Media ‘Sluts’: ‘Tween’ Girls’ Negotiations of Postfeminist Sexual Subjectivities in Popular Culture

  • Sue Jackson
  • Tiina Vares


In recent years ‘tween’1 girls in Anglo-American societies have emerged from relative obscurity to become the focus of public and academic scrutiny. The gaze directed at them is a particularized and often anxious one, grounded in notions that these girls might be growing up too fast, more specifically that they are precociously sexualized. Concerns about ‘tween’ girls’ sexualization have largely made their way into the media and public domains through a growing collection of popular culture texts such as The Lolita Effect (Durham, 2008), What’s Happening to Our Girls (Hamilton, 2007) and So Sexy So Soon (Levy and Kilbourne, 2008) as well as through various reports (e.g. APA Task Force Report on the Sexualisation of Girls, Corporate Paedophilia). However unintentionally, these texts strike an alarmist chord that produces all girls as ‘in trouble’ and create a flurry of media response. Somewhat paradoxically, as Gill (2007) points out, media generate concerns and perhaps revive moral panics about girls’ sexuality while also being cast as the source of girls’ assumed premature sexualization.


Popular Culture Music Video Moral Panic Clothing Style Good Girl 
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© Sue Jackson and Tiina Vares 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sue Jackson
  • Tiina Vares

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