Sexting, Ratings and (Mis)Recognition: Teen Boys Performing Classed and Racialized Masculinities in Digitally Networked Publics

Laura Harvey, Jessica Ringrose

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


This chapter responds to the construction of teen boys and masculinity as predatory and hypersexualized in implicitly classed and racialized ways in the popular press and reporting on ‘sexting’ (Karaian, 2013). We argue that the practices of sexual communication that are often mobilized in debates about ‘sexting’ need to be understood as part of wider social practices of identity formation that work in relation to local norms of gender, race and class and wider popular cultural representations of ideal masculinities (e.g. pop music, advertising). We examine these practices in our empirical data, which explores young people’s negotiation of digital sexual cultures and new economies of self-representation on social networking platforms. While the young people in our study did not use the term ‘sexting’, our research found a range of different communication practices that could fall under this umbrella term (see Ringrose et al., 2012). In this chapter we examine the production, circulation, tagging and commenting upon images via Blackberry Messenger (BBM) and Facebook by working with and building on Paechter’s (2010) notion of culturally specific ideals of masculinity(ies), Skegg’s (2001, 2004) analysis of value and recognition, and Butler’s (1993) framework on performativity. Drawing these tools together we explore how teen boys develop practices of sexualized, raced and classed recognition through performances of masculinities via digital display and commenting online.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildren, Sexuality and Sexualization
EditorsE. Renold, J. Ringrose, R.D. Egan
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781349555819
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2015


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