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Teenage Pregnancy

How does mass media influence teenage pregnancy?

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    Mass media influences on sexuality - Statistical Data Included

    The media are used as sources of information about sexuality at some times more than others. One qualitative study found three patterns of sexual media use among early adolescent girls (11-15 years old) that suggested that sexual portrayals in the media were attended to more when girls were interested personally in learning about relationship norms, strategies for establishing relationships, and tips on how to get sexually attractive. Some girls still found depictions of sex in the media (e.g., nudity in advertisements) "gross" and "disgusting," while other girls had papered their walls with images of media models they lusted after or aspired to be. Still other girls, typically those who had been involved in sexual relationships, were less enamored with the mainstream media's sexual fantasy and had turned to "oppositional" media (e.g., fringe music groups, teen-produced magazines, aka 'zines) that spoke more to the kinds of relationships they wanted (Brown, White, & Nikopoulou, 1993).

    We know that patterns of media use differ dramatically by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic level. Girls and women typically choose softer music, and more relationship-oriented television programs, movies, and magazines, while boys and men prefer more action and activity-oriented media and sports programming, heavier rock and rap music, action and adventure movies, music, and sports magazines. African Americans typically view more television than Whites, prefer television programming and movies that feature Black characters, and listen to different genres of music (Roberts, 2000; Roe, 1998). Thus, it is important to consider the media's effects on sexuality within subgroups: All people will not be seeing the same set of sexual messages--some will see much more than others, some will be seeking out the sexual content, some will try not to be exposed to it.

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