Ph.D. student Rebecca Lennox recently published ‘“There’s Girls Who Can Fight, and There’s Girls Who Are Innocent”: Gendered Safekeeping as Virtue Maintenance Work’ in Violence Against Women. Drawing on in-depth interviews with women residents of Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, the article investigates safety behaviours commonly practiced by women in public places, such as avoiding unlit spaces after dark. Showing that such strategies often paradoxically exacerbate women’s fear of violent crime, the article offers a new understanding of gendered safekeeping as a form of identity work that mitigates existential, rather than physical, threats in public places by marking women as risk-averse and thus above sexual reproach.
Rebecca is in her second year of the Ph.D. program in Sociology. Her doctoral research examines how race, class, and gender intersect to shape women’s embodied responses to police-produced gendered crime-prevention messaging in Canada. Rebecca’s research is supported by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, and a Doctoral Award from the Department of Canadian Heritage.
We have posted the citation and abstract of the article below. The full text is available here.
Lennox, Rebecca. 2021. “‘There’s Girls Who Can Fight, and There’s Girls Who Are Innocent’: Gendered Safekeeping as Virtue Maintenance Work”. Violence Against Women. Published online ahead of print you can read it here.
Women routinely practise taxing safety strategies in public, such as avoiding unlit spaces after dark. To date, scholars have understood these behaviors as means by which women bolster their physical safety in public. My in-depth interviews with women in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia suggest that, much less than reliably enhancing women’s safety, safety work often exacerbates women’s fear of violent crime and unreliably mitigates their exposure to violence. I thus interrogate the protective function of gendered safekeeping and reconceptualize women’s safety work as virtue maintenance work, theorizing that women practice risk-management in public places to attain the ontological security associated with evading subjectivities of gendered imprudence.
Ph.D. student Rebecca Lennox recently co-authored an article entitled, “‘You Gotta Be Able to Pay Your Own Way: Canadian News Media Discourse and Young Adults’ Subjectivities of Successful Adulting” in the Canadian Journal of Sociology. In the article, the authors use Foucauldian Discourse Analysis to identify dominant ideals of successful adulthood as they circulate in Canadian news media and in the narratives of Canadian young adults.
Rebecca Lennox is currently in her 2nd year in the Sociology PhD program at the University of Toronto. Her research interests included qualitative research methods; violence against women; feminist theory and epistemology; critical realism; and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available here.
Mitchell, Barbara, and Rebecca A. Lennox. 2020. “‘You Gotta Be Able to Pay Your Own Way’: Canadian News Media Discourse and Young Adults’ Subjectivities of ‘Successful’ Adulting.” Canadian Journal of Sociology 45(3):213–237.
Youth transitions to adulthood and traditional markers of adulthood are becoming more fluid, uncertain, and extended in contemporary societies. Despite these shifts, public discourses surrounding young adult transitional trajectories are dominantly informed by a linear benchmark perspective. This framework positions establishing financial autonomy with the goal of permanently leaving the parental home as central to successful adulthood. In this paper, we integrate textual news media and interview data to critically interrogate contemporary public discourses of adulting in tandem with Canadian young adults’ subjective understandings of adulthood. We conduct Foucauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA) using two complementary data sources: (1) a selection of Canadian news media addressing youth transitions to adulthood (n = 44), and (2) interviews with Canadian young adults, assessing their perceptions and experiences of adulthood (n = 20). Our findings reveal that media and personalized constructions of successful adulthood are synonymous with financial independence and responsibility. These social norms reflect and shape young adults’ subjective meanings of adulthood and inform the ways of being that young people imagine as ideal.