Title: Scripting sexual desire: Cultural scenarios of teen girls’ sexual desire in popular films, 2000 – 2009
Journal / Publication: Sexuality & Culture
Pages: 321 – 341
Authors: Smith, Sarah H.
The rich literature focusing on adolescents’ consumption of popular media often focuses on sexual content and the various messages about sex and sexuality available to youth. However, one particular concept that has received little scholarly attention is media messages about sexual desire among young people, especially teen girls. What messages about teen girls’ sexual desire are available for youth in popular media? The following paper explores this question through qualitative content analysis of 130 scenes from 34 popular films featuring teen characters in lead and supporting roles between 2000 and 2009. Findings indicate that such films convey three primary messages about teen girls’ sexual desire: desire is unspoken, only “bad girls” verbalize desire, and expressing desire results in negative consequences. My analyses and discussion are informed by the sexual scripting framework and by critical feminist social thought.