Rethinking digital media literacy to address body dissatisfaction in schools: Lessons from feminist new materialisms

Niamh Ni Shuilleabhain, Emma Rich, Simone Fullagar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The increasing prevalence of body dissatisfaction among young people is now well recognised with much of the existing literature making connections between media imagery and body dissatisfaction. Media literacy-based interventions continue to be rolled out in schools across the global north in an attempt to prevent body dissatisfaction. However, the pervasiveness of digital media in young people’s lives has prompted questions about the adequacy of current theories of media literacy and associated school-based interventions. We explore how feminist theories focused on the affective, material and more-than-human offer different insights into new digital configurations of agency and mediated learning. We reflect on this potential through analysing empirical data from a study involving arts-based workshops in two schools in the South West of England. Our focus on affect and agency as relational and entangled has important implications for theory and practice in school-based body image programmes and media literacy approaches.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Media and Society
Early online date6 Sep 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Sep 2021


  • Body image
  • body pedagogy
  • digital technologies
  • media literacy
  • new materialism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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