Scholarship and Empowerment in the Age of the Video Vixen: Promoting Black Adolescent Females’ Academic Success

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The University of Maryland McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, 2, (2010): 269-286.



Throughout American history, popular culture and some academic disciplines have created limited characterizations of low income, urban, Black adolescent females as hypersexual vixens who are at risk for early sexual activity and low academic achievement. The promulgation of these negative sexual myths may cause Black adolescent females to internalize these myths and perform sexually explicit roles at an early age; consequently increasing their chances of low academic achievement. The purpose of the future ethnographic/self ethnographic study is to explore the ways that cultural framers such as: families (with emphasis on Black mothers) and the media influence Black adolescent females’ motivation to obtain academic success, and resist or accept negative sexual myths. The researcher will use the framing theory and expectancy value theory to explore these relationships. The study will observe Black adolescent females that attend public middle schools in urban areas within the Baltimore/ Washington, D.C metropolitan area. The researcher will consider how racial, gender, and class socialization may frame the adolescents’ life experiences and the methods that they use to construct their identities, value systems, and resistance strategies to combat negative sexual myths.