Into the Closet
Cross-Dressing and the Gendered Body in Children's Literature and Film
Routledge – 2007 – 296 pages
Into the Closet examines the representation of cross-dressing in a wide variety of children’s fiction, ranging from picture books and junior fiction to teen films and novels for young adults. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the different types of cross-dressing found in children’s narratives, raising a number of significant issues relating to the ideological construction of masculinity and femininity in books for younger readers.
Many literary and cultural critics have studied the cultural significance of adult cross-dressing, yet although cross-dressing representations are plentiful in children’s literature and film, very little critical attention has been paid to this subject to date. Into the Closet fills this critical gap. Cross-dressing demonstrates how gender is symbolically constructed through various items of clothing and apparel. It also has the ability to deconstruct notions of problematizing the relationship between sex and gender. Into the Closet is an important book for academics, teachers, and parents because it demonstrates how cross-dressing, rather than being taboo, is frequently used in children’s literature and film as a strategy to educate (or enculturate) children about gender.
"It is my hope that this book will serve as a springboard to increasingly critical scholarship about (and diverse representations within) children's literature and film."
-- Children's Literature Association Quarterly, Vol. 34, No. 1, Spring 2009
Series Editor’s Foreword
Children’s Literature and the Cultural Discourse of Cross-dressing
Cross-dressing in Children’s Literature and Film: Three Models of Gender Disguise
Iconic Female Cross-dressing: The Problem of Gender in Children’s Retellings of the Story of Joan of Arc
Re-framing Masculinity: The De-stabilizing Effect of the Female Cross-dresser
Funny Boys: Masculinity, Misogyny and the Carnivalesque in Children’s Male Cross-dressing Literature
(Mis)Performing Gender Through a Lens: Cross-dressing in Children’s Cinema
Emerging Identities: Cross-dressing and Sexuality in Adolescent Fiction
Victoria Flanagan completed her doctoral dissertation about cross-dressing in children's literature in 2005 at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. She has published several critical articles and in 2002 contributed a chapter to Ways of Being Male: Representing Masculinities in Children's Literature and Film, edited by John Stephens (Routledge, 2002).