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Tween Girls and their Mediated Friends


Nancy A. Jennings

Although parents and teachers are among the numerous socializing agents through which children learn about the world, media, too, has begun to take center stage as a substantial force in children’s lives. Media characters are some of the people being integrated into the social lives of children, yet very little is known about the implications of these relationships on child development in a mediated society.
Through in-depth interviews, this book explores how tween girls relate to media characters past and present, what they value in these relationships, and how these relationships have shaped their own identity and friendships.
The characters themselves are also analyzed from a feminist perspective, revealing the shared values of community, agency, and self-determination of the media characters and the girls who call them friends.
Through examining the characters and the text in which their stories take place, the book sheds light on what is important to tween girls, about the traits they value in others, and the traits they value in themselves.
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Chapter 5. Tween Girls Remembering Their Preschool Media Friends


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Make new friends, but keep the old.

One is silver and the other’s gold.


In their Girl Scouting journey, our young girls bridged over from Daisies to Brownies, and, from Brownies, they flew up to Juniors. Through each step, they practiced the promise they made as Daisies, earned patches of discovery and respect, and learned how to make an impact on the community by starting with individual effort and expanding to purposeful teamwork. They achieved a deeper understanding of the world around them, made efforts to preserve and protect their environment, and helped others in their community. As 11-year-olds, they have a new perspective on the world around them and the role they play in it.

In the previous chapter, we learned about the nourishment these girls received as seedlings in their preschool media community garden. As blossoming tweens, I asked the girls to think back to that community garden and tell me about what they remembered about the flowers in that garden. How did they recall their preschool media garden? What would they remember about the flowers they had picked to be in the garden? Did they feel the same way about those flowers now as they did then? Were their new flowers more treasured than their old flowers?

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This chapter serves two purposes: 1) to explore...

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