Synopses & Reviews
Taking a closer look at teen film in the 1970s, New American Teenagers uncovers previously marginalized voices that rework the classically male, heterosexual American teenage story. While their parents' era defined the American teenager with the romantic male figure of James Dean, this generation of adolescents offers a dramatically altered picture of transformed gender dynamics, fluid and queered sexuality, and a chilling disregard for the authority of parent, or more specifically, patriarchal culture. Films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Halloween, and Badlands offer a reprieve from the 'straight' developmental narrative, including in the canon of study the changing definition of the American teenager. Barbara Brickman is the first to challenge the neglect of this decade in discussions of teen film by establishing the subversive potential and critical revision possible in the narratives of these new teenage voices, particularly in regards to changing notions of gender and sexuality.
Barbara Jane Brickman's smart and engaging reading of youth-oriented films of the 1970s charters new territory by uncovering their subversive potential in their treatment of issues of gender, generation, and sexuality. Her informative and insightful analysis of some of the decade's most popular films is a welcomed addition to the study of the American teen film. --Stephen Tropiano, author of Rebels & Chicks: A History of the Hollywood Teen Movie
New American Teenagers is an invigorating read that will please media scholars and youth scholars alike. Barbara Brickman actively and purposefully rescues for us the teen films and teen viewers of the 1970s, exploring this era of cinema through a blend of intriguing psychoanalytical, feminist, and queer film theories in a manner that provokes reconsideration of key texts. I immediately found myself eager to watch again films ranging from Texas Chainsaw Massacre to Freaky Friday to Badlands...Any book that makes you want to revisit this decade's filmic view of teens (and the standard assessments of them) is well worth the read! --Sharon Marie Ross, co-editor of Teen Television: Essays on Programming and Fandom
A compelling and often corrective evaluation of 1970s youth, in American cinema as well as the culture at large. Brickman argues that the decade's value was essentially lost with the nostalgia for the more radical '60s and splashy '80s gaining greater prominence in recent histories. Through a series of thorough and sometimes humorous analyses of teen film trends in the '70s, Brickman highlights the contributions of the genre to broader developments such as feminism, gay rights, educational reform, and the political power of youth. Brickman challenges the polemic that '70s youth were sedated by the 'cheap façade of polyester' to produce a convincing case for the radical elements of teen cinema at the time, celebrating the spirit of innovation and exploration that so many films then embodied. Speaks to the liberating potential of the marginalized genre that teen cinema became in the '70s. Anyone who can remember the '70s, whether you were a teenager then or not, will find this book an exciting read, with recollections of both great and gruesome movies dancing in your mind. A text that will quite positively promote the burgeoning study of teen cinema at large. --Timothy Shary, author of Generation Multiplex: The Image of Youth in Contemporary American Cinema (University of Texas, 2002)
Brickman extends the knowledge of teen films while focusing on alternative depictions of teenagers and teen films, such as the "queer kid", dangerous or independent females and insular peer culture that can be unsafe and violent, while focusing less on parental influences. -- Hennie Weiss has a Master's degree in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento. Her academic interests include women's studies, gender, sexuality and feminism. Metapsychology Online Reviews
The author challenges the neglect of the 1970s in studies on teen film and youth culture by locating a number of subversive and critical narratives.
About the Author
Barbara Jane Brickman is an Assistant Professor of Media and Gender Studies at the University of Alabama, U.S.A. She recently was an Associate Professor of English and Film Studies at the University of West Georgia, where she is devloped their Film Studies program. She has previously published articles on the pathologization of female teens, fantasy and the teen spectator, and the queering of fandom. Her current project focuses on the depiction of adolescents in the films of the 1970s.
Table of Contents
Introduction: New American Teenagers
Chapter One: Darktown Strutters in Transsexual Transylvania: The Exploitation and Parody of "Teenpics" in the 1970s
Chapter Two: Coming of Age in the 1970s: Revision, Fantasy, and Rage in the Teen-Girl Badlands
Chapter Three: The Queer Kid and Women's Lib
Chapter Four: Bad News Jodie, or How the Disney Family Got Freaky
Chapter Five: Brothers, Sisters, and Chainsaws: The Slasher Film as Locus for Sibling Rivalry
Conclusion: The Legacy of the New American Teenagers, or Beware of Ferris