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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2010 - 2011

Module Title Sex Sexuality and Popular Culture
Module Code CM580
School School of Communications

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr Debbie GingOffice NumberC179
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module explores a broad range of issues relating to gender, sex and sexuality as they are mediated through all aspects of popular culture, from fashion and advertising to internet pornography and social networking sites. Using theoretical frameworks taken from gender/sexuality studies as well as media studies, it explores the impact of recent social, economic and technological developments (e.g. postfeminism, ICTs and the commodification of sex) on sexual identity construction, as well as the use of (new) media in challenging (hetero)normative understandings of sex and sexuality.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify the key changes that have occurred in the (mediated) construction of discourses around gender, sex and sexuality in recent decades, in Ireland and elsewhere
2. Apply a range of media studies frameworks (political economy of media, textual analysis and audience / reception analysis) to a number of key case studies
3. Evaluate the practices of various media in their representation of gender, sex and sexuality and assess their role in shaping public opinion on sex and sexuality, as well as on sexual identity formation
4. Critically evaluate a range of anti-homophobia, sexual-health or pro-gay marriage initiatives in the media in relation to the relevant theoretical literature
5. Design and produce your own media campaign (e.g. poster, video clip, radio ad) to influence social attitudes about sex / sexuality and evaluate the strategy behind - and potential impact of - this artefact in relation to the relevant theoretical literature

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Independent Study40Reading
Lecture20Screening Time
Group work20Group Project
Independent Study30Individual Project
Total Workload: 134

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Pornography and the construction of gender and sexuality

Cybersex and identity

The commodification of sex in advertising

The media’s sexualisation of children

Sex-positive feminism:
Case Study 1: Anne Sexton’s Sexed Up column in Hot Press magazine Case Study 2: Sex guru and performance artist Annie Sprinkler

Mediated homophobia – the ‘ex-gay’ movement and its websites

Sexuality and social networking (practices of self-identification on Bebo, etc.)

The commodification of abstinence – virginity and the ‘Silver Ring’ project

Sexualities and schooling:
Case study 1: Sex education materials in the Irish curriculum Case study 2: Anti-homophobia initiatives in schools, in Ireland and elsewhere

Creating and theorising your own media campaign

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Susanna Paasonen, Kaarina Nikunen + Laura Saarenmaa: 2007, Pornification: Sex and Sexuality in Media Culture., Berg,
  • Clarissa Smith: 2007, One for the Girls! The Pleasures and Practices of Reading Women’s Porn, Intellect,
  • Natasha Walter: 2010, Living Dolls: the Return of Sexism, Virago,
  • David Gauntlett: 2008, Media, Gender and Identity, 2nd, Routledge,
  • C.J. Pascoe: 2007, Dude you're a fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School, University of California Press,
  • Ron Becker: 2006, Gay TV and Straight America, Rutgers University Press,
  • Kim Akass and Janet McCabe (Eds): 2006, Reading Sex and the City, I.B. Tauris,
  • Gill Branston and Roy Stafford: 2010, The Media Student’s Book, 5th, Routhledge,
  • Judith Roof: 1996, Come as You Are: Sexuality and Narrative, Columbia University Press.,
  • Tom Reichert and Jacqueline Lambiase: 2005, Sex in Consumer Culture: The Erotic Content of Media and Marketing, Routledge,
  • Denis D. Waskul: 2003, Self-Games and Body-Play: Personhood in Online Chat and Cybersex, Peter Lang Publishing,
  • Gigi Duram: 2009, The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It, Overlook TP,
  • Brian McNair: 2002, Striptease Culture: Sex, Media and the Democratization of Desire, Routledge,
  • Diane Levin and Jean Kilbourne: 2009, So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids, Baltimore Books,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MASSMA in Sexuality Studies