfect” female.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Chick lit, Rennison Louise Angus thongs and full-frontal snogging--Criticism and interpretation
Rennison, Louise. Angus, thongs and full-frontal snogging -- Criticism and interpretatio
Chick lit

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