Drawing on semistructured interviews with Canadian Grade 4 to 12 students, this article uses a feminist lens to explore gendered and sexualized bullying and cyberbullying among children and youth. Our findings indicate that while boys’ roles and behaviors were frequently made invisible, girls were typically spotlighted, blamed, and criticized. Girls’ experiences were often minimized and normalized by peers and linked to gender norms and stereotypes that were largely invisible to participants. The central theme of invisibility emerged, which encompassed and interconnected the three subthemes: (a) gendered stereotyping, (b) spotlighting girls, and (c) gender surveillance and policing. Gendered and sexualized bullying and cyberbullying were found to be part of a socialization process wherein girls come to expect gender-based aggression, violence, and inequality in their lives. This article makes explicit how bullying and cyberbullying are linked to societal norms that put girls at risk of harassment, violence, abuse, and discrimination.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research received financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Fund: 491087.
© The Author(s) 2018.