Commencement: 2006; Graduation 2010.
Girls don’t do wires: an exploration of adolescent girls’ media production
Girls make up 50 percent of all high school students in computer classes yet only account for 17 percent of the computer science placement test-takers (Kearney, 2006). Of those only 13% end up working in the U.S. as computer programmers (EKOS, 2004), part of a nexus of an established patriarchy that supports normative view of a male dominated media culture. This teacher-researcher study explores causes for the low percentage of high school girls continuing on to higher education and/or careers in media production through a qualitative analysis of thirteen high school girls and four boys, drawing in particular on data collected as part of a video production unit in several secondary classrooms. The study makes use of a cultural studies analytic framework that looks at the primary texts (the actual videos produced in the media class), the producer texts (through surveys, questionnaires, journals and interviews with the student producers), and the environmental text (where the videos are produced). An analysis of the films produced indicates a general aptitude in girls using new media to produce film, but an accompanying lack of interest in pursuing careers in media production. A second finding was that there were notable differences in the productions made by girls and boys and evidence indicates girls tended to tell their narrative via interviews, relying on others to tell their story, while the boys were more likely to use simple, plot-driven narratives, primarily meant to amuse. The interest of the girls in this genre suggests a need to focus more on reflexive interviewing practices in school in order to encourage girls in creating reflexive productions (as well as traditional narratives), and in so doing to support and strengthen interest in media production.
Thesis Ph.D. Girls don’t do wires: an exploration of adolescent girls’ media production