What about the boys?: Sexualization, media and masculinities

Sara Bragg

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


This chapter opens with some common but contradictory sets of responses to the issue of boys and sexualisation: one suggesting that we don’t need to worry about them, the other that we do need to worry about them, but in a very different way from how we worry about girls. It then explores the models of culture, media influence, learning, agency and social change that underpin these responses. It contrasts these with feminist film and cultural studies’ theorisations, which take popular culture seriously, emphasise the indeterminacy of meaning, the multiple functions of fantasy genres, and the fluidity of audience identifications. These perspectives shed a different light on gendered viewers’ investments in sexualised media and on questions of agency and social change. The chapter concludes by suggesting that engaging with social theories of practice may serve us better in advancing the feminist politics of the sexualisation debate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildren, Sexuality and Sexualisation
EditorsE. Renold, J. Ringrose, D. Egan
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781137353382
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

Sara Bragg, What about the boys?: Sexualization, media and masculinities, 2015, Palgrave Macmillan, reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here: http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/children-sexuality-and-sexualization-emma-renold/?isb=9781137353382.


  • masculinities
  • gender
  • sexualisation
  • media
  • feminism
  • cultural studies


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