Girls Subculture Analysis

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In engaging with subcultural street culture, do girls simply mimic the practices of their male counterparts or exhibit their own specificity?

The trend of “hipsters” is the latest movement following a long line of worldwide popular subcultures, and gathers urban, young middle class people who are interested in independent music and films, who follow progressive political views and various alternative lifestyles, and above all declare themselves against the mainstream society – that is, that they despise following popular culture and prefer to follow ‘underground’ trends that are unknown to the great majority- which is ironic considering how popular the hipster movement became. And yet upon discussing this particular subculture as well as others
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McRobbie and Garber start their chapter by saying that “very little seems to have been written about the role of girls in youth cultural groupings” (1975). And indeed, it seems as if girls were absent – or is it because researchers never deemed girls important enough to focus on during their analyses?
One could argue that girls did actually simply mimic the trends of each male-focused subculture, and that is why they were not mentioned in particular. For example, McRobbie and Garber state that “texts and images suggest that girls were involved with and considered themselves as part of the teddy-boy subculture” (1975). The “Teddy Girls” movement is sometimes mentioned in the aforementioned researches – but the only thing that can be found is that they focused solely on their makeup and clothes – and therefore are just being reduced to vapid beings while those analyses completely overlook their own political and societal views that also came with the aforementioned subcultures. Another example is also the Mod Girls, who “came to the attention of the commentators and journalists because of the general ‘unisex’ connotations of the subculture” (McRobbie and Garber, 1975). However, both authors make sure to remind
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Indeed, the French edition of Marie Claire investigated back in November 2012 on the “female gangs” that wreak havoc on Paris. Author Manon Quérouil writes that she’s investigating “those lost teenage girls for whom violence is the only way to emancipate themselves” (Quérouil, 2012). Said girls are 15 years old at most and yet already have a criminal record – theft and violence, mostly. They do not hesitate to get into fights with people to be respected, according to them. Most of these girls come from broken homes where parents have given up or are absent; they’ve also dropped from school. Quérouil also states that “contrary to their male counterparts, who fight to gain control of a council estate block, those girls get into fights far from their homes and without any financial motivation” (2012). Where the boys try to keep low profiles especially for the police, those girls “want to be noticed, want to be heard, so that’s why they cause a ruckus” (Quérouil, 2012). And this sudden rise of female gangs is noticed in alarming numbers: the number of minor girls involved in criminal offences grows three times faster than the boys’ (Quérouil, 2012). But there is a deeper issue there, which can be noticed especially when the girls say that “violence comes from where we grew up. We have to do justice ourselves because no one else cares” (Quérouil, 2012). They
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