Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Girl Constructed in Two Nonfiction Texts

Sexual Subject? Desired Object?

Mary Ann Harlan

Keywords: discourse of femininity; girlhood; media representations; popular media; sex; sexuality; subjectivity

In 2016 two nonfiction titles exploring girls and sexuality and presentations of the sexual self received extensive media attention, thus shaping a construction of girl in popular media. In this article I examine how Nancy Jo Sales’s American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers and Peggy Orenstein’s Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape construct girls as sexual subjects and desired objects. In a close reading of the texts I consider how the authors constitute girl and the ways in which girls navigate society’s expectations and constructions of them as sexual subjects. I use the words of girls themselves to examine the dissonance between authorial constructions and the post-feminist culture that emerges in the texts on the one hand, and the girls’ language on the other.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or log in to access all content.