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Girls’ Sexualities and the Media


Edited By Kate Harper, Yasmina Katsulis, Vera Lopez and Georganne Scheiner Gillis

This anthology provides exciting, innovative research focused on the construction of adolescent girls’ sexuality in the media. The volume includes a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives from the humanities and the social sciences, addressing how girls and others respond to, work with, and even resist prevailing media representations of girls’ sexualities and how they use contemporary media as a form of sexual expression.
The authors consider a wide array of sexual attitudes, behaviors, and expressions not commonly seen in the sexualities literature, including the voices of «other» girls whose voices are often ignored, particularly racial/ethnic minority and indigenous girls, sexual minorities, and girls from non-U.S. settings. The use of ethnographic data, in conjunction with media analysis techniques, provides a unique approach to the media studies genre, which tends to highlight an analysis of media content, as opposed to the ways in which media is used in everyday life.


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Part One: Historical and Contemporary Media


PART ONE HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY MEDIA |1 The Girls of Carvel: Adolescent Desire in Andy Hardy Films Georganne Scheiner Gillis In the third Andy Hardy film, Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), Andy complains about girls during his obligatory man-to-man with his father the judge: Sometimes I don’t understand these modern girls. Polly for instance. Sometimes she won’t let you kiss her at all, but that Cynthia she’ll let you kiss her whenever you want. She doesn’t want to swim, play tennis, all she wants to do is kiss you. I’m a nervous wreck!…Why is it when you want to kiss a girl and she won’t let you, you want to kiss her all the time. This scene underscores competing paradigms and discourses about female ado- lescent sexuality in the 1930s filtered through the perspective of a fictional ado- lescent male. On the one hand, there is a recognition of new dating behaviors among teens, but on the other is the implicit critique of it. Although Polly is a prude, Andy respects her for playing hard to get, while Cynthia is suspect be- cause of her desire. Girls’ desire operated as a site of frustration and confusion both for Andy and for the parent culture in the 1930s and 1940s. The Andy Hardy films remain one of the only coherent series about teens in American history, spanning over ten years and fifteen films. As Timothy Shary has noted the series offers “the most significant depiction of adolescent life in America...

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