“Western sexy?”: the West, the rest and sexualised media

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    In academic and popular debates about sexualisation, the “mainstreaming of sex in the West” is a common catchphrase. As noted by post-colonial and critical race scholars, categories such as “the West” remain powerful discursive ideas shaping how both researchers and researched border and construct race, difference, and sexuality. However, there is very little research that employs a post-colonial analysis of young people’s negotiations of sexualised media, most particularly studies that elucidate how the oppositional frameworks of colonial discourse sets up normative and “othered” subjectivities. In order to address this gap, I turn to Stuart Hall’s classic paper The West and the Rest to reflect on a project undertaken in South Australia with young people from a broad range of cultural backgrounds. In a fascinating set of reflections, the young people present a powerful set of challenges to the binary of the West and the Rest through their narratives on sexualised media. Taken together, these complex and sometimes contradictory narratives remind us of the problems associated with talking in generalised and universalising ways about “sexualisation in the West.”.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1102-1116
    Number of pages15
    JournalFeminist Media Studies
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • cultural difference
    • post-colonial theory
    • Race
    • sexualisation
    • young people


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