Dr Melanie Kennedy

Lecturer in Media and Communication

Director of Learning and Teaching

Dr Melanie Kennedy

Office: 2.03 Bankfield House

Tel: +44 (0)116 223 1624

Email: mjk29@le.ac.uk


Office hours

My weekly feedback and support hour in Semester 2 is every Wednesday 10:30-11:30am. These will be held virtually on Teams. Simply drop in by following the link below:

Wednesdays 10:30-11:30am

These weekly office hours will run until the end of the semester (the final drop-in hour will be on Wednesday 31 March 2021). For appointments outside of these times, simply get in touch with me by email.


Personal details

BA Film and Television Studies (First Class Honours, 2008), University of East Anglia

MA Film Studies (Distinction, 2010), University of East Anglia

PhD, thesis title: Bratz, BFFs, Princesses and Popstars: Femininity and Celebrity in Tween Popular Culture (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2013), University of East Anglia


I joined the School of Media, Communication and Sociology as Lecturer in Media and Communication in 2016. Prior to that I worked at the University of Leeds, London Metropolitan University and University of East Anglia. From 2016-17 to 2018-19 I was the Programme Director for the BA Media and Communication, BA Media and Society, and Media Major and Minor programmes. I currently lead the Youth, Work and Transition Research Cluster, and co-convene the Media and Gender Research Group which has members across the UK and internationally.

I am an Associate Editor for the Routledge journal Feminist Media Studies, and am on the editorial board for the Routledge journal Celebrity Studies, for which I was previously the Book Reviews Editor.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.





I am Module Leader for the following modules:

  • MS1011 Media Origins
  • MS3009 The Media, Celebrity and Fan Culture

I also contribute to several other undergraduate and postgraduate modules, and supervise both undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations.



Books, journal articles and book chapters:

Kennedy, M. (2020). 'If the rise of the TikTok dance and e-girl aesthetic has taught us anything, it's that teenage girls rule the internet right now': TikTok celebrity, girls and the Coronavirus crisis. European Journal of Cultural Studies 23(6), pp.1069-1076.

Kennedy, M. (2020). Spectacular virgins: Purity porn and the making uncanny of the white wedding. In: Kay, J.B., Kennedy, M. and Wood, H. (eds.) The Wedding Spectacle Across Contemporary Media and Culture: Something Old, Something New. Oxon: Routledge, pp.155-169.

Kay, J.B., Kennedy, M. and Wood, H. (eds.) (2020). The Wedding Spectacle Across Contemporary Media and Culture: Something Old, Something New. Oxon: Routledge.

Kay, J.B., Kennedy, M. and Wood, H. (2020). Something old, something new: The gender politics of the wedding spectacle. In: Kay, J.B., Kennedy, M. and Wood, H. (eds.) The Wedding Spectacle Across Contemporary Media and Culture: Something Old, Something New. Oxon: Routledge, pp.1-19.

Kennedy, M. (2019). Tweenhood: Femininity and Celebrity in Tween Popular Culture. London: I.B. Tauris.

Kennedy, M. (2018). 'Come on, […] let’s go find your inner princess': (post-)feminist generationalism in tween fairy talesFeminist Media Studies 18(3), 424-439.

Kennedy, M. and Coulter, N. (2018). Locating Tween Girls. Girlhood Studies 11(1), 1-7.

Kennedy, M. (2017). 'Miley Cyrus and the Murder’ of Hannah Montana: Authenticity and Young Female Celebrity. In: O’Connor, J. and Mercer, J. (eds.) Childhood and Celebrity. London: Routledge, pp. 82-98.

Kennedy, M. (2014). Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: ‘Becoming’ a Woman, ‘Becoming’ a StarCelebrity Studies (5)3, 225-241.

Kennedy, M. (2012). Girlhood in Popular Culture: An IntroductionNetworking Knowledge (5)1, 1-4.


Other publications:

Kennedy, M. (2020). Celebrity and tween identities for girls. Sociology Review 29(3), 2-6

Kay, J.B. and Kennedy, M. (2019). What ‘Coleen Rooney vs Rebekah Vardy’ tells us about contemporary gender politics. The Conversation, 11 October. Available at: https://theconversation.com/what-coleen-rooney-vs-rebekah-vardy-tells-us-about-contemporary-gender-politics-125166 (Accessed: 19 May 2020).

Kennedy, M. (2016). WAGs are just fodder for the Tabloid slurs. Leicester Mercury, 2 June, p.15.

Kennedy, M. (2015). Book review: Ageing, Popular Culture and Contemporary Feminism: Harleys and HormonesFeminist Media Studies 15(6), 1062-1064.

Kennedy, M. (2011). Book review: 'Fame' by Mark Rowlands, 'American Idolatry' by Christopher E. Bell, and 'Makeover TV' by Brenda R. Weber. Scope 21, 46-53.



My research is rooted in feminist media and cultural studies, with interests in: popular film and television; celebrity culture; girls and girlhood; youth media and culture; postfeminism; tweens and tweenhood; feminist theory; gender; representation and identity.

I examine media representations of gendered, age-defined, classed, sexualised, raced identities (in particular tweens, young female celebrities, teenage mothers, and girls in the purity movement), and the popular culture that addresses these subjects.

My monograph Tweenhood (2019) examines contemporary mainstream pre-adolescent girls’ films, television programmes, celebrities and surrounding media, including “princess” narratives The Prince & Me (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010) and A Cinderella Story (2004, 2008, 2011), and Disney Channel programming and films Hannah Montana (2006-2011) and Camp Rock (2008, 2010). Forging a dialogue between postfeminism, film and television, celebrity, and the figure of the tween, this research analyses how the tween is both constructed and addressed by these media texts, highlighting the centrality of femininity and celebrity within tween popular culture.

I have a continued interest in the representation and labour of young female celebrity, questions of feminism in postfeminist and neoliberal contexts, and cultural constructions of young femininity in transitional moments in girlhood.

Listen to my recent reflections on the field of celebrity studies for the Routledge journal Celebrity Studies.

Watch my recent response to Angela McRobbie's latest book Feminism and the Politics of Resilience (Polity, 2020) during a panel discussion with Angela McRobbie, Kim Allen, Hannah Hamad and Catherine Rottenberg.

I am currently focused on two strands of research. One is the representation and labour of young pregnancy and young motherhood celebrity in reality TV and celebrity culture, in particular in the MTV franchise Teen Mom. The other is the construction of young femininity, sexuality and father-daughter relationships in the mediated Evangelical Christian purity movement.



I am currently supervising PhD students researching topics including tween audiences’ reception of Disney Princesses; representation and reception of tattooed identities on reality TV and in tattoo subcultures; child audiences’ reception of popular television and their construction of national identity; and the representation of young female celebrities’ feminist identities.

I welcome enquiries from prospective students interested in carrying out doctoral research across my research interests and expertise listed above.

Find out more about applying for a PhD in the School of Media, Communication and Sociology here.

Share this page:

Contact Details

School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Campus based courses
E: mcs-enquiries@le.ac.uk
T: +44(0)116 252 3863

Distance Learning Courses
E: css-dl@le.ac.uk
T: 0116 252 3755

Research degrees (campus-based and distance learning courses)
T: +44(0)116 252 2785
E: MCS-Research@le.ac.uk

University of Leicester
Bankfield House
132 New Walk
United Kingdom

University of Leicester
107-111 Princess Road East
United Kingdom

Student complaints procedure


AccessAble logo

The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for Bankfield House.