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Enfants Terribles

Youth and Femininity in the Mass Media in France, 1945-1968

Susan Weiner

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As the postwar mass media in France imagined her, the teenage girl was no longer a demure and daughterly jeune fille. Instead, she was an enfant terrible, a "bad girl"—implying that she was unapologetically and unsentimentally no longer a virgin. Focusing on the role of gender in representations of youth in post-World War II France, Susan Weiner traces how, after 1945, young men and women came to symbolize different aspects of social order and disorder in a country traumatized by the Nazi Occupation and Cold War paranoia, seduced by consumerism and Americanization, and engaged in an undeclared...

As the postwar mass media in France imagined her, the teenage girl was no longer a demure and daughterly jeune fille. Instead, she was an enfant terrible, a "bad girl"—implying that she was unapologetically and unsentimentally no longer a virgin. Focusing on the role of gender in representations of youth in post-World War II France, Susan Weiner traces how, after 1945, young men and women came to symbolize different aspects of social order and disorder in a country traumatized by the Nazi Occupation and Cold War paranoia, seduced by consumerism and Americanization, and engaged in an undeclared war in Algeria. While overtly political discourses about "youth" generally referred to middle-class young men, Weiner argues that it was in media representations of "bad girls" that anxieties over the loss of a morally and socially coherent national identity found their expression.

Enfants Terribles looks at French culture from the Liberation to 1968 through images of the teenage girl which appeared in a broad range of texts and institutions: magazines such as Elle and Mademoiselle, newspapers, novels, popular essays, popular music, surveys, and film. Weiner highlights the new importance of youth as a social category of identity in the context of the postwar explosion of the mass media and explores the ways in which girls both defined and disrupted this category.

Reviews

Reviews

In the exhilarating Enfants Terribles, Susan Weiner... utilizes French theory—especially psychoanalytic and feminist—to analyze the historical phenomenon of the emergence of a new teenage girl in France after the Second World War.

In this provocative book, Weiner weaves together media, politics, and culture in postwar France through the analysis of the emergence of youth—especially young women—as social actors and objects.

This is a fascinating and indispensable work of gender and cultural analysis... As an historian, I particularly appreciate her attentiveness to the historical specificity, as well as continuities, of her subject.

A compelling academic assessment of female social development in this dynamic era.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
264
ISBN
9780801865398
Illustration Description
21 halftones, 4 line drawings
Table of Contents

Chapter 1. From ELLE to MADEMOISELLE
Chapter 2. Fictions of Female Adolescence
Chapter 3. The Mal du Siecle: Politics and Sexuality
Chapter 4. Technological Society and Its Discontents
Chapter 5

Chapter 1. From ELLE to MADEMOISELLE
Chapter 2. Fictions of Female Adolescence
Chapter 3. The Mal du Siecle: Politics and Sexuality
Chapter 4. Technological Society and Its Discontents
Chapter 5. Quantifying Youth
Conclusion: From Object to Subject?

Author Bio