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Voorkant Thiel-Stern 'From the dance hall to Facebook' Shayla THIEL-STERN
From the dance hall to Facebook - Teen girls, mass media, and moral panic in the United States, 1905–2010
Amherst - Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2014, 203 blzn.;
ISBN-13: 978 16 2534 0917

(ix) Acknowledgments

"My belief in human equality and commitment to feminism propel my work here. I hope that by exposing how mass media historically have represented girls and young women in problematic ways, the book might lead media workers to question and change their own newsgathering and storytelling practices."(x)

(1) Introduction - Media, Panic, and Teen Girls in Recreational Space

Eerst over de rol van de media en hoe die 'nieuws' zien.

"The criteria for newsworthiness is almost entirely the same as it was a hundred years ago too: a story must be timely and impactful, concern prominent figures, hold geographic proximity to readers, contain an element of human interest, or demonstrate a conflict or something shocking or novel. These factors (among a few others mentioned less frequently in the journalism textbooks) determine “news value,” and the way a story is told often determines whether an audience will truly buy it — in either a very literal way (for example, pay for a newspaper) or figurative way (for example, put faith in what the reporter states). Nonetheless, in the American mass media’s reliance on criteria of newsworthiness and official sources to deliver the news, it also at times leaves certain voices out of the coverage entirely; these voices historically have been silenced based on their race, ethnicity, gender, or class." [mijn nadruk] (2)

['At times'? Wat aardig weer. Dat wegselecteren en doodzwijgen gaat volgens mij zorgwekkend ver. Alles voor de verkoop. ]

"Based on societal constructions of gender and youth as well as political and economic forces, their positionality within American culture certainly has changed in the span of 105 years, and yet teen girls are usually portrayed negatively (or not at all) within news and popular discourse and tend to appear insignificant in terms of making valued con- tributions as citizens. "(2)

" In this context, it is significant that so many of the known media-fostered crises related to teenage girls over an extended period of history concern leisure and recreation."(3)

" Sexuality is usually painted as deviant within American news stories, and often it connects (again) to whether gender is being performed in a way that is consistent within dominant patriarchal standards. " [mijn nadruk] (4)

" Because of this cultural acceptance of the feminine being equated with the private, girls and women who place themselves in public purview have been punished with harassment, depicted as members of a lower class, or viewed as sexually promiscuous. Even when females are only technologically “in public,” they have been depicted negatively"(5-6)

"I argue in this book that certain narratives about teen girls have cycled through the past century, effectively maintaining this population at a constant point of crisis that sometimes is elevated to the point of moral panic. This is usually a gendered, exaggerated crisis that depends on certain journalistic devices and, in many cases, on the advocacy of experts and authorities whose personal agenda (whether rooted in religion, ethics, politics, economics, personal duty, or occupation) relies on either the preservation of this crisis or its elevation to panic. "(12)

De auteur werkt met de volgende casussen op dat vlak:

"The historical snapshots include
1. the popularity of dance halls with working-class teen girls in the early 1900s and social reformers’ efforts to reform and outlaw dance halls;
2. the perceived problems associated with teen girls participating in “sports of strife,” or strenuous athletics — specifically, track and field (including a fear of hurting girls’ ability to reproduce in the future and the issue of participants appearing too “masculine” while running);
3. teen girls’ public demonstration of emotion and sexuality in their adulation of Elvis Presley in the mid-1950s and the perceived link between juvenile delinquency (specifically, promiscuity) and enjoying his music;
4. the concern in the late 1970s and early 1980s that teen girls who embraced punk rock music and fashion were not feminine enough and that their physical rebellion (which in the media was tied almost entirely to their appearance in public) could be linked to their own moral decay, cultural deviance, or inability to one day conform to dominant cultural notions of femininity; and
5. teen girls’ widespread use of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace since 2004, with special attention paid to issues of sexual predation, sexting, and cyberbullying and to the general fear that girls either show excessive sexual agency or are victimized online. "

"Some would describe these various crisis points as related to “moral panic,” very basically (and perhaps, uncritically) defined as an irrational cultural overreaction about a phenomenon deemed deviant."(13)

[Dat lijkt me een te simpel beeld van morele paniek, inderdaad. Het is niet alleen maar irrationele angst dat daar speelt. Belangrijk is juist ook de weloverwogen en in die zin rationele manier waarop morele paniek opgebouwd en in stand gehouden wordt om bepaalde conservatieve morele doelen te bereiken.]

