Sexualization happens when agency is taken away from the individual being sexualized, where one is seen, depicted, and treated like a sexual object rather than a person. This thesis aims to explore celebrities' reactions to their own public sexualization. To do this, an inductive approach was used when analyzing first-person narratives (written and video) and interviews (podcast, magazine and newspaper) by those whose sexualization is a notable feature of their career in the United States. I used a nonprobability sampling technique in order to cast a wide net to find the sample (prior knowledge, Google searches, and Google alerts). This thesis explores the common reactions, emotions, and perceptions of young women and nonbinary people in the entertainment industry. The sample included, Lori Mattix, Brooke Shields, Soleil Moon Frye, Tami Stronach, Mara Wilson, Natalie Portman, Thandiwe Newton, Ariel Winter, Mischa Barton, Rivkah Reyes, Sophia Bush, Vanessa Hudgens, Emily Ratajkowski, Megan Fox, Taylor Momsen, Zendaya, Billie Eilish, and Millie Bobby Brown. My analysis yielded three main themes: Celebrity Culture, The Good Girl/Bad Girl Dichotomy, and The Perfect Victim Narrative. The celebrity culture theme shows a lack of privacy for these young entertainers. This theme also discusses how various institutions (the media, the public, parental figures, and powerful men) ignore, participate in, or lack enough power to dismantle the sexualization entertainers face. The good girl/bad girl dichotomy creates very narrow and toxic ideas of appropriate gender and sexuality expression. Lastly, the perfect victim narrative shows how victims must fit a specific narrative of what a victim looks and acts like to be "believed." My analysis found there is an intense pressure put on young entertainers (primarily female) to conform to be aesthetically consistent with their branding and to be authentic.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Williams, Alexis, "The Narratives of Sexulization: The Perspectives of Young Entertainers Around Their Own Public Sexulizaiton" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1696.
Restricted to the UCF community until 5-15-2024; it will then be open access.