Abstract

Run Like a Girl is a collection of essays that examines the manifestations of fear through girlhood and into womanhood. The initial fear of losing her mother prompts in Pipkin a chain of fears: androphobia, horror delusions, body dysmorphia, and mental instability. In the essay "Dreaming in Dog Years," Pipkin is introduced to "good girls" and "bad girls," and what such identities mean for her and her mother's endings according to horror movies. While some girls don't survive, others are able to run. Pipkin and her mother's shared obsession—running—is explored from various angles. In "The Sunflower Project" and "Mother Moon & Me," Pipkin runs in response to fears of an abusive biological father. Essays such as "Run Like a Girl" and "Where There Should Be Blood" acknowledge the pitfalls of endurance running. Pipkin examines societal pressures around weight, social media imagery, and motherhood, and discusses how these pressures affect young girls taught to run. At the heart of the collection is a testament of love. The collection ends with "A Conversation with My Mother's Journal," where Pipkin explores mental health and, through journal entries, reconciles her and her mother's fractured relationship. The essay provides readers with her mother's own words, fulfilling her mother's unrealized aspiration of writing memoir.

Graduation Date

2020

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Hurt, Rochelle

Degree

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

College

College of Arts and Humanities

Department

English

Degree Program

Creative Writing

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0008409

Language

English

Release Date

November 2025

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)

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