Week 8: Reading Sociology Part 16

Estimated Reading Time 00:03:08

Reading Sociology

Part 16: Media

Chapter 64: Fallen Women and Rescued Girls: Social Stigma and Media Narratives of the Sex Industry in Victoria, BC, from 1980 to 2005
by Helga Kristin Hallgrimsdottir, Rachel Phillips, and Cecilia Benoit

Some points:

  • Sex workers used to be presented as morally and criminally culpable in the 1980s but not anymore. Newer media reports focus on victimization. Society’s role in producing these sex workers also receive less and less attention from media.
  • From firsthand interviews we learn:
    • There are male sex workers too
    • Some sex workers need to care for dependent children
    • Sex workers are socially disadvantaged, not morally corrupt
    • The money they earn is spent on food and living, not (usually) drugs
    • Sex workers are not simply abducted. This is work. Some apply voluntarily.
    • Just like every kind of work: some like it; some hate it.

Notable quotes:

Media narratives offer a voyeuristic and consumerist interpretation of the sex industry, through which a mainstream audience is titillated with stories of culpable and wicked females (in the earlier time period) or the entrapment and seduction of innocent girls.

HKH, RP, and CB

Chapter 65: Feminist Activists Online: A Study of the PAR-L Research Network
by Michèle Ollivier, Wendy Robbins, Diane Beauregard, Jennifer Brayton, and Genevière Sauvé

Oh look — it’s Beauregard again.

PAR-L can be useful:

  • Brings together women in diverse areas
  • Alternative to mainstream media
  • Helpful for research
  • Provides a discussion forum for women
  • Exposes reader to competing feminist views
  • Minimizes sense of isolation to feminists

PAR-L can be frustrating:

  • Lack of adherence by subscribers to format of messages
  • Inconsistent enforcement of list policies by list moderators
  • Tone of certain exchanges and questionable conduct of a few participants
  • Underrepresented minorities — e.g. lack of male feminists on the website

The authors, for all their work, doesn’t seem to have an explicit thesis.

Notable quotes:

Achieving equality remains a clear, central objective of feminist praxis. However, eliminating difference per se is not and should not be an option. Equality is not a synonym for sameness, and homogeneity was never the goal. Individual autonomy and equality of access are in a fine balance with collective norms of behaviour and a sense of belonging.

BO, WR, DB, JB, and GS

Chapter 66: “Keeping Your Minds Sharp”: Children’s Cognitive Stimulation and the Rise of Parenting Magazines, 1959-2003
by Linda Quirke


  1. Parents increasingly view their children as unique, with individualized traits.
  2. Topics such as schooling and cognitive development are receiving more and more attention, probably due to prevailing credentialism in society.
  3. Parenting magazine data really has nothing to do with childrearing in real life.

Notable quotes:

The findings of this study suggest that there is a changing ethos of childrearing in Canada. Parents are actively encouraged to foster their children’s cognitive development, with the aim of enhancing and maximizing their children’s chances for academic success.

Linda Quirke

Chapter 67: Packaging Protest: Media Coverage of Indigenous People’s Collective Action
by Rima Wilkes, Catherine Corrigall-Brown, and Daniel J. Myers

Another technical one. This can be summarized in a bunch of quotes.

Notable quotes:

In summary, the results clearly indicate that while tactic escalation increases the amount of coverage, only disruptive tactics are more likely to appear on the front page.


However, the findings also show that being contentious or unusual is not a guarantee of high-profile packaging. If this were the case, there would have been a strong relationship between land occupations and media packaging. The tactics that did generate prominent packaging — road and rail blockades — can be distinguished from land occupations in terms of their capacity to disrupt the lives of outsiders.


Standoffs generated significantly more attention across multiple packaging elements than other forms of contention. […] This means that difference in packaging across events […] is exponential rather than linear.

RW, CC-B, and DJM

Creative Commons License
SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


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