Book Chapters

Pretty in Panties: Moving beyond the innocent child to understand preteen modelling websites, published in the book Girlhood: Redefining the Limits

51YyR-au22L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_In chapter 13 of this anthology, I address the controversial topic of preteen modelling websites, where girls as young as 6 pose in costumes and bikinis for a mainly adult, and male, audience. I challenge myself and my readers to move beyond an initial reaction of revulsion to examine what it is exactly about these images that proves to be so troubling. In the process, I highlight the conflicting messages about children and sexuality that circulate in today’s society, which simultaneously eroticize the child while depicting her as a passive and helpless victim.

Click here to download the chapter in PDF

Suggested Citation: Wertheimer, S. (2005). Pretty in Panties: Moving Beyond the Innocent Child Paradigm in Reading Preteen Modeling Websites. In Y. Jiwani, C. Mitchell and C. Steenbergen (Eds.), Girlhood: Redefining the Limits (pp. 208-226). Montreal: Black Rose Books.

This chapter has been cited in:

Wohlwend, K. (2014). Ghouls, Dolls, and Girlhoods: Fashion and Horror at Monster High. In V. Carrington, J. Rowsell, E. Priyadharshini and R. Westrup (Eds.), Generation Z: Zombies, Popular Culture, and Educating Youth. New York: Springer.

Hains, R.C. (2012). An Afternoon of Productive Play with Problematic Dolls: The Importance of Foregrounding Children’s Voices in Research. Girlhood Studies, 5(1), pp. 121–140.

Weida, C.L.; Bradbury, C.A. and K. Edwards (2013). Guerrilla Girlhood Glitter Guild: Researching Hidden Hoards of Tween Treasures. Visual Culture & Gender, Vol. 8.

Weida, C. L. (2011) Gender, Aesthetics, and Sexuality in Play: Uneasy Lessons from Girls’ Dolls, Action Figures, and Television Programs. The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, 31.

Hein, J.; Holland, H.; Kauppi, C.; and L. (2008). Lowe Facilitator’s Guide for Teachers and Service Providers Using GirlSpoken: From Pen, Brush & Tongue to Explore Girlhood in Classroom or Group Settings, pp. 23 and 28. 

Levy, L. (2008). The Skinny On ThiS iS My BOdy: FilMMaking aS eMpOwerMenT inTervenTiOn and activism. Visual Culture and Gender, Vol. 3, p.11.

Weber, S. and S. Dixon. (2007). Growing Up Online. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p.240.

Required reading in the class Edu397: Girls, Popular Culture and Schooling, Taught in the Department of Education at Colby University, 2007.

Recommended reading in the class Cms496: Pop Goes the Culture: Race, Class, and Gender in Popular Media, taught in the Department of Communications at the University of Illinois, 2014.

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The Infectious Continent: Africa, Disease and the Western Imagination, published in the book HIV/AIDS, Illness and African Well-Being


In the introductory chapter of this anthology, I examine how the HIV epidemic in Africa is represented  in Canadian newspapers, arguing that racist and colonialist understandings of the African continent continue to play out in the present. Just as they did in colonial times, these representations of Africa as a dark and diseased place that can barely be contained allow the West to maintain its perceived sense of control and benevolence.

Click here to download the chapter in PDF

Suggested Citation: Wertheimer, S. (2007).  The Infectious Continent: Africa, Disease and the Western Imagination. In T. Falola and M. Heaton (Eds.), HIV/AIDS, Illness and African Well-Being (pp. 28-42). Rochester: University of Rochester Press.

This chapter has been cited in:

Millear. A. (2015). Retelling Ebola’s “Outbreak Narrative” through Media Coverage of the 2014 West African Epidemic. Geography Honors Project written at Macalester College, St-Paul, p. 28.

Kravtsov, V. (2011). Treatment as a Common Good: Adopting HIV/AIDS Policy in Russia and South Africa, 1999-2008. Dissertation written in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, p. 335.

Required reading in the class HCOM 3700: Performing Personal Narratives on Identities and AIDS, taught in the Department of Human Communication Studies at the University of Denver, 2009.

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