Adolescent girls’ interpretation of sexuality found in media image

Kara K W Chan, Yu Leung Ng, Russell B. Williams

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Sexuality among females in Hong Kong is influenced both by the Chinese cultural trait of conservatism and the western cultural trait of active agency. The current study examines adolescent girls’ negotiation of their sexuality through consumption of female images in media. A qualitative study was conducted. Twenty adolescent girls aged 15 to 18 in Hong Kong were asked to take pictures from the media they consumed that could illustrate “what girls or women should or should not be; and what girls or women should or should not do”. Interviewees’ responses to sexuality issues were examined. Analysis of interviews and images captured found six dominant themes on sexuality, including (1) defining and evaluating sexiness, (2) intimate relationship, (3) marriage, (4) pregnancy, (5) deviant sexual relationship, and (6) health concerns for women. Interviewees showed clear and vivid distinction between “good” and “bad” sexiness. Glamorous presentation of female bodies was glorified, while revealing the female body solely to attract male attention or in the wrong context was scorned. Most of the interviewees expressed aspirations for romantic heterosexual relationships, and professed the desire to be wives and mothers. Being single and child-free was not registered as a dominant way of defining respondents as females. Adolescent girls’ perception of sexuality embraced traditional as well as modern values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-81
Number of pages19
JournalIntercultural Communication Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

User-Defined Keywords

  • media consumption
  • socialization
  • qualitative method
  • auto-videography
  • adolescents


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