"Journalists are steered toward specific topics by regular institutional sources: politicians, government officials, law enforcement officers, scholars, cultural experts, and others. Through this reporting process, conservative — and arguably patriarchal — social agendas can be disseminated through the media. Again, a hegemonic process is enacted: the social condition of consent is necessary for this broad cultural construction of negative meanings, or threats, that stimulate crisis and in some cases, panic."(14)

"This book demonstrates how panic and crisis are often perpetuated by journalists, often in an attempt simply to gain a wider viewing audience or sell newspapers, and often this moral panic is at the expense of marginalized communities — the poor, women, young people, people of color, and immigrants. " [mijn nadruk] (18)

"There is no single, universal girlhood but rather, as Mazzarella, Hains, and I write, “there are girlhoods — cultural constructs that vary by race, class, nationality, generation, regionality, sexual identity, and so on.” But the mass media in the United States often does represent primarily either the white middle- to upper-class girlhood or the girlhood of those who need to be “saved,” which during the Progressive era were immigrant and working-class girls. This makes that type of teen girl seem “normalized,” further marginalizing girls of color and lower socioeconomic means and placing them in the position of “Others.” "(18)

(24) Chapter 1 - The Dance Hall Evil, 1905–1928

Dit was de tijd van de ragtime-muziek, live gespeeld in de 'dance hall'. Het gaat hier vooral om meiden die al werkten en niet meer op school zaten. Zo'n avond in de 'dance hall' was een moment van autonomie en zonder verantwoordelijkheid voor de familie en zo.

"Media coverage of dance halls in the early twentieth century primarily conjured one word: evil. Whether in a story about government regulation or crime, the dance halls in major metropolitan areas provided reporters with salacious fodder that seemed intended to strike fear in their audiences. These stories, which ran frequently in papers across the country, almost always focused on girls and how they would be corrupted or hurt by dance halls." [mijn nadruk] (25)

"This early appearance of women outside the domestic sphere caused a certain amount of consternation in U.S. soci- ety. Publicity or publicness was still connected to promiscuity as it related to women and girls. 6 Many people connected women being in public with women who walked on the streets as prostitutes. Further, many people were concerned that girls and women who went into public urban spaces would be victimized.(...)
News stories were far more unrelenting in their coverage of the working-class girls who went to dance halls, suggesting that by merely showing up in them, they would be susceptible to corruption."(26)

"Moral panic could not exist without mass media’s stereotypical or stylized presentation of the topic causing the panic. As such, the dance hall panic could hardly have existed before the establishment of the penny press in the middle to late 1800s."(29)

" ... yellow journalism used fear-mongering headlines, sensational and questionably ethical stories, and a sympathizing tone for the underdog and commoner.(...) Although the yellow journalism era was thought to be winding down by the time reporters latched on to the dance hall crisis (and the World and Journal were no longer the dominant newspapers in New York City), its sensational tone and lack of objectivity arguably influenced both the headlines and impassioned tone of the dance hall news coverage described in this chapter. " [mijn nadruk] (30)

"Arguably, the news frame associated with working-class girls going to dance halls to have fun dancing was not considered to be newsworthy. The news frame that positioned dance halls as dangerous public space probably was far better at selling papers. " [mijn nadruk] (32)

"The white slave panic is associated with “dance hall evil,” but it is only a component of the problematic narrative of teen girls’ corruption and victimization through their attendance of dance halls.
Clearly, working girls’ sexuality on public display was more of an issue within the prevalent media coverage of dance halls." [mijn nadruk] (37)

" In other words, dancing in private (and dancing among other women) was not necessarily the problem; rather, the sexuality associated with dancing with a male partner was their concern. This femininity, especially as it was articulated by lower-class girls, needed to be policed."(37)

"Indeed, much of the narrative about dance hall and evil rooted from the social reformers of the time, most of them political Progressives, who were quite savvy at being quoted in the press to further their cause. Most of these dance hall crusaders, including Israels, Sherwood, and Gaston, were women who perfectly fit Howard S. Becker’s description of “moral entrepreneur,” particularly in the way that their social position enabled them to enforce rules. Even though their gender precluded them from having real political power, they did have special power in their moral crusade against girls and dance halls because they were white, wealthy, and socially connected, and the girls were working class or poor and often immigrants or first-generation Americans."(39)

