Gender and Language, Vol 11, No 3 (2017)

Female agency in action: an examination of interactions in an online ‘Love and Relationships’ discussion forum

Catherine Cresswell
Issued Date: 13 Sep 2017


This study examined the discursive and interactional processes by which adolescent female participants present and discuss their romantic relationships in a ‘Love and Relationships’ MXit forum, a mobile phone-based project created by the South African Non-Governmental Organisation, HIVSA. In doing so, it was possible to explore some of the norms and ‘taken-for-granted’ practices of romantic relationships that the participants describe, which offered insight into present research into adolescent experiences of gender and romantic relationships, as well as new subjects for consideration during intervention or analysis. In particular, it is suggested that because conceptions of love and having children appeared not to be foreclosed normative practices, these could prove fertile points of intervention with young women’s choices, agency, and ultimately, empowerment. This study thus recommends disseminating and increasing the scope of hi4LIFE and similar projects that provide platforms for the production of female agency.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.27529


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