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Girls’ Sexualities and the Media

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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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2 “Sensible Safety Rules”: Class, Race, and Girls’ Sexual Vulnerability in the U.S. Print Media, 1950–1970

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“Sensible Safety Rules”: Class, Race, and Girls’ Sexual Vulnerability in the U.S. Print Media, 1950–1970

Jennifer Helgren

In March of 1959, parents near Spokane, Washington would have read an alarming report in their local newspapers about the disappearance of nine-year-old Candy Rogers. References to the child “selling Campfire Girl mints” in her uniform when she was abducted signaled her membership in a predominantly white, middle-class national girls’ organization that with its 530,000 members in 1958, served along with the Girl Scouts, to train girls to blend public service and homemaking skills.1 When Candy’s “ravished body” was found two weeks later in a remote area northwest of the city, news reports invoked girls’ sexual vulnerability with details of how she had been bound “with parts of her own slip,” raped, and strangled.2 Reporters further warned parents by highlighting ways that Candy’s routine diverged from the idealized girlhood that her Campfire Girl uniform symbolized.

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