[Steeds weer hetzelfde patroon: de midden- en hogere klassen die met een groot gevoel van superioriteit hun waarden en normen op willen leggen aan de arme groepen in de samenleving in plaats van er voor te zorgen dat die armoede verdwijnt die zo veel gevolgen heeft voor die arme groepen. Het betreft vaak vrouwen, maar niet alleen, die vrouwen uit arbeidersmilieu de les lezen. En dat geldt ook voor de vrouwen van de 'settlement house movement'.]

"This also provides another indication that socioeconomic status matters enormously in the media narrative about dance halls, particularly as it was covered by an elite news source like the Times. Journalists’ reliance on socially prominent and official sources reinforces Stuart Hall’s point that the news media are partly responsible in perpetuating certain ideologies that reinforce upperclass values. " [mijn nadruk] (44)

"African American audiences might have been offered a different viewpoint from the black press of the time. Contemporary readers might be surprised to learn about the power and reach of the black press within early twentieth-century America, particularly the reach of the Chicago Defender, which was founded in 1905 and viewed as a very influential newspaper in its dealing with the changing race relations in the United States during the period of the dance hall coverage.(...)
The Chicago Defender’s dance hall coverage from 1905 to 1920 was decidedly less concerned with sexuality on display and more concerned with preserving the safety and enjoyment of dancers. " [mijn nadruk] (48-49)

"The news stories reported during the period of the dance hall crisis primarily consist of sources speaking on behalf of working-class girls. Most reporters would not have thought to interview a working-class girl in the early twentieth century for her view on the dance halls. "(50)

Thiel-Stern beschrijft een paar sociaal-wetenschappelijke onderzoeken die wel gebruik maakten van interviews met de meiden.

"Zelinski’s answer demonstrated an awareness of her actions and environment that belied the message of social reformers and other anti–dance hall crusaders who described the girls going to them as naive and unaware of the evil associated with dance halls."(52)

"This observation that girls were not alarmed by physical attention they received from men, and in fact might have truly enjoyed their time with men in dance halls, belies the social norms of the historical period that dictated how girls should behave in public — ladylike, demure, and asexual. "(53)

Conclusie:

"An overarching media narrative placed the women social reformers at one end of the moral spectrum and the working-class girls who went to dance halls at the other end. In a simplistic telling, the victims were young girls who were helpless in the throes of the dance hall evil; the saviors were women portrayed as crusaders who could help them. This story was very effectively told by providing lengthy quotations, filled with moral fervor, from dance hall reformers and by simply describing the working-class girls who went to the dance halls. Reformers and researchers were allowed to tell the girls’ stories and explain their motivations, but the girls themselves were rendered silent in this coverage. Undoubtedly, they were silenced not only because they were young and female but also because they were of a lower class and sometimes immigrants or children of immigrants. "(53-54)

(56) Chapter 2 - The Rise and Fall of Girls’ Track and Field, 1920–1940

" In the early 1900s the play of younger girls was treated much in the same way as the play of young boys, but once girls reached adolescence, they became a problematic hybrid of girl and woman, who (as was seen in the Progressives’ concern over dance halls) could not control their own sexual urges or the male gazes on them.
Moreover, in the question of participation in sports, they also had to worry about their own medical condition and ability to procreate in the future; many medical experts in the early twentieth century agreed that “girls” should not participate in sports while they were menstruating and should avoid physically taxing sports all together. "(56-57)

[Weer de pseudo deskundigheid van medici dus waarop men zich gaat beroepen. Er waren net overal speelvelden gemaakt voor de lagere klasse zodat ze zich anders konden uiten dan dansend in een 'dance hall' (lees: niet seksueel), wordt dát voor vrouwen weer als een beperking neergelegd.]

