Girls, Moral Panic and News Media: Troublesome Bodies

Girls, Moral Panic and News Media: Troublesome Bodies

by Sharon R. Mazzarella

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Mazzarella examines the representational politics behind journalistic constructions of US girls and girlhood through a series of contemporary in-depth case studies which work to document a wider cultural moral panic about the troublesome nature of girls’ bodies.

The public concern and media fascination with youth so evident in the United States today is a century-old phenomenon. From the flappers of the 1920s to the bobbysoxers of the 1950s, from the hippies of the 1960s and on to the ever-present pregnant teens, this fascination has played out in the media and has consistently focused on (primarily White, middle-class, heterosexual) girls. A growing body of research has revealed the manner in which journalistic practice constructs such girls as problems. Girls, Moral Panic, and News Media takes a broad look at U.S. news media constructions of girls, girlhoods, and girl’s bodies/sexualities through a series of contemporary in-depth case studies including news coverage of the 2008 Gloucester (MA) High School "pregnancy pact," teen gun control activist Emma González, and the sexualization of "early puberty." In general, the news media constructs girls’ bodies as troublesome and in need of adult surveillance and policing. These case studies document a cultural obsession with girls’ bodies—an obsession that often approaches moral panic.

This book will be key reading for researchers and instructors in the rapidly growing international and interdisciplinary field of Girls’ Studies, and scholars of Media Studies, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Communication and Journalism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780429516658
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 11/07/2019
Series: Routledge Research in Gender, Sexuality, and Media
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 130
File size: 470 KB

About the Author

Sharon R. Mazzarella (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Professor of Communication Studies at James Madison University. Her research focuses on youth culture and mass media, specifically in the field of Girls’ Studies. She is editor or co-editor of seven academic collections, and her published articles have appeared in a range of communication, gender, and popular culture journals.

Table of Contents


Chapter One: Constructing "Ophelias": Time Magazine, Neoliberalism, and the Next Female Generation

Chapter Two: "Precious Years . . . Lost": Early Puberty and the Discourse of Sexualization Chapter Three: "The Perfect Storm": Constructing the Gloucester High School Pregnancy Pact

Chapter Four: American Girls & Sex: Manufacturing a Crisis around Girls and Social Media

Chapter Five: "The Media Loves Emma González": Activism, Celebrification, and Intersecting Conclusion: Making Sense of "The Grand Narrative"

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