Researcher biography

Bachelor of Performing Arts (Hons), Monash University; PhD, Sociology, Monash University


Amy Shields Dobson's research focuses on gender and sexuality in digital cultures and social media in particular. Before starting her University of Queensland Postdoctoral Fellowship, Amy was a lecturer in Sociology and Gender at Monash University. She has conducted research into young people’s social media use and digital self-representation, sexting and cybersafety education in schools, and female genital cosmetic surgery in Australia.

Research Interests

  • Digital cultures and social media
  • Youth and girlhood studies
  • Femininity, postfeminist subjectivities
  • Sexualisation and raunch culture
  • Sexting
I welcome applications from prospective PhD students working in any of the above areas.

Current Research

Amy is currently undertaking several projects in the areas of youth, gender politics, and social media. Her postdoctoral research project investigates the experiences and opinions of youth and those who care for youth in Queensland on the gender dynamics of youth digital cultures; how gendered and sexual media practices among youth are handled in schools and communities; and how key stakeholders think they should be handled, as well as documenting the experiences of families who have been directly involved in instances of sexual image exchange among teenage youth.

Amy is also working on a Humanities and Social Sciences Strategic Research Fund project examining how education institutions contribute to a more inclusive and cohesive society, led by Professor Martin Mills, Associate Professor Amanda Keddie, and Professor Annemaree Carroll, Education, UQ .  Part of this research examines the current functions of online communities and social media forums in social inclusion and cohesion, both youth-led and school-led.

Amy is also currently working with researchers at Jean Hailes - For Women’s Health, Dr Maggie Kirkman, Prof Jane Fisher, Prof Kay Souter, and Dr Karalyn McDonald on the ARC Linkage Project: ‘Elucidating the increasing demand for genital cosmetic surgery among girls and women in Australia‘. This project aims to elucidate the reasons for increasing numbers of girls and women in Australia undergoing genital cosmetic surgery, and to map perceptions of female genital appearance through interviews with women, cosmetic surgeons, and gynaecologists, as well as an online survey, and monitoring of social media discussion and advertising. Industry partners include Southern Health, Women’s Health Victoria, Family Planning Victoria, Australian Federation of Medical Women, and The Jean Hailes Foundation.
In 2013, Amy led the study 'Youth, mobile technologies and gender politics: young people’s beliefs about gender and ethical use of communication technologies’ in collaboration with Dr Danielle Tyson (Criminology, Monash), Dr Mary Lou Rasmussen (Education, Monash), and Adrian Farrugia. The group conducted focus groups with 24 young people in Years 10 and 11 at two regional Victorian high schools. This study examined young people’s views on the cybersafety film ‘Tagged’’ (ACMA) and gender roles within it.
Amy has also conducted research into young women’s self-representations on social network site profiles, and Internet cam girl cultures, exploring the meanings of femininity, performativity, and young women’s online representations in postfeminist digital media contexts.

Recent Research Grants

ARC Linkage Grant 'Elucidating the increasing demand for genital cosmetic surgery among girls and women in Australia', $327,220.
2011 - 2013
Early Career Development Fellowship, Monash University, $150 86.

Selected Publications

  • Dobson, A.S. (2015). Postfeminist Digital Cultures: Femininity, Social Media, and Self-Representation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Mowat, H., McDonald, K., Dobson, A.S. & Kirkman, M. (2015). The contribution of online content to the promotion and normalisation of female genital consmetic surgery: a systematic review of the literature. BMC Women's Health 15: 110. DOI 10.1186/s12905-015-0271-5
  • Harris, A., Dobson, A.S., (2015). Theorizing agency in post-girlpower times. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 29(2): 145-156. doi: 10.1080/14681811.2015.1050486 (Special issue article, and editorship with Anita Harris. Issue theme: ‘Post-Girl Power: Globalised Mediated Femininities’.)
  • Dobson, A. S., & Ringrose, J. (2015). Sext Education: Pedagogies of sex, gender and shame in the schoolyards of Tagged and Exposed, Sex Education, 1-14. doi: 10.1080/14681811.2015.1050486  (special issue on gender)
  • Dobson, A. S. (2014). Performative shamelessness on young women’s social network sites: Shielding the self and resisting gender melancholia. Feminism & Psychology, 24(1), 97-114. doi: 10.1177/0959353513510651
  • Dobson, A.S. (2014). Laddishness online: The possible significations and significance of ‘performative shamelessness’ for young women in the post-feminist context. Cultural Studies, 28(1), 142-164. doi: 10.1080/09502386.2013.77889
  • Dobson, A.S. (2014) ‘Sexy’ and ‘laddish’ girls: unpacking complicity between two cultural imag(inations/)es of young femininity. Feminist Media Studies, 14(2), 253-269. doi: 10.1080/14680777.2012.713866
  • Dobson, A.S. (2012). ‘Individuality is everything’: ‘autonomous’ femininity in MySpace mottos and self-descriptions. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 26(3), 371-383. (Special issue on ‘Mediated Youth Cultures’)
  • Dobson, A.S. (2011). Hetero-sexy representation by young women on MySpace: The politics of performing an ‘objectified’ self’. Outskirts: Feminisms along the edge, 25(November). Available at:
  • Brown, D., Ubels, J., De Souza, N., Dobson, A., Collins, F., (2011). ‘Kisses under the starlight’: The performance of masculinities and Emo on MySpace. Reinvention: A Journal of Undergraduate Research, 4(2). Available at:
Book Chapters
  • Dobson, A.S., McDonald, K., Kirkman, M., Souter, K., & Fisher, J. (2017). Invisible labour? Tensions and ambiguities of modifying the ‘private’ body: the case of female genital cosmetic surgery. In A. S. Elias, R. Gill and C. Scharff, (Eds.) Aesthetic Labour: Rethinking beauty politics in neoliberalism (pp. 351-367).  New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Dobson, A.S. (2017). Sexting in context: understanding gendered sexual media practices beyond inherent ‘risk’ and ‘harm’. (Invited contribution submitted for E. Martellozzo and E. Jane, Cybercrime and its Victims, Routledge.)
  • Kanai, A. & Dobson, A.S. (2015). Gender and digital media. In N. Naples, R.C. Hoogland, M. Wickramasinghe, and A. Wong (Eds.) The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies. Maryland: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Dobson, A.S. (2015). Girls’ ‘pain memes’ on YouTube: The production of pain and femininity in a digital network. In S. Baker, B. Robards, and B. Buttigieg, (Eds.) Youth Cultures and Subcultures: Australian Perspectives (pp. 173-182). Farnham: Ashgate.
  • Dobson, A.S. (2011). The representation of female friendships on young women’s MySpace profiles: the all-female world and the feminine ‘other’. In E. Dunkels, G.M. Frånberg, and C. Hällgren,(Eds.) Youth Culture and Net Culture: Online Social Practices (pp. 126-152). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
  • Dobson, A. S. (2008). Femininities as commodities: Cam girl culture. In A. Harris, (Ed.) Next Wave Cultures: Feminism, Subcultures, Activism (pp. 123-148). New York: Routledge.
Policy and Media Contributions
A full list of Dr Dobson's publications, including fulltext links, can be accessed via UQ eSpace.
A listing of Amy Dobson's engagement activities can be found here.