" This chapter focuses on how the arguments against competitive, strenuous sports for girls — specifically track and field — took hold. Underlying those arguments was a not-so-subtle bias against the poor and sports that would have been associated with teen girls with low socio- economic status or teen girls of color. The chapter describes the arguments and motivations of the main moral entrepreneurs who advocated for girls to “play for play’s sake” rather than for competition and examines the mass media coverage of the issue, which lead to policy and cultural changes that altered the playing field for girls’ sports for decades to come. " [mijn nadruk] (57-58)

Ondanks dat de pers in de 20er jaren professioneler werd was er nog steeds sprake van 'bias':

"A more professionalized press that adheres to ethical standards, objectivity, and fairness in some ways might ensure less explicit sexism, racism, and marginalization in journalism. But professionalism also can work to mask such problems. For example, in attempting to be fair and objective, journalists seek to interview people from only two sides of an issue, and in general they concentrate on authorities and government officials, even if they are part of a corrupt administration. Furthermore, relying on two sides often oversimplifies complex issues and encourages publishing only the interests of the extremes while the less quotable, moderate voices are left out of coverage. Moreover, in the early part of the century (and even to a certain extent today), authorities and officials were by and large Caucasian men with education and wealth. Women and girls were rarely quoted in news coverage in the early part of the twentieth century partly for this reason." [mijn nadruk] (59-60)

Ook de radio kwam op in die jaren, met uiteindelijk een heel eigen stijl van nieuwsvoorziening.

"As the coverage of female participation in sports in this chapter demonstrates, an increased focus on conflict within the journalistic narratives might have driven some reporters to emphasize questions of gender and femininity within sports articles about girls and women. "(61)

"Although the term “teenager” still had not entered the English language as a descriptive social category, the 1920s also brought women’s suffrage and a newfound championing of the “new woman.” A younger counterpart, “the new girl,” also emerged and embraced her newfound independence not only by voting but by participating in all aspects of public life. Being outside the walls of the home, the domestic domain of women and girls, became more acceptable during this political and cultural shift as well. Women’s and girls’ participation in individual and team sports became more commonplace in the early 1920s." [mijn nadruk] (61)

Ook voor de fiets was een belangrijke rol weggelegd in de emancipatie van vrouwen.

"Newspapers’ championing of the new modern girl continued for many years in an era that some call a “golden age” of sport."(62)

"The Playground Association of America had campaigned and succeeded in bringing community team sports programs and recreational spaces to poor and working-class immigrant children between 1900 and 1920, increasing the number of playgrounds from 87 scattered through 24 cities to 3,940 in 481 cities. Newspaper articles picked up on the popular sentiment that play would better the immigrant and working masses."(65)

Maar mensen van kleur waren daar vanwege de segregatiewetten niet welkom en voor hen werd weinig geregeld. Maar ook daar nam het aantal speeltuinen en sportvelden toe.

"Sports and recreation were seen not only as a pathway to the betterment of the needy among community recreation leaders but also as a means of womanliness and beauty for young and adolescent girls in the programs."(66)

"Very much in line with the beliefs of the Progressive movement, physical sports and recreation were seen as another avenue to self-discipline and goodwill among employees of factories and local companies that employed working-class people."(68)

[Er zitten toch de hele tijd weer motieven op de achtergrond voor morele opvoeding en disciplinering, bij blanken meer dan bij zwarten vermoed ik. Het is dus niet zo raar dat de fatsoensrakkers uit de midden- en hogere klassen weer met bezwaren kwamen, vanuit allerlei waarden en normen over vrouwelijkheid en mannelijkheid. ]

"Despite the apparent popularity of track and field for both white and black girls in the 1920s and 1930s, it was running (and sweating, which made for an unladylike appearance) that quickly became the most contro- versial aspect of the new modern girls’ athleticism. Although female participation in competitive, strenuous sports became increasingly scrutinized by various federations and associations, girls’ track and field arguably suffered the heaviest criticism. Eventually, the participation of teen girls in track and field became a known public crisis that was covered and hardly questioned by the American mass media of the time, and the repercussions of this crisis lasted for many decades. " [mijn nadruk] (69)

"Widespread heteronormative standards mandated that a particular kind of femininity be applied to all women and girls in the era, and it seemed the mass media was eager to police these standards, even among the most elite of female athletes." [mijn nadruk] (71)

"Additionally, the NAAF Women’s Division wished for the public to view male and female participation as distinctly different because of medical concerns that had been circulated by doctors for years. Specifically, they questioned whether strenuous sports like track and field were detrimental to the physical health — and specifically, the ability to reproduce in the future — to girls who were experiencing puberty."(78)

"Further attention to the controversy surrounding girls’ physicality and sports participation was granted by a widely reported medical study commissioned by British reformers that attested that “the girl who takes part in sports does so at the expense of herself and her children,” and that the “Victorian girl made a better mother than the modern athletic woman.”"(79)

Pas in 1928 (Amsterdam) konden er vrouwen meedoen aan de Olympische Spelen. En over die beslissing van het IOC was - ook intern - een hele hoop te doen.

