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Teenage Girls’ Experiences of Slut-Shaming Through the Social Network Site, Facebook

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education book series (GED)

Abstract

Social networking sites (SNSs) provide opportunities for teenage girls to explore sexuality. This exploration can be exciting and invoke pleasure but it can also be damaging as the online encounters can produce unequal gender relations. This chapter examines teenage girls’ experiences of slut-shaming on Facebook. It draws on findings from a qualitative study with 30 teenage girls. Data was generated using a blended approach, which comprised a mix of face-to-face interviews and a virtual group discussion on a closed Facebook group. The findings show that girls’ sexualized engagement with Facebook challenges normative expectations of femininity. In exploring sexuality online girls seek popularity, status and privilege as a validation of heterosexual femininity. However, gendered oppression is manifest when they are criticised and shamed for their sexy portrayals resulting in online gendered attacks. Such inequalities show continuities between online and offline spaces. We argue that girls’ experiences of slut-shaming, is produced by the gender dynamics of the peer group and aggravated by broader gendered norms which position girls’ online sexualized activities as open to shaming. Schools have a key role to play in addressing girls’ subordination in online activities.

Keywords

  • Teenage girls
  • Social networking
  • Slut-shaming
  • Cyber violence

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-69988-8_8
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Correspondence to Shakila Singh .

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Naicker, P., Singh, S. (2021). Teenage Girls’ Experiences of Slut-Shaming Through the Social Network Site, Facebook. In: Bhana, D., Singh, S., Msibi, T. (eds) Gender, Sexuality and Violence in South African Educational Spaces. Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-69988-8_8

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