"A Source of Anxiety Like Never Before"
Unpacking the Irish Print Media Sexualisation of Children Discourse
Keywords:Sexualisation Media Children Discourse
Drawing on a corpus of articles pertaining to the sexualisation of children in national Irish newspapers (2012-2014) and using tools provided by critical discourse analysis, the discourses in their Irish cultural context are ‘unpacked’ (Egan & Hawkes, 2008) toward identifying their peculiarities but also their similarities with the discourses on the sexualisation of children, produced in other country contexts. The construction of sexualisation as a child protection problem is explored as are its presumed bad effects on children and its required solutions. The age related, gendered and classed cultural assumptions explicit and implicit in the discourses are revealed. The paper concludes with a discussion as to how sexualised childhood and its binary opposite innocent childhood, were mobilised in the print media in the service of agendas, which celebrated and obviated features of Irish societal culture, past and present.
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