"Official Olympic records actually show all women completing the race and an athlete from Germany winning in record time, but newspaper reports focused on the appearance of the runners and their perceived exhaustion."(81)

"None of the articles about girls’ track and field in the African American press made special note of gender or femininity in its coverage (and in Gibbs’s case, described her in specifically unfeminine terms — “stout little athlete”), offering a sharp contrast with the descriptions of young white female ath- letes in earlier coverage that often noted their beauty. "(84)

" The following passage nicely demonstrates how the work of the NAAF Women’s Division and the media coverage of their views effectively stamped out competitive sports for girls"(85)

"Although teen girls certainly continued to participate in athletics on a less formalized basis in their communities (and girls in rural communities still participated specifically in six-on-six girls’ basketball), the decline in athletic participation and visibility was noticeable. A simple online search for media stories about girls’ track-and-field events from major historical newspapers yields only a few stories between the years of 1931 and 1960, and none of these are private or public junior high or high school teams but rather club teams for young working-class girls or YMCA (and in the later years, YWCA) teams. Not until the 1960s and early 1970s do stories begin to appear again about teen girls who wished to participate in com petitive track and field in school. "(86-87)

Conclusie:

"This chapter demonstrates how a social issue related to gender can so quickly turn from progressive to regressive in a short period in part because of the advocacy of savvy moral entrepreneurs and their coverage by the news media. By drawing attention to American female athletes’ lack of femininity just as these athletes were gaining media attention and popularity, the Women’s Division was able to manufacture a crisis related to both gender and youth that effectively upset the status quo (especially with regard to girls’ potential ability to reproduce). The mass media, primarily through newspaper and periodical coverage of the issue as it was hashed out in “official” meetings of various organizations, legitimized the crisis and created a public narrative about girls’ participation in strenuous sports like running. The coverage also validated the dominant understanding of femininity as in binary opposition to masculinity and associated femininity with weakness and victimhood in the thinking that girl athletes must be prevented (by official organizations, parents, and other cultural authorities) from participating in strenuous sports like running to preserve their ability to have children. Moreover, this narrative reified the patriarchal notion that girls and women were intended to remain in the private, domestic sphere rather than enjoy themselves publicly in a manner that defied feminine gendered norms. "(89)

[Het is opnieuw opvallend dat het voor een groot deel vrouwen zijn die andere vrouwen in een traditionele vrouwenrol willen duwen en de patriarchale kaders van de samenleving accepteren. In de VS in ieder geval, want daar gaat het boek over. ]

(91) Chapter 3 - The Elvis Problem, 1956–1959

"In that postwar period, Americans of all ethnicities and social classes retreated to a suburban life in which the wife and mother’s role of full-time homemaker was viewed as both a representation of a family’s social status and a contrast to communist nations’ championship of women in the workplace."(91)

"This was especially evident in the ever-prevalent discourses about domesticity perpetuated in entertainment television programming. Concurrently, a rise in media attention to youth started in the late World War II years and into the 1950s, emphasizing the rise of a new demographic that could be of great value to marketers and advertisers. "(92)

Het hele idee 'teenager' ontstond en jongeren die zich als zodanig begonnen te gedragen. Een van de oorzaken daarvoor:

"Third, as was seen through the formal adoption of Progressive policy and the establishment of government-supported interest groups, the promotion and protection of children’s welfare (especially poor and working-class children) became socially accepted. Moreover, formal government policies were passed into law to “protect” children (e.g., child labor laws, mandatory schooling laws). Finally, as Ellen Wartella and Sharon Mazzarella point out, children — newly defined as innocent and in need of protection — were meant to be cared for and molded by adults (specifically mothers), and as a result, the sales of child-care advice manuals flourished and parenting experts became regular fixtures in media and society." [mijn nadruk] (92-93)

[Iemand beschermen, 'voor haar eigen bestwil' ongetwijfeld, is zo'n manipulatieve autoritaire strategie ... Die leugenachtige suggestie dat je het niet niet uit eigenbelang, angst, en wantrouwen doet, maar heel lief bent voor een ander ... Geen wonder dat een halve generatie daar tegen in opstand komt.]

