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"It's not an exam": Popular culture as a mode of comprehensive sex education for youth

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Sex education in American learning institutions has a longstanding history of serving as a space for political ideology over pedagogy, with this lack of inclusive or comprehensive sex education leading young people to seek secondary sources for information on sexual wellness, including popular culture (Albury, 2013; Bale, 2011; Dawson et al., 2020; McKee, 2011)This thesis analyzes two Netflix original series, Big Mouth (Flackett et al., 2017-present) and Sex Education (Nunn et al., 2019-2023) as cultural pedagogies to determine how these texts differ from formal sex education messaging as well as previous representations of teen sexuality on television. Findings suggest that these television series take a more feminist pedagogical approach by emphasizing the importance of community, education for the purpose of empowerment, and encouraging critical thinking about current institutions of power. These series are part of a growing body of teen narratives from streaming platforms and these findings suggest that future work should be conducted to examine the platform affordances of streaming services in entertainment education.
95 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Poyntz, Stuart
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