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Girls’ Sexualities and the Media

Series:

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 Three: Media Campaigns and Literacy Projects

Extract

PART THREE MEDIA CAMPAIGNS AND LITERACY PROJECTS |13 “Hey Media, Back Off and Get Off My Body”: SPARK is Taking Sexy Back Deborah L. Tolman, Lyn Mikel Brown, and Christin P. Bowman The usual images: A video of little girls dressed in fishnets, revealing outfits, and high heels—performing “All the Single Ladies” with all of Beyonce’s moves. An ad for jeans depicting a young woman flashing her breasts at a sur- veillance camera with the caption: “Smart may have the brains, but stupid has the balls. Be stupid.” A t-shirt that reads “Who needs brains when you have these?” Heavily made-up, carefully coifed five-year-olds prancing down a run- way in pitch perfect impersonation of adult models on any episode of the run- away hit television show Toddlers and Tiaras. Costume stores jammed with Halloween attire for school-aged girls: French maids, sexy witches, and barely- there cheerleader outfits. Alternative images: A video of girls saying what sexy means to them: “Women’s bodies are not marketing tools!” An ad from a popular tween brand that girls have recaptioned: “I am more than eye candy…Why can’t Candies treat me that way?” A group of girls wearing white t-shirts with “Being sexy is not a look, it’s a feeling!” and “Use your imagination INSTEAD OF ME to sell cars, clothes, airfare, cologne, burgers, or booze!” projected onto them. An In- tervene in Halloween costume fashion show won by a girl dressed cleverly as hipster candy—Eminem the M&M. An auditorium jammed...

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