"Early teenagers were increasingly viewed as a highly lucrative and influential consumer demographic sought after by a multitude of corporate clients, and teenage consumption of popular culture and products soon became more of an accepted part of American culture.
Even the “rise of the teenager” and visibility of “bobby soxers” was largely constructed through media representation of a particular type of American teenager—the white, middle- and upper-class “subdeb” who was featured prominently in Life magazine throughout the 1940s and 1950s. 15 This new American teen girl provided an example of the dominant hegemonic understanding of what acceptable feminine gender performance entailed: wearing feminine clothing, like full skirts with crinolines; demurring to adults and boys; quietly pursuing a life where she might stay home as a housewife and mother. The image was silently conveyed in those pages of Life and Look. And although postwar prosperity had opened doors to minority and working-class teenagers who began to attend high school and even college, these teenagers were not the ones represented sipping milkshakes and swooning over Frank Sinatra (or their own musical idols) in magazines and newspapers."(94)

"Teenage girls themselves are a site of crisis because of the cultural perception of their innocent sexuality and positionality between childhood and adulthood. As the cultural construction of the teenage girl became more pronounced as a social and marketing category in the 1940s and 1950s, the crisis became all the more articulated through mass media portrayals.
Nash describes the phenomenon in American Sweethearts: “From the moment of their earliest proliferation in the 1930s, representations of teenage girls as heroines of mass-culture comic entertainments rapidly coalesced into a lim- ited range of interpretive options: either the girl was a quasi-angelic creature, praised for her bubbly charm, her obedience to authority, and her chastity, or else she was an exasperating agent of chaos who challenged the boundar- ies and hierarchies of a patriarchally-organized society (one that protects the social, economic, sexual, and political privileges of mature males).” " [mijn nadruk] (94)

[Dat lijkt me de goede formulering.]

" In the 1940s and early 1950s adults preferred to understand teenage girls as both innocent and asexual; Palladino sees this denial of the sexual nature of girls as linked to the same middle-class denial of rock and roll music’s African American origins."(97)

[Lijkt mij ook. ]

Het medialandschap verandert in die jaren met de opkomst van de (commerciële) televisie.

"In her analysis of American television in the 1950s, Karal Ann Marling contends that scholars, cultural critics, and average citizens alike all expressed concern over the dangers of television, especially for young people"(97)

"Marling suggests the combination of Presley’s perceived hypersexuality and television’s perceived ill effects on audiences made his early appearances all the more salacious; with the increase in the masses watching television, worry about Presley’s effect on young people was widespread."(99)

"In addition to a general cultural preoccupation with teens’ susceptibility to juvenile delinquency and promiscuity, Hollywood film in the mid-1950s followed suit and began to portray teenagers’ rebellion and disaffection through such popular movies as Rebel without a Cause. Marling argues that the representation of rebellion through both rock and roll music (and specif- ically Elvis Presley) and these new films were “watersheds through which the teenager became once again, a massive preoccupation for Americans.” "(99)

"Rock and roll music and Elvis Presley in particular presented the mostly Caucasian middle- and upper-class American radio and television audiences with a musical form rooted in southern black culture in a time of racial inequity and segregation."(100)

"Douglas reminds us that the “legacy of the 1950s was that no ‘nice’ girl ever, ever went all the way before marriage, and no nice woman ever really liked sex.” People who were wary of Elvis’s gyrations in concerts and on television worried primarily that teen girls who felt comfortable enough to scream and carry on hysterically in public would also be more apt to stray morally in their private lives. In other words, public articulation of sexuality might also signal private articulation of sexuality, which in the 1950s meant that a girl was promiscuous and ruined for marriage."(109)

"Of all the moral entrepreneurs who fretted about Elvis Presley’s effect on teenage girls, some members of the Christian clergy certainly were most vocal and active in their opposition. The media, from television to newspapers to magazines, covered the stories of both Baptist preachers and Catholic priests who vehemently protested the existence of Presley, both his live appearances and media coverage. "(111-112)

