Being a girl: How young girls respond to social messages
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The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the research question: How does the application of response-based practice theory to the responses of female identifying youth inform professionals who support them? Four female identifying youth aged 12 to 13 completed an open-ended questionnaire that invited them to report the social messages they receive about female gender stereotypes, together with how they respond to these messages. A thematic analysis was used to analyze and group both the social messages the participants receive and their responses to these messages. The latent themes identified about the social messages the youth receive include subordination, strength, beauty, body appearance, and behaviour. The semantic subthemes identified about the social messages the youth receive include, need, not, and be. The latent themes identified about how participants respond to social messages include expose, withstand, repel, abstain, and approve. The findings indicate the youth are active responders, who employ a variety of actions to resist the social messages they perceive as unjust. A discussion of the findings brings attention to the significance of using a response-based practice lens to understand the influence of social messages, and the myriad ways youth can respond to these messages. Implications for supporting youth who are navigating social messages of gendered expectations are presented.