Sexy Shapes

Girls Negotiating Gender through Popular Music

in Girlhood Studies
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This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork done with a group of 14 to 16 year-old girls in a medium sized Swedish town. The study aimed to investigate the relationship between everyday music use and gender, ethnicity and sexuality. The question posed here is: "What negotiations take place when the girls discuss their favorite music and artists?" Research in response to this question shows that the identity work of negotiating how to be a teenage girl often relates to popular culture. The sample focuses on girls from Swedish, Bosnian, Turkish and Syrian backgrounds. In this article I report on the local ideas about gender and ethnicity claimed by the girls to influence their discussion of music, dress and behavior, as well as the desires that I argue structure such discussion. This research supports contemporary findings that mainstream popular music has cultural and social significance in young girls' lives.