eGirls is looking for paper abstract submissions from graduate students in law and legal studies who wish to be accepted for inclusion in an upcoming two day workshop and public conference, taking place March 27/28, 2014 at the University of Ottawa. Successful applicants will present their paper during day one of the workshop, each be eligible for up to $1,000 to assist with travel expenses, and are invited to attend the public conference on day two free of charge. Exceptional papers may also be selected for inclusion in an edited book volume to be published following the event:
eGirls, eCitizens: Putting Theory, Policy & Education into Dialogue
with the Voices of Girls and Young Women
Congratulations to eGirls researchers Jane Bailey and Jacquelyn Burkell for their great panel presentation at the “Equality Runs Through It: Group-Based Identity Implications of Bullying and Sexting Discourses” Law and Society Association meeting in Boston on 01 June. You can view the slides from their presentation here!
eGirls researcher extraordinaire Jane Bailey will be featured tonight on a panel organized by the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women. The panel will follow a screening of the documentary Sexy Inc., which looks at the sexualization of Canadian girls. Admission is free, but seating is limited!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 – 18:00 to 20:00
Gallerie SAW Gallery (67 Nicholas St., Ottawa, ON.)
For more information, follow this link!
On Friday May 3, 2013, Professor Jane Bailey spoke at Clicks and Stones, a conference about cyberbullying co-sponsored by the University of Toronto’s Centre for Innovation Law and Policy and Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. In a presentation entitled “Online sexualized bullying: why an equality analysis matters”, Professor Bailey relied on the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in AB v. Bragg Communications Inc. as the basis for making two central points: (i) that individually initiated civil litigation offers a very limited opportunity for redressing the harms of sexualized bullying because it is often slow and expensive, and can expose the target to further unwanted and sometimes humiliating publicity; and (ii) that proactive, collective equality-based responses to the misogyny, homophobia, racism, classism, colonialism and typecast gender conformity that frequently inform sexualized bullying are also needed. You can view Professor Bailey’s slides from the presentation here.
Have you been to derby yet? Roller derby seems to be reaching a ‘tipping point’ in our current cultural context, and all kinds of girls and women (with men and boys cheering them on) are in on the game. Leagues are springing up all over the place, in large cities and small towns, fielding competitive, recreational, and even junior teams. These girls and women look like they are having fun, and the atmosphere is celebratory and welcoming: ‘Come Join Us!’ is a common refrain.
Derby isn’t particularly glamorous: the list of protective gear reads like that for any contact sport, and includes helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and mouthguard. This certainly isn’t any Legends (originally ‘Lingerie’) Football League, where women wearing ridiculously little clothing (no longer actually lingerie, but now ‘performance apparel’ where the fabric is the only change) perform on the gridiron for the pleasure of the men watching (if you have any doubt, note the original brand tagline: ‘True Fantasy Football’). Instead, derby girls are dressing for themselves: as one site puts it, “if you want to train hard AND wear fishnets and glitter, this definitely IS the sport for you.”
As far as I can see, in roller derby (as Annie Lennox famously sang), “Sisters are doin’ it for themselves”. What they are doing is being outrageous: wearing outrageous clothing, taking outrageous names (skaters like JANEgerous, or Short Fuse on teams with names like Bay City Bruisers) and having outrageous fun. Don’t get me wrong: you won’t see me on the track any time soon. It looks like it hurts, and quite frankly, like my friend Samantha Brennan says in her blog Fit, Feminist, and (almost) Fifty, I’m too old to get hurt like that. But I love the fact that derby exists, and I love the fact that derby provides a space where women and girls can be beautiful, physical, and intense, on their own terms and for their own purposes.
I wonder what it would take to make online social spaces more like roller derby and less like the ‘Legends’ Football League? I’m not just talking about substituting mouthguards for the current ‘duck face’ aesthetic, though that would go a long way. I’m talking about privileging function over form; I’m talking about representing all of who we are and who we want to be; and I am talking about having fun (and, yes, being outrageous). Of course, it won’t work if we do it alone – but then, one person hardly makes a roller derby league. It takes a whole team – and maybe we can start one!
It’s always a privilege to do research with young people, and I’m often blown away by the candidness and honesty of girls who are willing to sit down and talk to you about their online lives. This last round of eGirls research has also broken my heart. We interviewed around 60 girls, most of whom are facing an incredible amount of judgment and pressure online about their bodies – girls are too fat, too made up, not made up enough, expose too much cleavage (read slut), don’t expose enough cleavage, have too many friends (read desperate), don’t have enough friends (read loser). I found the oppressive need for attention to detail, to present that “just right” image, absolutely exhausting. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live with that burden every day of a high school career. But most of the time, I felt like I was in a time warp, talking to my mother and grandmother about “that kind of girl”. Continue reading