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.
Girls’ Sexualities and the Media: The Power of the Media
Yasmina Katsulis, Vera Lopez, Kate Harper, and Georganne Scheiner Gillis
Analyses of representations of girls in the media have a long, if scattered, history. While Girls Studies has only recently been recognized as an academic subfield, its establishment is the culmination of the efforts of a number of scholars in various disciplines who have focused on girls in their research.1 The fields of history, literature, and media studies have produced a number of studies on representations of girls, resisting the tendency to ignore girls and their experiences as significant sites of inquiry. These studies challenged the omission of girls in their traditional disciplines and set the foundations for the rapidly growing body of work on girls in the past two decades. Historical scholars have engaged in recuperative work on girls’ lives, while simultaneously examining the constructed and negotiated meanings in both official documents and girls’ own accounts.2 Bringing this historical focus into a contemporary context, media and literary scholars continue to examine representations of girls in popular media, as well as girls’ interactions with such media.3 A number of recent anthologies explore the complex relationship between popular media and girls’ identity construction.4 The past twenty years have seen an explosion of new academic inquiry on the role of popular media in constructing our understanding of girls’ lives and the potential for popular media to simultaneously restrict and expand cultural meanings of girlhood. Reflecting on this history, Jackson and Westrupp note, “Although the troubling of teenage girls’...
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