Amanda Todd suicide: How can we blame sexism instead of the internet?

Aimée Morrison has a thoughtful piece up at Hook and Eye on Amanda Todd’s suicide.

But the internet isn’t really the problem. “Bullying” isn’t really the problem. The problem is systemic, pervasive, all-encompassing sexism, and the stifling of female power, the rigid policing of female identity.

She also observes that the ways that we tend to talk about bullying is in sex- and gender-neutral terms. Focusing exclusively on how bullying takes on new mediated forms is troubling because it erases how bullying is located in larger contexts and systems of power and privilege. 

Are there anti-bullying programs that explicitly address race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, and other systems of inequality? What do (and could) they look like?

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Girlhood Studies conference at McGill, Oct 10-12 2012

I’ll be presenting a paper next week at the Girlhood Studies conference at McGill. The schedule of presentations looks amazing!

Here’s what I’m planning to talk  about:

Major reports on the sexualization of girls have been released in recent years in the US, UK, and Australia, and a ever-growing popular literature raises concerns about the impact of sexual media on young female audiences. Though this responds to a range of serious and legitimate anxieties, scholars including Feona Attwood, Danielle Egan, Gail Hawkes, and Clarissa Smith caution that the discourses about the sexualization of girls tend to construct girls as passive media consumers and collapse a variety of representations and behaviors as troubling evidence of sexualization. Using the recent panic about sexting as a case study, I examine how discourses about sexualization often criminalize and pathologize adolescent girls’ sexual self-expression. I ask: How can feminist girls’ studies scholars rethink girls’ sexual agency in ways that address the concerns about sexualization without disregarding the potential pleasures of mediated sexuality?