Considering Age and Gender: A Comparative Content Analysis of Sexualization of Teen Celebrity Websites

By Susan Lewis and Jennifer Shewmaker.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Previous studies have shown that adult female celebrities are more likely to be represented by sexualized images than their adult male celebrity counterparts. Even
minor-aged female musicians are sometimes represented by sexualized imagery. No study has been found specifically regarding the sexualization of young female celebrities or comparing the image sexualization of those teenaged female celebrities with that of minor male celebrities. Grounded in Gerbner’s Cultivation Theory, this qualitative study used content analysis to compare the sexualization of the imagery used to represent
Miley Cyrus with the imagery used to represent the Jonas Brothers. Each of these two Disney-promoted musical acts has had its own television series and multiple hit songs, and Cyrus and Nick Jonas, the youngest member of the Jonas Brothers, are the same age. This study analyzed the photos on each of their official websites and official fan club sites when they were 17 years old. The subjects were analyzed for clothing, gender role and mimicry of pornography, including state of dress, poses, and headline text. Findings suggest that minor celebrities follow the same pattern seen in adult celebrities, in that the female presented sexualized dress and submissive posture as compared to demure dress and assertive posturing on the male website.

Keywords: Gender, Sexualization, Teens, Teenagers, Sexualization of Teenage Celebrities, Sexualization of Male and Female Celebrities, Photos, Sexualized Imagery, Disney, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Nick Jonas, Comparative Content Analysis

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 12, pp.215-224. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 836.721KB).

Dr. Susan Lewis

Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, USA

Dr. Lewis is an associate professor at Abilene Christian University in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is nationally accredited by the ACEJMC. Her research interests are mainly associated with the sociology of the Internet and the pedagogy of mass communication education. She was named Teacher of the Year in 2008 by the Small Programs Interest Group of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. As a faculty member at ACU, Dr. Lewis served as interim department chair for the spring 2007 semester and led the planning and construction of the multimedia news facility, which opened in January 2008. In 2006 the ACU Office of Multicultural Enrichment recognized her as an outstanding mentor of university women. She has led a team of people from across the United States to influence media ownership policies under review by the FCC, including meeting with lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to discuss the issues. She has twice taught a comparative media course designed specifically for American mass communication students who are studying abroad in Europe. Dr. Lewis earned the Ed.D. in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University, and holds a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Abilene Christian University.

Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, USA

Dr. Shewmaker received the Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology in 1996 from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas and the Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 1992 from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. She has been certified nationally and licensed by the state of Texas since 1996/1997 respectively. She has served as an officer and/or board member in professional organizations at both the regional and state level. She has also served as a peer reviewer, external grant reviewer, invited speaker, and mentor at both the state and national levels. Dr. Shewmaker has conducted several independent research programs and presented numerous research papers at peer reviewed conferences at the national and state levels. Dr. Shewmaker is the current director of the School Psychology specialist program at Abilene Christian University, which she has been instrumental in developing and getting nationally approved. As a professor, she puts a special focus on providing undergraduate students with hands on research experience, and her student researchers have won awards at the university, regional, and state levels for their excellence in research.


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