Personal Problems and Women’s Issues: Episodic Sexual Violence Narratives in US Teen Drama Series



Berridge S (2011) Personal Problems and Women’s Issues: Episodic Sexual Violence Narratives in US Teen Drama Series. Feminist Media Studies, 11 (4), pp. 467 - 481.

Teen television drama series are centrally concerned with issues of sexuality as teenage characters gradually mature. Their sexual maturation is key in marking their transition from childhood to adulthood and the genre often emphasises significant moments in this development, such as first kisses, dates and/or sexual experiences. Within the genre's sexual culture, representations of sexual violence are common, yet have remained widely neglected by both teen and feminist television criticism. This article addresses this neglect by examining the kinds of stories about sexual violence that emerge in this genre. I argue that a fuller understanding of these narratives is offered by situating them in relation to series' and generic frameworks more broadly, rather than analysing them in isolation. Specifically, I will explore episodic sexual violence narratives in US programmes between 1990 and 2008, outlining developments in these representations over time. The article begins by mapping where these episodes occur within broader series' structures. This provides the context for a deeper analysis of how sexual violence functions both narratively and ideologically across these programmes.

television; feminism; teen; sexuality; sexual violence

Feminist Media Studies: Volume 11, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/2011
Publication date online11/04/2011
PublisherTaylor and Francis

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Dr Susan Berridge

Dr Susan Berridge

Senior Lecturer, Communications, Media and Culture