'She met her (boy)friend online': negotiating gender identity and sexuality among young Thai women in online space

  • Boonmongkon P
  • Ojanen T
  • Samakkeekarom R
 et al. 
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Abstract

This paper focuses on the experiences of women 15-24 years old living in one suburban district in Bangkok. Its objectives are to analyse processes of building and negotiating social identity and femininity in online spaces by young women; the ways in which young women express their sexuality using online technologies; connections between the 'online' and 'offline' worlds in terms of emotions as well as social and sexual networks; and traditional values regarding female sexuality reproduced through online media and how young women negotiate and resist these. Content and narrative analyses were conducted using qualitative data from 9 focus-group discussions and 14 narrative interviews. Findings indicated that the online media serve as tools that help young women develop and express their gender identities. Mobile phones and the Internet facilitate communication in order to express love, responsibility, intimacy and sexual desires. Discourse on women's chastity, which puts pressure on women to maintain their virginity, still influences online and mobile contents, messages and images among young women. However, women also exerted agency in negotiating and expressing their sexuality, both online and offline.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Internet
  • Thailand
  • gender identity
  • sexuality
  • young women

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Authors

  • Timo OjanenThammasat University

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  • Pimpawun Boonmongkon

  • Ronnapoom Samakkeekarom

  • Nattharat Samoh

  • Rachawadee Iamsilpa

  • Soifa Topananan

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