The Teenage Latina Genius on Television: Netflix’s Ashley Garcia

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Feminist scholarship, Latina girl, media studies, qualitative methods, television

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This article examines a recent mediated version of Latina girlhood, the teenage science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) genius, through an analysis of a Netflix original series: Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love (2020). The series offers a representation of girlhood that does not fully align with either the “at-risk” or the “can-do” girls that have appeared previously on television. By conducting a qualitative analysis that highlights key episodes, we interrogate the layered representation of Latina girlhood offered in the show, focusing on two aspects: how the title character, Ashley, appears as a particular embodiment of a contemporary Latina teenager, and how she is narratively positioned in the story line. Our findings suggest that the series showcases a complex albeit ambiguous and ambivalent representation of Latina girlhood. This portrayal is exaggerated and fantastic and ultimately falls back on common tropes found in teen-oriented television.

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Women's Studies in Communication, DOI: 10.1080/07491409.2022.2147676