By Emilie Zaslow (auth.)
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Additional resources for Feminism, Inc.: Coming of Age in Girl Power Media Culture
She is a daughter of a single mother. She is incapable of delaying gratification, fails in school, does not secure employment, and most of all she is sexually promiscuous, lacking in morality or family values, and out of control. She is at risk and at fault. 44 This picture was disturbing in many ways. It blamed African-American teen mothers for reproducing poverty, rather than casting a skeptical 26 Feminism, Inc. eye on a conservative administration that decreased funding for social welfare programs and supported “trickle down” economic policies.
48 Susan Murray also explores the meeting of the social and cultural in her analysis of girls’ participation in a chat room devoted to the TV show My So Called Life. Murray found that girls who were struggling with self-identity in their schools and homes found salience in the show’s protagonist who experienced a similar struggle. These girls took pleasure in seeing a representation of someone like themselves on television and ultimately formed a community of viewer-protesters when executives threatened to pull the show because of low ratings.
However, I had not heard girls discussing what it meant to be female, feminine, and—most certainly not— feminist. Girls that I knew discussed their favorite singers using the term “hot” or talked about the previous night’s episode of a sitcom as “so funny,” but they rarely probed each other to think through what constituted “hot” or “funny,” and they almost never discussed how their own feelings and personal experiences helped them to create meaning from these media texts. I suspected that listening to girls, without guiding them to discuss issues that were relevant to them (but about which they rarely spoke with peers), was going to be a project that yielded little significant data.