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Huuki, T., Kyrölä, K. & Pihkala, S. (2021) What Else Can a Crush Become: Working with Arts-Methods to Address Sexual Harassment in Pre-Teen Romantic Relationship Cultures.

This above article focuses on a study in which feminist new materialist and arts-based methodologies were employed to explore how three girls address their experiences of sexual harassment as part of ‘crushes’ with boys in fourth and fifth grade. The study stems from longitudinal research on how Finnish children from pre-school to pre-teen years are caught up in entanglements of power in the formation of romantic relationship cultures. Such entanglements often escape articulation and are therefore difficult to study using more traditional research methods. During the arts-based process, the girls began to negotiate consent and self-determination in new ways through collecting, crafting, and making a booklet and a YouTube video. Conceptualising the changes as minor gestures (Manning 2016) that gradually transform girls’ somatic archives (Paasonen 2013), we argue that arts-methods can empower children to relate differently to each other, refuse harassment and assert their desires.

The pictures below are part of the article, illustrating a one-year research process with three 10–11-year-old girls addressing their experiences of sexual harassment as part of their romantic relationships with boys.


Picture 1. Power Boxes


Picture 2. Fishing the Unknown: beginnings for sentences.


Picture 3. Fishing the Unknown: prohibitions on a notebook page, including “do not make prank calls”, “do not soak my shoes in the water”, and “do not laugh at my clothes”.


Picture 4. Fishing the Unknown: cardboard fishes.


Picture 5. Fishing the Unknown: a cardboard fish with the words “do not call me an idiot.”


Picture 6. Fishing the Unknown: pinning fishes on a fishing net in the ceiling for others to see and touch the messages they entail.


Picture 7. Fishing the Unknown: fishes caught in the fishing net.

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Picture 8. Empowering Stickers:“I am in charge here.
At some
point there is a line that cannotbe crossed.”

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Picture 9. Empowering Stickers:
“Eat or not?”

Figure 2 Moments of truth.png

Picture 10. Moments of Truth.

Watch the video at:

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