Girls' Online Agency: A Cyberfeminist Exploration

Title: Girls' Online Agency: A Cyberfeminist Exploration
Authors: Milford, Trevor Scott
Date: 2013
Abstract: Cyberfeminist scholars have identified the Internet as a site where feminist issues are substantiated. This exploratory study investigates young women’s lived experiences of agency within online social networking, also looking at the ways in which their assertion of agency is constrained. Analysis identified four biographically consistent identity narratives within which participants experienced online agency, each with a unique operationalization of agency, constraints upon agency, and role of a heteronormative boyfriend. Identity narratives tended to invoke socially- and media-entrenched representations of how to ‘properly’ perform ‘girl’ online, including stereotypes of girls vigilantly managing online risk or portraying themselves as professional, ethically sensible, family-oriented, or popular and celebrity-oriented. However, these representations were also inherently conflictual, presenting incompatible expectations that were difficult to simultaneously negotiate. In conclusion, this study recommends that future research and policy abandon patriarchal, neoliberal underpinnings in favour of deconstructing problematic stereotyped representations of femininity within online spaces.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -