Shoptalk: Overheard At MLA

Literary scholars say the darndest things, and their comments at this year’s annual Modern Language Association convention in Philadelphia proved no exception to this rule. From chatter overheard in bathrooms and on barstools …

The Cult of Girlhood

Is girlhood a cult? Emma Cline’s new novel draws on the history of the Manson Family to explore how girlhood and cults both depend on rituals and intimacies. The Girls seems to tell the story of how ...

Primal Scenes

This past year, Yoplait began airing a commercial, entitled “Mmm,” which features a family—a man, woman, and two children—eating yogurt, producing a chorus of “Mmms” as they ingest. The mother emits ...

Murderous Schoolgirls

While little girls may be made of sugar and spice and everything nice, in fiction the teenagers they grow into are anything but. We are drawn to stories where girls are scandalous, promiscuous, and ...

Queer Magic

Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Michelle Tea’s Mermaid in Chelsea Creek both use magic to imagine solutions to childhood anxieties: What do you do when your family doesn’t feel ...