Gendered media representations of sexiness and their effects on girls' educational experiences
Girls' educational experiences
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Using the Boys and Girls Club of Thunder Bay as a case study, this research focuses on how girls receive, understand, and resist dominant messages of femininity, heterosexuality, and the body that value sexiness over intelligence and academic success in the hidden curriculum in Ontario schools. The study explains how preadolescent girls age 8-14 are affected by the mass media, but also how they negotiate competing discourses in the hidden curriculum and may resist them. Premised on the fact that girls' thoughts, experiences, and opinions matter, the study utilizes girls' voices, stories, and ideas to provide solutions for the overwhelming evidence of gender disparities in the hidden curriculum. A feminist qualitative perspective is the foundation for the research, using focus group discussions to provide the space and time for preadolescent girls to reflect and offer their interpretations of the social world, shedding light on the lives and experiences of girls' by speaking with them, rather than about them. Through the use of the focus groups, girls' perspectives can provide valuable knowledge to assist educators to better serve the needs of girls at school. The results of the research indicate that preadolescent girls' educational experiences are affected by media content that continues to represent girls through features of heteronormative femininity.