Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2022

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Evans

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennie Burnet

Third Advisor

Dr. Wendy Simonds

Abstract

Public debates on youth sexuality, sex education, and reproductive rights are forever changing. Social media outlets are important knowledge spaces for teens to learn, share, and seek information regarding these topics. Using feminist content analysis, I explore how eight issues of Seventeen magazine construct and uphold conservative fears of teen sexuality. With the application of Michelle Fine’s four discourses of female sexuality, found in public-school sex education, (sexuality as individual morality, sexuality as victimization, sexuality as violence, and the missing discourse of desire) I seek to address how Seventeen constructs its target audience as a cis-gendered, heterosexual, teen girl who lives without sexual desire or the need for medically accurate sex education or reproductive health services. With the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade, this study seeks to acknowledge how public discourses of sex, sexuality, and reproductive health directly impact how youth view their individual bodily autonomy or lack thereof.

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