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‘I don’t wanna be anything other than me’: A case study on gender representations of teenagers in American teen drama series One Tree Hill

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Economic and demographic trends have turned young people into a target audience, and media producers and the marketing industry have realized that the contemporary teenage market has substantial potential. Television is still the most popular medium among teenagers; along with web surfing and social networking, television is part of teens’ daily media use. Media content is essential in teenagers’ self-representation: fictional media programmes produce commodified meanings, and models of behaviour and information about norms and values are repetitively delivered by attractive characters in the form of entertainment. This article gives an overview of the gender representations of teenagers in the American teen series by Schwahn One Tree Hill (2003–2012) by using a qualitative thematic textual analysis. We can say that the series revolves around a male-oriented world in which basketball is the main topic. Teen subcultures are often portrayed in a prototypical manner and traditional discourses of masculinity and femininity are often rein-forced. A more liberal stance was noted regarding (female) sexuality.

Keywords: gender stereotypes; representations; sexuality; teen series; teenagers

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/iscc.2.1.17_1

Affiliations: Ghent University

Publication date: May 9, 2012

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