'My life 20 years from now': The role of media and gender in village teenagers’ future visions – book chapter

This topic is covered in Ardis Storm-Mathisen’s book chapter ‘'Gender representations and identity constructions among young teenagers in Botswana  - exploring the influence of media' published in: D. Lemish and M. Gotz, Eds (2017).: Beyond the Stereotypes? Images of Boys and Girls, and their consequences. Nordicom, p. 173-181.  Your can read the chapter here and the full book here.


In this chapter, drawing on a wide fan of data from a recent fieldwork, I explore the role of media to the cultivation of gender among youth in Botswana. Gender representations and media have undergone dramatic changes in this setting, yet in uneven ways which produce a diverse landscape of many indirect relations. To explore the relative impact of media to prevailing gender images among young Batswana essays written by village teenagers on the topic “My life 20 years from now” are used as a case. I first depict how the teenagers write about themselves and their envisioned future pointing to three main patterns of gender representations in use.  Then, to explore the relative influence of gender representations in media to the identities constructed, I move on to discuss the extent to which the representational resources used by these teenagers can be traced to media or other sources. By highlighting gender in its intersectional reality, I seek to show the richness, variety and unpredictability of gender – and media - as factors in Africa's changing face.