From Pippi Longstockings to Minnie Mouse: Reexamining Theories of Female Development
An awareness of the influence of sexism on the lives of women is typically evident in social work teaching and practice. The growth of scholarship on female psychological development makes fostering this awareness easier. This paper cautions against wholesale incorporation of the research findings on adolescent girls into the classroom or agency. Without such consideration, we are in danger of pathologizing female experience at adolescence, ignoring the concerns of younger girls, and decontextualizing human development. The feisty, self-assured nineyear-old Pippi Longstockings may not be an accurate picture just as the tentative 16-year-old Minnie Mouse may be limited in its generalizability. One must be cautious in claiming to discover yet another female problem. This paper summarizes and critically analyzes the current body of research; philosophical, theoretical and methodological concerns are described. Finally, recommendations for using the research in this area are outlined.
Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work
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Lavitt, Melissa, "From Pippi Longstockings to Minnie Mouse: Reexamining Theories of Female Development" (1997). Social Work Publications. 506.