© 2016

Children and the Politics of Sexuality

The Sexualization of Children Debate Revisited


About this book


This book discusses already established accounts about the sexualization of children through a theoretical and an empirical framework which bring together popular culture, consumption, sexuality, selfhood and childhood. Adopting the view that the debate about the sexualization of childhood is socially constructed, it pushes beyond the dominant preconceptions about ‘the risks of childhood’. 

Moral judgements about children’s welfare are perhaps nowhere more transient and controversial than when it comes to children’s sexuality, something that has deep historical roots. However, and contrary to recurrent fears and moral panics about the loss of childhood as a result of a tidal wave of a sexualizing culture, this book theorizes the notion of children’s sexualization within the social construction of myths of childhood innocence while also taking into account the extent of young people’s actual engagement with media and technology in contemporary Western societies. It is within such a contextual framework that this book unfolds, bringing together a historical contextualization of childhood, sexuality and pornography with contemporary empirical accounts regarding the ‘presentation of the self’ and self-management. 


sexualization childhood tweens pornography sexuality commercial enculturation presentation of the self girlhood children Gaming girls media Online psychology sociology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication and Media StudiesNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

About the authors

Liza Tsaliki is Associate Professor at the Department of Communication and Media Studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. Her research interests include the study of pornography, children and media, gender and technology, celebrity culture, political participation and activism. For a more detailed publication record, visit

Bibliographic information


“Children and the Politics of Sexuality is a complex discussion of a deep and, for many in our society, troublesome subject. Tsaliki explores this material with academic rigor and extensive research to support her views. … this is a terrific book and deserves a wide audience.” (Robert Scott Stewart, metapsychology online reviews,, Vol. 21 (17), April, 2017)

“This book is a dense read … bringing up many important issues that need to be carefully considered and discussed among policymakers, research scientists, counselors, educators, and parents and, to her credit, children. … she builds her argument thoughtfully and comprehensively using a variety of evidence–including historical, philosophical, literary, sociological, political, commercial, and psychological sources to support her thesis.” (Juanita N. Baker and Carol E. Oseroff, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 62 (8), February, 2017)