Generation Z pp 115-129 | Cite as

Girls, Ghouls and Girlhoods: Horror and Fashion at Monster High

  • Karen E. WohlwendEmail author
Part of the Cultural Studies and Transdisciplinarity in Education book series (CSTE)


How does a zombie doll in a popular horror franchise for tween girls serve as a productive site of contestation among overlapping visions of girlhood? In this chapter, I examine Ghoulia Yelps, a zombie character in the popular Monster High fashion doll franchise, not only as a toy in a global flow of licensed consumer goods but also as a site of identity construction and digital media production where facile notions of girlhoods are both enacted and reimagined. Monster High is reconceptualized here as the site of converging cultural imaginaries in which children play in and out of gendered futures around fashion, adolescence, diversity, and schooling. Critical analysis of tween girls’ digital play with a zombie doll on social media reveals the resonances, slippages, and paradoxes among identity texts produced about, for, and by girls. After describing the scope of the Monster High franchise and how it materializes expectations for characters, consumers, and players, I next examine how these dolls and identity texts circulate three dominant imaginaries of girlhood. Finally, I analyze YouTube videos of girls’ play with the Ghoulia Yelps character to see how tween’s foregrounding of horror and wielding of zombie tropes opens opportunities to rupture and reimagine girlhoods.


Social Medium Digital Medium Social Drama Identity Text Horror Film 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Literacy, Culture, and Language EducationIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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