Journal of Catalan Studies vol:2 issue:1 pages:77-92
In the last few years, research focusing on the representation of youth and sexuality in the media has gained momentum (e.g. Mazzarella, 2007). The sexual content in programmes can sometimes be characterised as hypersexual; according to Jacobson (2005) we find such a ‘hypersexual’ representation in two-thirds of the television programmes. It is not only that the media offers teenagers more sexual content than previously; it is also that nature of the content itself has changed. Sexual acts are more explicitly depicted or referenced, the represented youngsters have their first sexual contact at an earlier age and sexuality is no longer exclusively part of a committed relationship. We live in a mediated reality, therefore it is necessary to study the content of contemporary media programmes, directed at teenagers. This paper examines the represented gender scripts in two popular American teen series (One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl) by using a qualitative textual film analysis (Bordwell & Thompson, 1993). Specifically, it focuses on the relation of gender with sexuality. Several stereotypical gender scripts are revealed, although more positive and emancipative discourses are found as well. A tendency to ‘casualise’ sexuality is noticed, leading to the possibility that it is time to reconsider sexual licence in the 21st century as part of youth-as-fun instead of youth-as-trouble (Hebdige, 1979).