"But the African American press took a different approach in its coverage of Elvis Presley.(...) First, none of the stories disparage (and few even note) the teen girls who screamed about Elvis. "(114)

" In the arguments against teen girls’ adulation of Elvis, it was the middle- and upperclass teen girls who were seemingly losing their minds and virtuousness in public. In this case, it seems that the panic related to class had come true and a force had indeed corrupted daughters of well-heeled families. This intersection of gender and class continues to be prominent in the cases of moral panic in the following two chapters as well. "(119)

(121) Chapter 4 - Punk Rock and a Crisis of Femininity, 1976–1986

"Given the obvious framing of teen girl punks by the news and popular media as deviant, unfeminine, and victims, I argue the genre must be understood through both the ideological lens of gender and resistance to disciplinization more generally."(126)

"American teen girl punks were seen as out of control and, specifically, out of their families’ control. Parents could not get them to dress in a more conforming manner, for example, or adhere to norms of femininity. This criticism can be connected to class markers as well."(127)

De maatschappelijke en politieke achtergrond:

"Although U.S. president Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, was defeated after one term in the White House by Republican Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election, the political and cultural atmosphere of the nation had already started to lean toward conservatism in the late 1970s, particularly with the establishment of the Moral Majority. This political action group, founded by evan- gelical preacher and televangelist Rev. Jerry Falwell in June 1979, began in the South but had extended to eighteen states by 1980. Its primary goal was to support political candidates who believed Christianity and moral law should be intrinsically connected to law and public policy. With a membership in the millions, it became one of the largest conservative lobby groups in the United States, and when it disbanded formally in 1989, it did so with Falwell saying the group had achieved its goals. (Most contemporary Americans would recognize at the beginning of the twenty-first century that the Moral Majority had become the new Christian Right — a movement that some believe was the early spark for the eventual election of evangelical Christian Republican George W. Bush to the presidency in 2000 and 2004.)" [mijn nadruk] (128)

"As was the case in the 1950s, a cultural preoccupation with youth becoming corrupted reemerged in the 1980s. (...) Moreover, the crisis can be linked specifically to the mass media landscape of the 1980s"(138)

"Much as teen girls were represented problematically as members of the punk audience, people of color were not mentioned at all nor were they included in any of the mainstream pop culture portrayals of punks. With the exception of the “wolfpack” articles mentioned previously in the chapter, which sometimes noted that the crowd was mostly black, the race of the troubled youth almost seems presumed to be white." [mijn nadruk] (141)

"As was the case with Elvis, the black press seemed far less panicked over the emergence of the new genre of punk and its effect on young people. Moreover, a common thread in the black press focused on how punk rock was at odds with black culture and not embraced by black youth."(142)

(145) Chapter 5 - Policing Teen Girls Online, 2004–2010

"This chapter focuses on a period of particularly fervent media coverage of girls and the Internet — at the time that social-networking sites, like Facebook and MySpace, first became popular with teenagers.
The period leading up to panic-laden coverage of social-networking sites was a time of rapid technological change. Between 1986 and 2004, the year that provides the starting point for this chapter, the entire media landscape shifted in a way that affected how mass media produced and released content, how teen girls were represented by the mass media in their daily recreation, and ultimately how teen girls could finally represent themselves very easily and cheaply through new media opportunities. The popularization of the Internet caused this massive shift. "(146)

"Adults and authorities had serious worries about the new media at this time, ranging from concern that kids’ use of slang and abbreviations would be detrimental to their everyday use of grammar and language to outright panic that they might use IM to enter an online chatroom where a sexual predator was lurking."(147)

[En dat is in feite nog steeds zo. ]

"Social-networking sites can serve as a space of identity articulation and creativity."(150)

" ... the tools of new media technology have empowered many teen girls to produce and publish their own content. More than ever before, they are able to represent themselves and question the hegemonic representations of femininity and masculinity that persistently followed teen girls throughout media narratives in this book. Even with this unprecedented power shift, though, the mass media narratives sometimes prove to be so strong as to limit the cultural and social power of adolescent girls, particularly as they represent girls using social networks. "(151)

