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?