Editor's introduction.

Author:Beeler, Karin
 
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This special issue of Studies in the Humanities focuses on "Youth Culture in Film and Television." The essays included in this volume address representations of young people (primarily teens or twenty-somethings) and constructions of the "youthful" adult. Contributions analyze various kinds of coming of age experiences, genre and audience issues, and the role of historical, cultural, sexual, local, national, and in some cases, global contexts. While the essays primarily engage with contemporary films or television shows, some include references to examples of youth culture in older television shows or films, including the specific historical contexts of these visual media.

Youth culture is a term that can apply to the representations of young people in film and television and to the ages of its target audiences; while it may be synonymous with the coming of age experiences of teen culture, it can also be used to describe preteens (see Hart's essay) or twenty-somethings who may also be the subjects of coming of age experiences (see Beeler's essay). Furthermore the culture of "youth" also appears to apply to older characters whose behavior, spontaneous actions or living arrangements (as depicted in The Almighty Johnsons) may imitate the lifestyles that one typically associates with younger people. The contributions in this volume consider both the subject matter of the film or television examples, as well as their audiences. These essays explore young adults or the expression of "youth" in a range of genres from teen cinema and reality TV to telefantasy.

The first article, Alexandra Heatwole's "Disney Girlhood: Princess Generations and Once Upon a Time" is a fitting way to begin the volume since the phrase "Once Upon a Time" conjures up memories of younger days when children are first introduced to fairy tales or princesses even though the characters in these works are often older youth or teens on the cusp of change. Heatwole begins with a discussion of Disney Princess culture and covers the historical development of Disney Princesses in films; over the years, the representations of princesses have become more diverse, but Heatwole argues that they still operate in a fairly limited way. The contemporary television series Once Upon A Time is analyzed as a program that incorporates an audience's familiarity with the traditional and more modern princess figures (Snow White and Elsa from Frozen) and their narratives while subverting some of the attributes...

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