Tween Girls and their Mediated Friends

by Nancy A. Jennings (Author)
©2014 Textbook 122 Pages
Series: Mediated Youth, Volume 21


Although parents and teachers are among the numerous socializing agents through which children learn about the world, media, too, has begun to take center stage as a substantial force in children’s lives. Media characters are some of the people being integrated into the social lives of children, yet very little is known about the implications of these relationships on child development in a mediated society.
Through in-depth interviews, this book explores how tween girls relate to media characters past and present, what they value in these relationships, and how these relationships have shaped their own identity and friendships.
The characters themselves are also analyzed from a feminist perspective, revealing the shared values of community, agency, and self-determination of the media characters and the girls who call them friends.
Through examining the characters and the text in which their stories take place, the book sheds light on what is important to tween girls, about the traits they value in others, and the traits they value in themselves.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Chapter 1. Introduction: From Preschool Programming to Tween Media: Girls in Their Media Context
  • Changes in the Media Landscape From Preschool to Middle School
  • Preschool programming
  • New Representations of Girls
  • Media Characters as Friends
  • Methodology
  • Textual Analysis
  • Interviews and Listenings
  • The Sample
  • The Setting
  • Analysis
  • Chapter 2. Feminist Reading of Tween Media Character Friends
  • Five Narratives
  • Good Luck Charlie (Disney)—Teddy (Bridgit)
  • 4 seasons (2010–2013)
  • H2O: Just Add Water (Nickelodeon)—Cleo
  • 3 seasons (2006–2010)
  • iCarly (Nickelodeon)—Carly
  • 6 seasons (2007–2012)
  • Victorious (Nickelodeon)—Tori
  • 4 seasons (2010–2013)
  • Harry Potter Book Series (Scholastic) and Film Series (Warner Brothers)—Hermione
  • Prevalent Petals
  • Sense of Community/Connection
  • Self-Determination and Agency
  • Self-Expression
  • A Garden of Strong Female Characters
  • Chapter 3. Listening to Tween Girls Talk About Their Media Friends
  • Perceived Petals
  • Sense of Community/Connection
  • Self-Determination and Agency
  • Self-Expression
  • Voicing of PSR
  • “She” and “I”
  • “We” and “She”
  • Additional Observation
  • Growing in the Garden
  • Chapter 4. Feminist Reading of Preschool Media Character Friends
  • Two Narratives
  • Dora the Explorer (Nickelodeon)—Dora
  • Currently in its 8th season (2000–present)
  • Go, Diego, Go! (Nickelodeon)—Diego
  • 4 seasons (2005–2011)
  • Prevalent Petals
  • Sense of Community/Connection
  • Self-Determination and Agency
  • Self-Expression
  • A Community Garden
  • Chapter 5. Tween Girls Remembering Their Preschool Media Friends
  • Petals Remembered
  • Recall of Sense of Community/Connection
  • Recall of Agency and Self-Determination
  • Recall of Self-Expression
  • Additional Reflections of the Golden Flower
  • Voicing of PSR
  • “She” and “I”
  • “We” and “She”
  • Growing Out of the Community Garden
  • Chapter 6. Conclusion: Finding Friends on the Screen: Parasocial Relationships, Media Friends, and Tween Girls
  • Media Character Friends
  • Parasocial Relationships
  • Our Media Community
  • Appendix
  • Session #1
  • Session #2
  • References
  • Index

| vii →


2.1 Good Luck Charlie. Bridgit Mendler as Teddy Duncan of Disney’s Good Luck Charlie. ©Disney Channel. Courtesy of PhotoFest.

2.2 H2O: Just Add Water. Phoebe Tonkin as Cleo Sertori (center) of H2O: Just Add Water. H2O: Just Add Water. ©Nickelodeon Network. Courtesy of PhotoFest.

2.3 iCarly. Miranda Cosgrove as Carly Shay of Nickelodeon’s iCarly. ©Nickelodeon. Courtesy of PhotoFest.

2.4 Victorious. Victoria Justice as Tori Vega of Nickelodeon’s Victorious. ©Nickelodeon. Courtesy of PhotoFest.

2.5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Emma Watson as Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter series. Warner Bros. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Photographer: Murray Close. ©Warner Bros. Courtesy of PhotoFest.

4.1 Dora the Explorer. Dora. Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer. ©Nickelodeon Network. Courtesy of PhotoFest.

4.2 Go, Diego, Go! Diego. Nickelodeon’s Go, Diego, Go! ©Nickelodeon Network. Courtesy of PhotoFest.

| ix →


1.1 List of Narratives Analyzed

3.1 “I” Poem Transitions for Rose and Cleo

3.2 “I” Poem Transitions for Nicole and Teddy

3.3 “I” Poem Transitions for Nicole and Teddy

3.4 A Stanza From Riley’s “I” Poem

3.5 A Stanza From Riley’s “I” Poem

3.6 “I” Poem Transitions for Kelly and Teddy/Bridgit

3.7 A Stanza of Jessie’s “I” Poem

5.1 Kelly’s Agency Stanza

5.2 Early “I” Poem Transitions for Riley and Dora

5.3 Later “I” Poem Transitions for Riley and Dora

5.4 “I” Poem Transitions for Shelby and Dora

5.5 Shelby’s Tween “I” Poem Stanza

5.6 Rose’s Tween “I” Poem Stanza

5.7 Rose’s Stanza About Her Preschool Friend Dora

5.8 Nicole’s Beginning Stanza About Diego

5.9 Nicole’s “We” Stanza About Diego

5.10 Jessie’s Final Uses of “We”

5.11 Kelly’s Description of Dora

5.12 Kelly’s Description of How She and Dora Feel

5.13 Kelly’s Separation From Dora stanza


ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (December)
media child development feminist perspective
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 122 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Nancy A. Jennings (Author)

Nancy A. Jennings (PhD, University of Texas-Austin) is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Cincinnati. She studies the impact of media on the lives of children and their families and public policies and practices involved with children’s media.


Title: Tween Girls and their Mediated Friends
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