Chapter 8: How do the digital affordances of social networking practices mediate teens’ gender and sexual cultures? – Jessica Ringrose and Laura Harvey


Ringrose and Harvey examine the digital affordances that mediate gender through four case studies that explore networked teens’ sexual culture. They suggest that, although old binaries between boy and girl continue to play out in a hierarchy of gender power that privileges maleness, networked technologies add a layer of temporal, spatial and performative complexity. Because networked devices enable a high level of visibility, there is an increased demand for photos of girls’ bodies. Creating these images can be pleasurable for girls, but it is also risky because they have little control over the use of the images once they are given to a boy. Boys, for their part, perform masculinity by collecting photos and selectively displaying them online in order to assert territorial claims against other boys. This translates into offline behaviours, including increased male judgment of girls’ bodies and increased sexual touching of girls as a form of “joking”.