Potential: Ariel Schrag Contests (Hetero-)Normative Girlhood

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    Using the medium of graphic memoir, 17-year-old Ariel Schrag brings to life an alternative to heteronormative mainstream representations of girlhood, and in self-publishing at such a young age, she also takes charge of her own representation and the circulation of that representation as a teenage girl. With an emphasis on the enabling formal characteristics of comics medium, I consider how the young author addresses the representation of her girlhood sexuality in light of theories of girlhood and girls' media-making practices. Specifically, I position Potential as risk-taking self-representation that creates space for marginal girlhoods to be articulated and explored via the inventive textual practice of comics (Chute 26) by articulating a lesbian identity in the symbolic and protected spaces of adolescent rites of passage. Drawing on Judith Halberstam's The Queer Art of Failure, I explore how representations of failure in Schrag's depictions of prom work to open up alternative possibilities for adolescent femininity and sexuality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)54-66
    Number of pages13
    JournalProse Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


    • Ariel Schrag
    • autobiography
    • comics
    • failure
    • girlhood
    • graphic novel


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