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Too sexy to go to school: A discourse analysis of the recurring public debate on girls' dress
Caroline Caron1

Cette communication présentée en 2006 présente et discute les résultats préliminaires d'une analyse de discours sur le thème de l'hypersexualisation au Québec. In recent years, the eroticization and hypersexualization of girls in the media has gained public attention and fuelled public debate, if not controversy. In North America, a couple of books have been published, identifying a social problem that should be publicly addressed. Concerns about the detrimental effects of the phenomenon have been raised in newspaper articles and readers' letters, as well as in magazines, radio and television reports. The problem, more often associated with girls' dress and sexuality, is taken so seriously that schools have adopted concrete initiatives for containment. However, these measures have often translated into an increased control toward girls. That is, once the dress code reform was found unsuccessful in solving the so-called problem of « g-strings » and « navel rings », many public and private schools pointed to uniforms as a legitimized and final solution. More recently, in the province of Quebec, the youth wing of the Liberal Party suggested that a law should prohibit g-strings at schools. Although it was rejected, the motion itself says a lot about the general assumption that girls' dress and behaviour are social problems that must be addressed through institutional and public policies. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss preliminary results of a media discourse analysis on this controversial topic of girls, clothes, sexuality and school. Who are the experts in this debate and what do they say? Who is allowed to speak out and who is not ? Who is said to be responsible for the problematic situation? What are the institutional and political responses to the problem? What are the consequences for girls who are usually targeted by dress codes and other attempts to control their behaviour?
1 :  Concordia - Concordia University
Sciences de l'Homme et Société/Sciences de l'information et de la communication/Médias de masse
Analyse de discours – médiatique – hypersexualisation – filles – adolescentes – tenue vestimentaire – Québec
Sexualization – media discourse – girls – dress – Quebec.

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