Amy Shields Dobson's research focuses on gender and sexuality in digital cultures and social media in particular. Before starting her University of Queensland Postdoctoral Fellowship, Amy was a lecturer in Sociology and Gender at Monash University. She has conducted research into young people’s social media use and digital self-representation, sexting and cybersafety education in schools, and female genital cosmetic surgery in Australia.
Bachelor of Performing Arts (Hons), Monash University; PhD, Sociology, Monash University.
- Digital cultures and social media
- Youth and girlhood studies
- Femininity, postfeminist subjectivities
- Sexualisation and raunch culture
I welcome applications from prospective PhD students working in any of the above areas.
Amy's current research seeks to understand gender politics in localised youth digital cultures through digital ethnography with young people in a Queensland and Victorian youth community. Gender norms and sexual double standards have been suggested as one of the key social drivers in young peoples’ potentially harmful and/or unethical sexual uses of communication technologies. In the context of broad panic in developed countries about the ‘sexualisation of culture’, and more specifically, recent panic in Australia about ‘sexting’ among teens, there is a need to examine the gender politics of everyday youth digital cultures.
Amy is also currently working with researchers at Jean Hailes - For Women’s Health, Dr Maggie Kirkman, Prof Jane Fisher, Prof Kay Souter, and Dr Karalyn McDonald on the ARC Linkage Project: ‘Elucidating the increasing demand for genital cosmetic surgery among girls and women in Australia‘. This project aims to elucidate the reasons for increasing numbers of girls and women in Australia undergoing genital cosmetic surgery, and to map perceptions of female genital appearance through interviews with women, cosmetic surgeons, and gynaecologists, as well as an online survey, and monitoring of social media discussion and advertising. Industry partners include Southern Health, Women’s Health Victoria, Family Planning Victoria, Australian Federation of Medical Women, and The Jean Hailes Foundation.
In 2013, Amy led the study 'Youth, mobile technologies and gender politics: young people’s beliefs about gender and ethical use of communication technologies’ in collaboration with Dr Danielle Tyson (Criminology, Monash), Dr Mary Lou Rasmussen (Education, Monash), and Adrian Farrugia. The group conducted focus groups with 24 young people in Years 10 and 11 at two regional Victorian high schools. This study examined young people’s views on the cybersafety film ‘Tagged’’ (ACMA) and gender roles within it.
Amy has also conducted research into young women’s self-representations on social network site profiles, and Internet cam girl cultures, exploring the meanings of femininity, performativity, and young women’s online representations in postfeminist digital media contexts.
RECENT RESEARCH GRANTS
ARC Linkage Grant 'Elucidating the increasing demand for genital cosmetic surgery among girls and women in Australia', $327,220.
2011 - 2013
Early Career Development Fellowship, Monash University, $150 86.
Dobson, A.S. (forthcoming, 2015). Postfeminist Digital Cultures: Femininity, Social Media, and Self-Representation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Harris, A., Dobson, A.S., (2015). The problem of girls’ agency. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 29(2).
(Special issue article, and editorship with Anita Harris. Issue theme: ‘Post-Girl Power: Globalised Mediated Femininities’.)
Dobson, A. S., & Ringrose, J. (forthcoming 2015). Tagged and Exposed: Gendered pedagogies in the visual economies of ‘sext education’. Sex Education (special issue on gender, forthcoming).
Dobson, A. S. (2014). Performative shamelessness on young women’s social network sites: Shielding the self and resisting gender melancholia. Feminism & Psychology, 24(1), 97-114. doi: 10.1177/0959353513510651
Dobson, A.S. (2014). Laddishness online: The possible significations and significance of ‘performative shamelessness’ for young women in the post-feminist context. Cultural Studies, 28(1), 142-164. doi: 10.1080/09502386.2013.778893
Dobson, A.S. (2014) ‘Sexy’ and ‘laddish’ girls: unpacking complicity between two cultural imag(inations/)es of young femininity. Feminist Media Studies, 14(2), 253-269. doi: 10.1080/14680777.2012.713866
Dobson, A.S. (2012). ‘Individuality is everything’: ‘autonomous’ femininity in MySpace mottos and self-descriptions. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 26(3), 371-383. (Special issue on ‘Mediated Youth Cultures’)
Brown, D., Ubels, J., De Souza, N., Dobson, A., Collins, F., (2011). ‘Kisses under the starlight’: The performance of masculinities and Emo on MySpace. Reinvention: A Journal of Undergraduate Research, 4
(2). Available at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/iatl/ejournal/issues/volume4issue2/brownubelsdsouzadobsoncollins
Dobson, A.S. (2015). Girls’ ‘pain memes’ on YouTube: The production of pain and femininity in a digital network. In S. Baker, B. Robards, and B. Buttigieg, (Eds.) Youth Cultures and Subcultures: Australian Perspectives (pp. 173-182). Farnham: Ashgate.
Dobson, A.S. (2011). The representation of female friendships on young women’s MySpace profiles: the all-female world and the feminine ‘other’. In E. Dunkels, G.M. Frånberg, and C. Hällgren,(Eds.) Youth Culture and Net Culture: Online Social Practices (pp. 126-152). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Dobson, A. S. (2008). Femininities as commodities: Cam girl culture. In A. Harris, (Ed.) Next Wave Cultures: Feminism, Subcultures, Activism (pp. 123-148). New York: Routledge.
Policy and Media Contributions