Teenaged Female Sexuality in American Film, 1980 - 2010

Summer 2016

Sally Littlefield : American Studies

Mentor: Christine Palmer

My summer research seeks to understand how American culture conceives of adolescent female sexuality through analyzing popular film. Looking at American teen films from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, I will explore when, how, and by whom it is considered acceptable or problematic for teenaged women to engage with their sexuality. Once I've conducted a thorough film analysis, I'll be able to explore what effects these cultural beliefs have on teenaged girls through collecting oral histories of young women in the fall. My finished project will tie these two pieces together, looking to uncover the relationship between our culture's perceptions of teenaged girls and American teenaged girls' perceptions of themselves, their bodies, and their sexualities.

To the Anselm Foundation, I would like to say thank you for the opportunity to pursue this research. Without this grant, I wouldn't be able to include both a film analysis and an interview component in my senior thesis. The fact that I have an entire summer to develop my ideas and deepen my research puts me in really good shape for applying to graduate school. I'm so grateful that I have this grant to launch my career as an academic.