Making Visible: Acknowledging Student’ Experiences of Gender-Based Sexual Violence in Schools Through Feminist Media Studies

March 27, 2023 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Hybrid Event: Room 323 Education Building & via Zoom
71 Curry Pl
MB R3T 2M6
Office of the Associate Dean (Graduate & Research) Faculty of Education

Please join us for the third lecture in our Faculty of Education Research Lecture Series 2022-2023!

Date: Monday, March 27, 12:30 – 1:30 pm

Location: Hybrid in room 323 Education, or Zoom coordinates below

Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Watt

Title: “Making Visible: Acknowledging Student’ Experiences of Gender-Based Sexual Violence in Schools through Feminist Media Studies”

Abstract: In the Netflix film Moxie (Poehler, 2021), a female high school student meets with her principal to report that a male student is sexually harassing her on school grounds. The principal replies, “If you use that word [harassment], that means I have to do a bunch of stuff.” The student is dismissed, and her concerns are left unaddressed at both an individual and systemic level. While this scene is played for humour, far too many current or former students, teachers, parents, and educational leaders who watch this media depiction will be left uncomfortable by the haunting familiarity of the institutional protectionism and willful ignorance toward the gender-based sexual violence (GBSV) many students experience within and beyond their school contexts.

In this presentation, I will share our research team’s work-in-progress feminist critical media analysis framework that is based largely on Sara Ahmed’s (2017) intersectional, everyday theorizing, which highlights how feminism is born from the “different biographies of violence” (p. 23) that we all inherit and experience. Ahmed names the mechanism and strategies used to silence femme people and force them into submission. These mechanisms and strategies often leave femme individuals feeling isolated, as though they individually are a problem, rather than recognizing their experiences as evidence of larger, systemic issues. Using preliminary analysis of the film Moxie, we will argue  popular media should be brought further into formal classroom and professional learning spaces as a means of approaching difficult knowledge (Pitt & Britzman, 2003) because a) it is already pedagogical; b) it provides a distance through which to speak about sensitive issues; and c) students and teachers are often more willing and have a desire to talk in/through popular culture.

 To receive the zoom link, please contact