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Girls’ Sexualities and the Media

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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 Two: Media Use and Self-Representation

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PART TWO MEDIA USE AND SELF-REPRESENTATION |9 “Hyperfeminine” Subcultures: Rethinking Gender Subjectivity and the Discourse of Sexuality Among Adolescent Girls in Contemporary Japan Isaac Gagné Introduction In both Western and Japanese media, “young Japanese girls” are repre- sented by extreme images which are internally contradictory. In particular, re- cent media images portray young Japanese girls at best as pure and demure, and at worst as hedonistic and materialistic. The image of the servile and innocent girl has been crafted by certain genres of comic books (manga) and cartoons (anime) that have also made deep inroads into the Western market. In contrast, the latter image of the calculative consumer of luxury goods became a social panic in Japan with the conspicuous presence of young women seen as “brand-girls” or “bad girls,” generally glossed as kogyaru.1 Despite these exaggerated media representations and polarized images of young Japanese girls, neither is entirely true or false. In Japan, as much as purity and modesty are seen as important, aestheticization and consumption are also well-embedded practices and are often encouraged as a part of socialization. Moreover, real girls themselves are simultaneously both objects of media repre- sentations and subjects who actively respond to such mediatized images to ma- nipulate or emulate such representations in return.2 Isaac Gagné 158 The widespread aestheticization, commodification, and further emulation and appropriation of the image of young girls—and its importation and con- sumption—is neither a new phenomenon nor limited to Japan. Like the young women of the Bowery...

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