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Technologies of Nonviolence

Ethical Participatory Visual Research with Girls

Astrid Treffry-Goatley, Lisa Wiebesiek, Naydene de Lange, and Relebohile Moletsane

ABSTRACT

Rapid developments in digital technologies have sparked revolutionary shifts in participatory research. Emerging tools such as digital stories and cellphilms offer participants opportunities to engage actively in research and to produce media about their everyday lives. Yet, while these may enable such engagement, researchers need to ensure that the very tools meant as technologies of nonviolence are not in and of themselves violent. This article uses a technology-based, participatory visual methods workshop conducted with girls and young women as part of addressing sexual violence in a rural community in South Africa as a case study. We identify and reflect on some of the ethical issues that arose during the workshop and how we addressed them. Our aim is always to locate our work on addressing sexual violence with young rural women within an ethics of nonviolence rooted in and responsive to the context in which we work.

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Terms of Silence

Weaknesses in Corporate and Law Enforcement Responses to Cyberviolence against Girls

Suzanne Dunn, Julie S. Lalonde, and Jane Bailey

ABSTRACT

Girls do not need merely to be empowered with technological know-how in order to engage fully online. While girls use digital and social media for self-expression, activism, and identity experimentation, their engagement is too often interfered with by online gender policing and by being attacked for daring to challenge conventional stereotypes. Reshaping the online environment in ways that address this discrimination meaningfully requires a multifaceted approach that includes transparent, responsive, and accessible redress through both social media platforms and, where necessary, law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, these institutions all too often fail to respond adequately when girls report acts of cyberviolence committed against them. This article illustrates this failure by drawing on lessons learned from coauthor Julie S. Lalonde’s experiences in advocating online for gender equality. It also raises the troubling concern of law enforcement deference to corporate terms of service rather than to Canadian law.

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Way to Go

The Significance of Place for Girls and Girlhood Studies

Eva Hoffmann

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Kaoru Miyazawa

ABSTRACT

In this article I examine how a new immigrant girl from Jamaica participated in Abstinence Only Until Marriage (AOUM) classes at her school in New York City, and how her interpretation of the values taught in the classes shaped her aspirations for her future as well as the meaning of her past pregnancy. AOUM was a site in which the indirect and seductive power of the state motivated her to align her aspirations and method of attaining them with the neoliberal notion of success, and the neoconservative Christian notions related to family and sexuality in which, essentially, she did not believe. The finding shows that teaching sexuality as a personal matter only and separate from economic equality, and sexuality and reproductive rights does not contribute to the empowerment of girls. I conclude by suggesting that teaching sexuality as a public and political issue is an alternative method of empowerment.

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A Call to Action

Creativity and Black Girlhood

Crystal Leigh Endsley

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Editorial

Girlhood Studies at 10

Claudia Mitchell

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Editorial

Boyhood Studies at 10

Diederik F. Janssen

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Annabel Erulkar and Girmay Medhin

ABSTRACT

There is increased consensus on the role of adolescent girls in reaching development goals but few programs for girls have been rigorously evaluated. In Ethiopia, Biruh Tesfa (Bright Future, in Amharic) mobilizes out-of-school girls into safe space groups led by mentors. Girls receive training in literacy and life skills, and they are given vouchers for medical services. A longitudinal study was conducted to measure changes in girls’ learning outcomes and their use of health services. After adjusting for background factors, we found that girls who had never attended school in the project site had significantly higher literacy scores than did control girls. At endline, girls in the project site were 1.6 times more likely to have used a health service in the past six months than those in the control site. Girls-only safe spaces programs can be effective at improving literacy and health-seeking behavior among the most marginalized girls who otherwise lack educational opportunities and access to services.

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“I Hope Nobody Feels Harassed”

Teacher Complicity in Gender Inequality in a Middle School

Susan McCullough

ABSTRACT

In this article, based on an ethnographic study conducted at a New York City public middle school during the 2013 to 2014 school year, I examine gender relations between early adolescent girls and boys, and between them and their teachers. The data—interviews and focus groups with girls, as well as observations—reveals girls’ perceptions of the boys’ dominance in the school and the ways in which boys used symbolic violence and sexual harassment to maintain their social, emotional, and physical power over the girls. Also, I discuss teacher denial of, and complicity in, these structures of power between students. Teachers normalized the hegemonic masculine practices as typical adolescent behavior and the school was deemed to be a gender equitable site by students and teachers. Furthermore, I consider questions regarding the role of teachers in this institutional violence against girls, as well as in relation to my role as researcher.

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“I’m No Donna Reed”

Postfeminist Rhetoric in Christian At-Home Daughterhood Texts

Elizabeth Shively

ABSTRACT

In 2010, media outlets began to buzz about a trend among young conservative Christian women—a rise in at-home daughterhood, a practice in which women forgo college and paid work in favor of staying at home and honing their homemaking skills until marriage. These reports suggested that the practice was out to “turn back the clock on gender equality” and declare, “In your face, feminism!” While these accounts frame at-home daughterhood as a rejection of feminism, I suggest that advocates actually employ postfeminist strategies to make the practice palatable to contemporary women. My argument uses critiques of postfeminism to advance historical and sociological debates about the complicated role of feminism in conservative Christianity. Analyzing texts from parenting workshops and promotional materials, I find proponents acknowledge social progress on gender equity issues, but dismiss feminist politics through tactics of humor and depoliticization.