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SEXY GIRLS AS « THE OTHER » : THE DISCURSIVE PROCESSES OF STIGMATIZING GIRLS
Caroline Caron1
(04/06/2008)

Afin de compenser la marginalisation de la voix des adolescentes dans la controverse entourant la mode sexy dans les écoles secondaires québécoises, j'ai élaboré un projet de recherche dont la méthologie accorde une prépondérance à la voix des participantes. Cette communication porte des dilemmes éthiques survenus au cours du processus de recherche, notamment au regard de l'observation d'un processus communicationnel par lequel les filles adhérant à la mode sexy deviennent une figure d'altérité dans les propos des adolescentes interrogées. La réflexion proposée porte problématique des adolescentes au sein des recherches et du mouvement féministes. This paper examines the media discourse on that phenomenon known in Québec as the « hypersexualization of girls » which has lead to a public debate over girls and clothing in the province's schools. Although my past research has focused on mapping the media discourses on hypersexualization, missing from this inital mapping were the voices of girls. To address this absence I designed a research project intended to bring the opinions and concerns of a pluraity of francophone girls into the debate. The research is qualitative in nature, based on conversations established through individual interviews and focus group discussion conducted in 2007 with girls and young women aged from 11 to 21, in Quebec, Montreal and Trois-Rivières. These conversations have been a great source of learning and insipiration. As I proceeded with the work, I became troubled by some of the statements made by my participants and their « ordinary » or habitual ways of talking. For example, the term « slut » (« salope », in French) was commonly used to refer and stigmatize girls whose clothing is « inappropriate » and too « provocative ». In this presentation, I will comment and reflect on the ethical dilemmas of doing research with girls by examining the process of stigmatization by which a specific group of girls is constructed as the « Other ». In offering these reflections, I will connect my interviews to the problematic status of girls within media and public discourses. I will also consider the research literature on girls in Canada and Quebec. As some have observed, a monolitic conception of girls as a research category may smooth over the complexity and diversity of girls' lived experiences (Canadian Women's Foundation 2005; Gouin et Wais, 2006).
1 :  Concordia - Concordia University
Sciences de l'Homme et Société/Sciences de l'information et de la communication/Sociologie de l'information/communication
Altérité – Adolescentes – Méthodologie – Épistémologie féministe – Québec.
Othering processes – Adolescent Girls – Feminist Research Methods – Girls studies – Québec.

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