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Mediated Girlhoods

New Explorations of Girls’ Media Culture


Edited By Mary Celeste Kearney

Mediated Girlhoods: New Explorations of Girls’ Media Culture is the first anthology devoted specifically to scholarship on girls’ media culture. Taking a cultural studies approach, it includes analyses of girls’ media representations, media consumption, and media production. The book responds to criticisms of previous research in the field by including studies of girls who are not white, middle-class, heterosexual, or Western, while also including historical research. Approaching girlhood, media, and methodology broadly, Mediated Girlhoods contains studies of previously unexplored topics, such as feminist themes in teen magazines, girlmade memory books, country girlhoods, girls’ self-branding on YouTube, and the surveillance of girls via new media technologies. The volume serves as a companion to Mediated Boyhoods: Boys, Teens, and Young Men in Popular Media and Culture, edited by Annette Wannamaker.


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11 “She was like ___”: Re-framing Hip-Hop Identity Politics through Dance and Gesture Jennifer Woodruff 203


eleven “She was like ___”: Re-framing Hip-Hop Identity Politics through Dance and Gesture Jennifer Woodruff At the John Avery Boys and Girls Club in Northeast Central Durham, North Carolina, music surrounds the children in many of their activities and social exchanges. Kids participate in informal musical activities, such as listening to the radio and talking about music, and organized activities, like the John Avery Gos- pel Choir and Step Team. Music marketed as “urban contemporary,” known as “hip-hop” more generally, flows through the club: on the speakers that are turned up to full volume once everyone’s homework is finished, in the dances that girls and boys practice, and as a reference point for jokes at others’ expense. Although girls and boys listen to the same music, know the same dances, and watch the same videos, girls’ musical activities dominate the club space. Even though every- one wants to listen to the radio, it is always girls who control the dial. When girls decide that they want to dance in a room by themselves, they can usually kick the boys out without any staff members objecting. For girls at the club, musical ac- tivities, such as listening and dancing to music, provide opportunities to socialize with one another, to hone their musical skills, and to learn and share ideas about being female and black. This chapter comes from a larger project on African American girls’ musical practices at the John Avery Boys and Girls Club (commonly referred to as “John Avery” by...

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