Original document was submitted as an honors thesis requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

Document Type



This thesis explores the cooptation of authentic girl power by mainstream media designed to sell normative sexuality, consumption practices and a pseudo empowered self. It explores the sexualization of girls in the media and girls’ educational and community engagement with media in the context of empowerment. From an expansive feminist and girls’ studies foundation this project seeks to emphasize the importance of media literacy for girls and aims to address the gap in feminist scholarship on media literacy and educational programming for girls’ empowerment. The thesis examines and connects women’s studies literatures, Rosalind Gills’ Midriff Theory and Gigi Durham’s notion of the Lolita Effect, to ultimately contribute to the feminist legacy of blending theory with practice; the synthesized findings of this project offer a developed curriculum for girl-centered organizations on media literacy and empowerment.