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Getting Played: African American Girls, Urban Inequality, and Gendered Violence [Paperback]

by Jody Miller
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1, 2008 0814756980 978-0814756980 First Printing

2010 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the American Sociological Association; Race, Gender, and Class Section

2008 Finalist, The Society for the Study of Social Problems C. Wright Mills Award

Much has been written about the challenges that face urban African American young men, but less is said about the harsh realities for African American young women in disadvantaged communities. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, and even gang rape are not uncommon experiences. In Getting Played, sociologist Jody Miller presents a compelling picture of this dire social problem and explores how inextricably, and tragically, linked violence is to their daily lives in poor urban neighborhoods.

Drawing from richly textured interviews with adolescent girls and boys, Miller brings a keen eye to the troubling realities of a world infused with danger and gender-based violence. These girls are isolated, ignored, and often victimized by those considered family and friends. Community institutions such as the police and schools that are meant to protect them often turn a blind eye, leaving girls to fend for themselves. Miller draws a vivid picture of the race and gender inequalities that harm these communities—and how these result in deeply and dangerously engrained beliefs about gender that teach youths to see such violence—rather than the result of broader social inequalities—as deserved due to individual girls' flawed characters, i.e., she deserved it.

Through Miller's careful analysis of these engaging, often unsettling stories, Getting Played shows us not only how these young women are victimized, but how, despite vastly inadequate social support and opportunities, they struggle to navigate this dangerous terrain.

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Getting Played: African American Girls, Urban Inequality, and Gendered Violence + American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation's Drive to End Welfare
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Editorial Reviews


“Miller’s analysis is spot-on and sensitive, illuminating the oft overseen effects and workings of privilege . . . she does a great job at showing how large societal forces have very real, individual, and private consequences.”
-Feminist Review


“In Getting Played, sociologist Jody Miller presents a compelling picture of this dire social problem and explores how inextricably, and tragically, linked violence is to their daily lives in poor urban neighborhoods.”
-QBR,The Black Book Review

“The result of Miller’s information lode is a sometimes uplifting book. It is possible for government and private-sector programs to alleviate the violence against females, Miller believes—but not if those in charge lack the will and refuse to allocate the resources.”
-St. Louis Post Dispatch


“Miller’s analysis is spot-on and sensitive, illuminating the oft overseen effects and workings of privilege.”
-Feminist Review


“Miller gives us a detailed examination of the violence experienced by Black inner city girls whose victimization is based on multiple dimensions of their lives: because they are Black, because they live in extremely disadvantaged neighborhoods, and because they are women. Miller’s careful, rich, detailed field work documents and analyzes the complex realities of these young women’s lives that set the context for the struggles they routinely contend with. The voices of these young people have been ignored for too long. Getting Played has given them an opportunity to be heard that is long overdue.”
-Robert Crutchfield,University of Washington

About the Author

Jody Miller is Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri, St. Louis. She is the author of One of the Guys: Girls, Gangs, and Gender and recipient of the 2001 Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press; First Printing edition (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814756980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814756980
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting Played July 21, 2009
Jody Miller, an Associate Professor at the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, set out to provide an analysis of violence against young women in urban communities. Her study considers the perspectives of the youth on violence and gender and documents, in gripping and often harrowing detail, the circumstances and patterns of behaviors. It also attempts to analyze the ideas that both young girls and boys use to explain their behavior.

Getting Played is a carefully crafted study that used multiple methodologies and a comparative research design. The study collected data from various sources: in-depth interviews with young African Americans in disadvantaged St. Louis neighborhoods, surveys with these youths, and supplemental information on the characteristics of the neighborhoods.

The study is comparative in two ways: First, the study interviewed both young women and young men about their perceptions of and exposure to violence against young women. Interviews with females and males allow for gender based comparisons, which provided an opportunity to examine similarities and differences across gender in the respondents' ideologies about gender and their interpretations of incidents of violence against women.

Second, the study included both female and male youths, who were engaged in ongoing serious delinquency as well as youths from the same communities who were not.

Miller studied African American youths because she wanted to fill a vacuum in the literature that tends to overlook adolescent girls (young African American women in particular), especially those living in highly distressed urban neighborhoods.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good October 8, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Had to get this book for a graduate class. It was an easy read. Probably wouldn't read it on my own time, but it served its purpose.
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