Girl Trouble: Panic and Progress in the History of Young Women

Carol Dyhouse. Zed Books (Palgrave Macmillan, dist.), $24.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-78032-493-7
In this engaging book, British social historian Dyhouse (Glamour: Women, History, Feminism), a charming and compelling writer, narrates the story of young English women, from the emergence of first wave feminism pre-WWI to the present. Her analysis is anchored by the “moral panic” that pops up each time young women take a step towards liberation. As girls begin to travel alone in the 1900s, a widespread fear of a nonexistent white slave trade emerges. As women began to seek higher education, anxieties rise that the over-education of women would cause damage to femininity, even death. As a result of “more liberal attitudes to female sexuality” in the interwar period, one study reports, “professional prostitutes… were being replaced by amateurs.” In the post-war period, juke boxes and clubs are identified as dens of iniquity. Dyhouse’s analysis of the sexual revolution of the 1960s is deliciously smart. The book is a loud, disturbing, eloquent, and crucial rallying cry against the concept of a “post-feminist” world, a narrative deeply relevant today. As Dyhouse writes: “Young women need feminism as much as ever, if they are to see their lives in context and live them fully.” Agent: Maggie Hanbury, Hanbury Agency, U.K. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/25/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Hardcover - 314 pages - 978-1-78032-494-4
Paperback - 328 pages - 978-1-55266-691-3
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