Author Q & A

What will parents learn from reading this book?

"Parents will come away with a sense of how the media teens and young adults use – whether TV, movies, music, or social media -- are a part of how they learn about romantic relationships, sex, and how to behave in heterosexual relationships. They will hear how the adolescents and young adults in our study try to make sense of contradictions between messages about sex and relationships in media, and their own values and expectations regarding what it means to be in a relationship.

"Parents will learn what research says about how media influences adolescents’ understanding of heterosexual relationships, dating, and sex. They will also learn about young people’s perceptions of what it means to be masculine or feminine, and how these perceptions reflect relationship behaviors."


 What does “scripting romantic relationships" mean?

 "We chose this phrase for the title of our book because it nicely captures the idea that the scripts portrayed in media about romance, sex, and heterosexual relationships in general inform how adolescents come to develop a “sexual script”. This script includes images, ideas, and attitudes about how to act in romantic and sexual relationships. As adolescents experience new relationships, they draw on their sexual script to know what to expect or how to act out their role in the relationship. For example, adolescents often look to media to find out how to ask someone on a date, when and how to kiss someone, or what sex looks like and how it might play out in their own lives. Our participants generally believed that media, in some part, influenced their attitudes and behaviors about sex and romantic relationships."


Was there anything that surprised you during the process of writing this book?

"Although we were aware that girls and women experience sexual harassment, we were surprised by the depth of experiences girls and young women in our study had. Our female participants talked about experiencing sexual harassment in school and in social networking platforms, and shared with us strategies they used to negotiate or avoid pressure to have sex. Trying to understand the balance between wanted and flattering attention from male peers and attention that crossed a line to harassment was something our participants wrestled with. For some, this line was ambiguous because of the mixed messages they receive from society – and media. "