Disabled girls’ complex roles in contemporary media culture
Cripping Girlhood offers a new theorization of disabled girlhood, tracing how and why representations of disabled girls emerge with frequency in twenty-first century U.S. media culture. It uncovers how the exceptional figure of the disabled girl most often appears as a resource to work through post-Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) anxieties about the family, healthcare, labor, citizenship, and the precarity of the bodymind. In paying critical attention to disabled girlhood, the book uses feminist disability studies to rupture the unwitting assumption in girls’ studies that girlhood is necessarily non-disabled.
By closely examining the ways that disabled girls represent themselves, Anastasia Todd goes beyond a critique of the figure of the privileged disabled girl subject in the national imagination to explore how disabled girls circulate their own capacious re-envisioning of what it means to be a disabled girl. In analyzing a range of cultural sites, including YouTube, TikTok, documentaries, and GoFundMe campaigns, Todd shows how disabled girls actively upend what we think we know about them and their experience, recasting the meanings ascribed to their bodyminds in their own terms. By analyzing disabled girls’ self-representational practices and cultural productions, Todd shows how disabled girls deftly theorize their experiences of ableism, sexism, racism, and ageism, and cultivate communities online, creating archives of disability knowledge and politicizing other disabled people in the process.
Anastasia Todd is Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Kentucky.
Winner: 2022 Tobin Siebers Prize- Tobin Siebers Prize
“In Cripping Girlhood, Anastasia Todd delicately handles discourses surrounding living breathing disabled girls (and women) without ever passing judgment on any particular girl or the ways she might be implicated in the reproduction of harmful narratives about disability. It’s a love letter to crip girls, flawlessly and accessibly written. For feminist disability studies scholars, this book will read like having a conversation with a group of colleague-friends.”- Amanda Apgar
—Amanda Apgar, Loyola Marymount University
“Cripping Girlhood advances the field of feminist disability studies and brings digital media studies more fully into dialogue with critical disability studies. This monograph offers disability studies new tools for exploring contemporary digital subjectivity, as well as sharing insights into the normative construction of the girl in contemporary U.S. culture. Anastasia Todd’s conceptualization of the disabled girl is nuanced and intersectional, and the book is a pleasure to read.”- Harriet Cooper
—Harriet Cooper, University of East Anglia