SAU Buzz

Ashlynn Reads Books: “Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession” by Alice Bolin

by Ashlynn Maczko
Posted on Oct 25, 2018


In this collection of essays, Bolin examines the widespread obsession that America has with women who are abused, killed, and disenfranchised.


Bolin argues that one of the most poignant examples of this obsession are shows like “Dateline” and murder mysteries on the Investigation Discovery channel. She looks at what is called a Dead Girl Show (Pretty Little Liars, True Detective, Veronica Mars, etc.) and how the plot originates from an obsession about a main female character’s death.


She also examines examples such as Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus, and their rises to fame as sexualized teenage pop sensations.


Among Bolin’s criticism of Americans’ obsession with violence against women, she weaves in recollections of her own life shortly after moving to Los Angeles. She recounts experiences with different roommates and the challenges of adapting to a culture that is so wrapped up in excess.


If you are looking for an interesting and relatively easy read about the portrayal of women in media and their roles in our culture, this book will definitely meet your expectations.


Rating: 4/5


Memorable Quote: “The Dead Girl Show’s notable themes are in its two odd, contradictory messages for women. The first is that girls are wild, vulnerable creatures who need to be protected from the power of their own sexualities [...] the other message that the Dead Girl Show has for women is simpler: trust no dad.”