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Paula MacDowell

Films, television series, music videos, computer games, social media networks, web pages, newspapers, magazine covers, digital signage, and other pervasive media texts are constantly projecting a barrage of conflicting and influential messages about who girls are, what they should be, and how they should act. In this article, I discuss my work with 10 girl coresearchers (aged between 10 and 13) to analyze media as texts with taken-for-granted meanings that need to be understood, questioned, interrupted, and transformed. I report on how the coresearchers produced a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to represent how girls and girlhood are (mis)represented in well-established and hegemonic media discourses. Findings underscore the importance of providing opportunities for girls to be media creators (not merely consumers or child users) so that the girl in the text can be heard and can express herself in her own ways, on her own terms, and for her own purposes.