Children, ‘sexualization’ and consumer culture

Bragg, Sara; Buckingham, David; Russell, Rachel and Willett, Rebekah (2012). Children, ‘sexualization’ and consumer culture. In: Sparrman, Anna; Sandin, Bengt and Sjöberg, Johanna eds. Situating Child Consumption: Rethinking values and notions of children, childhood and consumption. Lund, Sweden: Nordic Academic Press, pp. 213–230.



In this chapter we reflect on a recent research project through which we contributed our own academic perspectives, and through our mediation also those of children and parents, to public debates about 'sexualisation'. The research was funded by the Equal Opportunities Committee of the Scottish Parliament, and focused on ‘sexualized goods’ -clothing, cosmetics, toys and branded merchandise such as Playboy. It involved a retail survey and work with Scottish parents and young people. Here, we discuss what our research findings suggest about how such goods may be consumed and interpreted in specific contexts, and how they challenge some of the common assumptions and understandings about children, sex and commercial-consumer culture.

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