Foucault and Puberty Blues

Annie Hajost

Peer Reviewers:


In Lette and Carey’s, Puberty Blues, two thirteen-year-old Australian girls, Sue and Deb, desperately try to be accepted into the popular group of kids in their surf-side area. This story takes place in the 1970’s as these two girls do basically anything it takes to be accepted by the “in crowd”. These actions included agreeing to the sexual desires of the popular guys that are in the group. The story depicts the two main characters along with other people tin the popular group hanging out in a paneled van. All of the kids are in the front of the van while Sue loses her virginity in the back to her appointed male of the group. The other kids are smoking and hanging out as if this were a very natural and accepted process. The authors make it painfully obvious that the two girls have no idea what they are doing in terms of sexual acts. This makes their age and naivety even more obvious. The girls even go into describing how they can position themselves to make their underdeveloped bodies look more mature. Throughout the piece, the two girl’s relationships with the guys is a privilege that has been given to them, when in reality they are getting taken advantage of so that they can been seen around specific people. This is seen when the girls discuss how they are lucky to be with the guy that they are with because of the social benefits that relationship comes with like when Deb explained that she was lucky to be with Bruce because that meant she could always sit in the front seat. The piece ends by Deb being told that Bruce was no longer interested in going out with her. In their terminology this mean Deb had been “dropped”. It seems so flightily casual at almost hurts.

            Throughout the story, the authors use a humor to discuss a very disturbing topic. In the section that we focused on for class it is so painfully evident that these girls are not physically or mentally prepared for the activities they are partaking in, however, Lette and Carey provide a lot of detail throughout the story that supports that what they are doing is the social norm of their time and community.

Foucault is an ethical thinker that lived between 1926-1984. He focused on how society is responsible for the norms that are socially accepted in different cultures. Many people try to explain the reasoning for certain things like ethics through the lens of religion and other forms of ethical work, but Foucault would argue that those ideas only exist because at some point, society created that mindset. Foucault would say that the only reason that these two young girls feel that they need to do these age inappropriate activities is because of society. He would blame the pain and discomfort they feel on the constructs that society has set for girls their age. In the class presentation, Dr. Hoag explained that Foucault studies, “how bodies are created, shaped, controlled, and disciplined by society/culture throughout history”. This explains why he would say that they Sue and Deb’s actions are based on society’s expectations and not their own personal desires.

I replied to a blog about Foucault and Puberty Blues written by someone with the name, Vortexblogcnu. I thought that this blog post was really interesting because it is comparing the same thinker and piece that I am but it touches on a point that I did not think about at all. The author talked about Foucault’s views on a soul and what his opinion would be about the two main character’s souls and their connection to society. I thought this was a really interesting aspect of Foucault’s thinking to examine.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s