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Volume 2, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1757-2681
  • E-ISSN: 1757-269X


This article explores girls’ ideas and, for some, ideals about self-presentation on the Internet in relation to femininity. It focuses specifically on the representational style of the sexy – a style easy to observe by the onlookers in girls’ self-portraits posted online – as an example of the way in which ‘sexy femininity’ is understood and practiced by girls. The findings are based on interviews with 44 Taiwanese girls aged 13–20, and observation of their personal album space on the social networking site Wretch. The article aims to extend the current discussion about media and girlhood sexuality beyond the ‘gendered moral panic’ by illuminating how girls themselves have myriad ways of understanding sexiness, just as adults do, how appearing sexy online is not without underlying tensions, especially when taking into account the responses of their audiences, and how negotiating sexiness in self-portraits constitutes opportunities for girls to learn and practice gender performance.


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