Homosocial positionings and ambivalent participation
A qualitative analysis of young adults’ non-consensual sharing and viewing of privately produced sexual images
Although quantitative studies have found gender differences in the non-consensual sharing of privately produced sexual images, few studies have explored how these sharing practices are shaped by the gendered social interactions in which they take place. Drawing on qualitative data from seven same-sex focus group interviews, this study examines the non-consensual sharing and viewing of sexual images among young adults. The investigation shows how the non-consensual sharing and view- ing of sexting images is shaped by homosocial interactions and functions in gen- dered patterns of positioning, characterized by status enhancement among boys and visual gossiping among girls. However, the study also finds that young adults’ participation in these sharing practices is ambivalent, as they experience being both drawn to sexual images due to their private and authentic character, and repelled by them owing to the wrongfulness and illegality of sharing them. These findings are discussed in relation to research on youth sexting.
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