Getting Played

African American Girls, Urban Inequality, and Gendered Violence

312 pages

March, 2008

ISBN: 9780814756980

$26

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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.

All books by Jody Miller

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.

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

  • Getting Played shows powerfully how gender, class, and race inequality expose girls in disadvantaged urban communities to violent and sexual victimization, both in neighborhoods and in schools. Miller expertly analyzes how extreme social and economic disadvantage combine with pervasive normative codes to create a context in which girls face high risks of victimization at the hands of boys and men. Getting Played is masterful.”

    —Karen Heimer, co-editor of Gender and Crime: Patterns in Victimization and Offending

  • “By giving us a better understanding of how the neighborhoods and the peer culture of poor African American youth increase the risk of gendered victimization, Getting Played challenges both academics and policymakers to face the role of structured discrimination in the perpetuation of violence toward women.”

    —Candace Kruttschnitt, co-author of Marking Time in the Golden State: Women's Imprisonment in California

  • “This is a significant and timely book. Miller has taken on a vitally important, but understudied, topic—violence against young Black girls in economically depressed urban settings.”

    —Dana M. Britton, author of At Work in the Iron Cage: The Prison as Gendered Organization

  • “Miller grabs readers’ attention with the stark reality of the widespread occurrence of violent victimization among the girls she studies.”

    —From the Foreword by Ruth D. Peterson, Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, The Ohio State University

  • “In Getting Played, sociologist Jody Miller presents a compelling picture of this dire social problem and explains how inextricably and tragically, linked violence is to their daily lives in poor urban neighborhoods.”

    —Harlem Book Fair

  • “It offers an in-depth examination of how class, race, gender, and educational inequalities place young African American girls in positions of powerlessness as they navigate an urban terrain that glorifies patriarchy and machismo. Getting Played is an eye-opening, emotional roller coaster that will capture your attention and heart from the first page.”

    The Journal of African American History