Short Talk

by Michelle Fergusson

The Girl Sleuth: Alternative sleuths and dream careers

Fall 2008


The girl sleuth stories like Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton and Cherry Ames open doors to new ideas, freedoms and possibilities for females. But that is just it, possibilities that always fall short to the equality oftheir male counterparts. These stories focus on social stereotypes and male chauvinism, this inhibits and overshadows girls from achieving their full potential, while putting dreams in their head that they could do more. "The girl detectives have had an enormous influence on women's lives, in ways both good and bad. Their "liberation" was inspiring- at last females were getting credit, but it wasn't enough, and sometimes their liberation was deceptive." (Nancy Drew was more fantasy, in wealth and situation) I will show how the depiction of sleuths and detectives in these novels while seeming to show and offer new possibilities, doesn't really.

Body of talk

What is confining and imprisoning and erases realities.

The series lay bare the conflicts between adolescent romantic girls (the urge for experimentation and adventure) and her dread of the dissatisfied housewife (the dying imagination). Sleuthing becomes a positive outlet for thinking and adventure, and a way of achieving fulfillment for her the world (idea reinforced from her real experience) cannot offer under normal circumstances

Sleuth novels support the concept of Peter Pan "never growing up," and then conventional womanhood eventually happens = marriage

Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated: 20 August 2009.