"But this creative, resistant, and occasionally politically active girl online is not the one the media most often portrays. Moreover, teen girls often play part of a hegemonic process that imitates and validates images, often those of a sexualized girl, as she represents herself in a way that is consistent with dominant cultural norms of beauty and fashion.
Most often, contemporary dominant media discourses, particularly those from news media, tend to focus on the Internet as a dangerous space where sexuality runs amok. As many girls themselves will acknowledge, the Internet is an easy place to enact sexuality, and this sexuality may be played out in various ways online, sometimes through relationships with boyfriends or girlfriends and sometimes with an imagined audience. This seemingly new, progressive — and often aggressive — sexuality has been explored in recent literature about adolescent girls as they negotiate identity off-line and online. Girls’ practices of public gender negotiation are consistent with the early new media studies literature that sees the Internet as a space where identities can be constructed, cast off, and reconstructed.
The negotiation taking place also somewhat defies adolescents’ own assertion that they express a more truthful sense of self online than they do in other aspects of their lives. This could mean healthy conversations about sexuality, but it could also mean observing pornography that represents sexuality in a way that is patriarchal and sexist and places the girl as a sexualized object of desire rather than a participant in a healthy sexual relationship. This sexualization has become increasingly rampant in the mass media depiction of younger and younger teen girls, and it has pervaded all aspects of media, including the Internet. Still, while the negotiation of sexual identity is important to how many teen girls use the Internet, it is only one aspect of girls’ use of the online realm.
Mass media audiences in the early twenty-first century might be led to believe that teen girls use the Internet primarily to articulate their sexuality and that they are especially vulnerable as a result. Much like the media coverage of dance halls in the early 1900s, news-gathering and storytelling devices often emphasize their sexuality and potential victimization. And much like in the case of girls and dance halls more than a century earlier, a panic has ensued partly as a result of the large amounts of media coverage devoted to the topic. " [mijn nadruk] (152-153)

[Veel van die verhalen zijn zoals gewoonlijk totaal in strijd met de feiten en jagen alleen maar angst aan. ]

"But there was something powerful in hearing her tell this story in her own words. Perhaps this is because in news stories about older men meeting minors online, teen girl “victims’ ” stories are never told. " [mijn nadruk] (157)

"In other words, these teen girls use MySpace to project sexuality, ultimately leading to sexual predators being better able to track them. This example further reinforces the understanding that posing “provocatively in revealing clothes” will understandably bring “the world’s sickos” to girls’ front doorsteps with the sole purpose of hurting them. Like the Boston Globe article, this newspaper portrayal of MySpace equates sexuality with sexual violence and allows girls to be blamed for their role as victim.
This victimization might also be tied to the lack of agency teen girls have in telling their stories within the mass media. One commonality pervades the coverage of teen girls in public recreational space over the past century in America and that is the way that the stories are told about them rather than including them. The stories primarily quote authorities, experts, and official sources rather than the girls themselves. "(160)

"As in the case of social reformers against dance halls in the early 1900s and the religious conservatives against punk rock in the 1970s and 1980s, moral entrepreneurs still exist in the digital age. Their motives and agendas must continue to be questioned."(169)

"This chapter clearly shows a disconnect between what most girls believe they are doing online and what the media believes they are doing online. Teen girls see digital media as space for making connections, communicating, articulating identity, and creating and distributing their own media — a space for work, relationships, and recreation. But the mass media (even the online media) creates and perpetuates narratives that place teen girls in the role of either victim or vixen — and, problematically, sometimes insinuates that girls’ articulation of sexual identity might be the reason that they are targeted or attacked by sexual predators. "(172)

(173) Afterword

"In one respect, this is still a story of public versus private space, and the belief that girls and women should be relegated to the private, domestic space. Teen girls and young women today are still punished, to a certain extent, for placing themselves in the public eye and allowing themselves to be gazed on by men, even when they are simply out enjoying themselves."(173)

"Moreover, this type of journalism is not simply episodic but almost cyclical in nature, occurring regularly and often appropriating the same kinds of arguments. The panics seem to depend on the same kind of news-gathering and storytelling practices, but also on the fact that audiences will often accept the arguments and feel anxious about what is being presented. Stories about scandal and deviance will likely continue to abound with regard to the Internet because it continues to be a novel technology with new applications being developed every day; young people often will be the first to discover them — a fact that makes most adults all the more nervous. As media consumers, we should question these stories, the sources behind them, and their motives. "(175)

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