This exploratory study examined the potential of the internet to furnish new forums for girls’ self-expression. Although many scholars concur that girls benefit from access to safe spaces where they feel comfortable expressing themselves, such sites have historically been sparse. The World Wide Web (WWW) now allows those with access and expertise to construct personal home pages to present their thoughts to a geographically removed, anonymous, yet potentially global public. This qualitative study describes adolescent girls’ expression on their web home pages. Three general tones captured the diversity of self-expression on girls’ home pages; these tones were labelled spirited, sombre, and self-conscious. Tones were differentiated by their presentation style, content, and degree of self-disclosure. In addition to extensive description of the girls’ home pages, the web’s potential as a new ‘safe space’ for girls’ self-expression is discussed.
By Susannah R. Stern (1999), in Convergence, 5(4)