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Mediated Girlhoods

New Explorations of Girls’ Media Culture

Series:

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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14 Surveilling the Girl via the Third and Networked Screen Leslie Regan Shade 261

Extract

Fourteen Surveilling the Girl via the Third and Networked Screen Leslie Regan Shade A humorous and irreverent episode from the debut of the popular Showtime television series Weeds (2005–current) illustrates well the increasing use of digital technologies to monitor and track the movements of young people in the new millennium, whether covertly or not. Neighbors Nancy and Celia are talk- ing in Nancy’s suburban kitchen. Celia is concerned that her teenage daughter Quinn is planning on having sex with Nancy’s son, Silas, under Nancy’s roof. She asks Nancy to put a pink “teddy cam” in her son’s room, so she can surrepti- tiously video-record her daughter. The two mothers squabble about the ethics of spying on their kids, with Nancy arguing that you need to trust your kids. Quinn and Silas enter the kitchen with take-out pizza and, seeing the bear, Quinn asks if it is the same one that was in their kitchen cupboard. She asks her mother if she can take it home to her bedroom: “I miss that bear.” The concluding scene shows Celia hooking up the teddy cam to the television. Unbeknownst to her, the teddy cam has literally been turned on its head, with Quinn having deployed it to spy on her father having sex with his tennis instructor. Then Quinn appears in the footage, flipping her mother off and repeatedly mouthing “Fuck you!!!” to the camera. The protected child may indeed be an intrinsic facet of middle-class millen- nium parenting in North America,...

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